Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bean-girl is a geek in the making

When the last story book has been read and the lights are off, Bean-girl will often ask my husband or I for a story told “out of your head.” I sometimes re-tell her stories about how her father and I met, or of our wedding (she loves these), or of the day she was born or the day that Baby Legume was born. Sometimes I make up a story about Moon the white unicorn, a chapter in our private serial involving unicorns and the Bean-girl. She’s got a unicorn obsession these days, along with her dinosaur obsession. Moon the silver-white unicorn usually takes Bean-girl on a flight somewhere, or sometimes goes to Bean-girl’s school for show-and-tell. I have a poor imagination, so the other day I threw in some Tolkien, and had Moon and Bean-girl taking tea with Bilbo Baggins in the forest. But after I had explained what a hobbit was, Bean-girl insisted that the hobbit be female, so the story morphed into one of Moon and Bean-girl taking tea with Rose the hobbit (I told you, I have a poor imagination).

What stories does the Bean-dad tell his four-year old at night? He tells her the saga of Anakin Skywalker and the Skywalker twins.

Not long ago, I overhead him telling Bean-girl about how Anakin gets his hand cut off by Obi-wan Kenobe. “Is that really an appropriate story for her at this age?” I thought, but did not voice. Then over the past two weeks, both trilogies of the Star Wars series were shown on cable TV. Last weekend I saw Bean-girl and her father cuddled on the couch, watching the climactic battle scene between Anakin and Obi-wan, fought above rivers of flowing lava (shades of Mount Doom…). “Do you really think this is appropriate for Bean-girl,” I said aloud this time. Husband waved me off, and Bean-girl watched as Anakin first got his hand sliced off, then burst into flame and was abandoned to die by his mentor. She appeared fascinated.

This morning the kids invaded our bed as usual. Bean-girl demanded to watch cartoons, and Husband sleepily reached for the remote. “Empire Strikes Back” was playing. In a scene that I had completely forgotten, Luke Skywalker was captured by what appeared to be the Abominable Snowman. To escape, Luke sliced off the Abominable Snowman’s hand. “There is a LOT of slicing off of hands in this series!” I announced.

Thankfully, we had places to be and things to do, and the Star Wars marathon was temporarily halted. But tonight, as I went to collect Bean-girl for bed, I found her sitting with her father, watching the end of “Empire Strikes Back”, nearing the climactic scene where Luke get his hand sliced off.

“I DON’T think Bean-girl should be watching this,” I said, and swept Bean-girl away just before Luke followed family tradition and got his hand severed.

“But Mom,” Bean-girl wailed. “I LOVE Star Wars! I really do! And I’m not scared at all, not at all, and I don’t know why you won’t let me watch it and I LOVE it!”

Uh, right. Can a four-year old really love this stuff?

She’s such a little chicken, scared of the playground slide and going too fast on a swing, stopping me when a bedtime story gets too scary for her, bursting into tears the time we took her to a movie theatre to see “Horton Hears a Who.” Shouldn’t watching dismemberment be at least as disturbing?

Then again, one of the last times her grandfather was here, Bean-girl joined him in watching “Dr. Who” and the scary Daleks and whatever ugly monster race was featured that week. I dragged her away to bed, and she spent the next two days proclaiming that she loved Dr. Who and had to find out what happened at the end of that episode…

Between a mama who tell crazy unicorn/hobbit stories and a dad who lets her watch Star Wars, Bean-girl is going to grow up to be a helpless geek, isn’t she?

Hopefully she won't be traumatized as well.

*By the way, though I count myself as a sci-fi geek, I never ever could get into the Star Wars saga. Not even during college, when I was subjected to multiple marathon viewing sessions in the dorms. It has always just seemed rather cheesy to me. And don’t get me started on the wretched “Phantom Menace”, the only one of the “new” trilogy that I’ve seen all the way through. *


Julie R said...

Can Bean-girl come over and play with my twin daughters? At 3 1/2 they love Star Wars, unicorns, and hobbits. They also love to watch the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon from the 1980s. They regularly hide things so Tiamat (the 5 headed dragon) and Venger (the evil bad guy) can't find them.

I can't decide if their obsession with these geeky stories is better or worse than their fascination with Disney princesses.

FYIW, Rose is the name of the hobbit that Sam Gamgee marries at the end of the Return of the King.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Maybe it's precisely because it's so cheesy that it isn't scary? I'm sure if she saw a film in which a normal-looking person in a street just like her own gets their hand cut off, she'd be much more scared...

You're right, there IS a lot of hand slicing off in Star Wars. I hadn't thought of it that way before, lol!

ScientistMother said...

You so are not a sci-fi geek! Saying your a sci-fi geek, but i don't like stars wars is like saying I'm a vegetarian but I eat chicken and fish. OMG how can you not like Star WArs...I am shaking my head.

The bean-mom said...


I think Bean-girl would love your twins. She's in love with the Disney princesses, too. (I think there's just no getting away from it) By the way, I've been lurking on your blog! Nice of you to stop by so we can finally introduce ourselves!

I guess you're right--Star Wars is so cartoony that Bean-girl probably sees it as a live-action cartoon. Actually, I'm not sure that she understands that human hands don't regenerate...

Scientistmother, I was waiting for someone like you to defend Star Wars! What can I say--I just DON'T GET IT. Can I be the sci-fi geek who has her one exception (Star Wars), like those "vegetarians" who don't eat meat except when it comes to their one favorite childhood casserole...

SciMom said...

I can commiserate on the not liking Star Wars. Just never got into it. Had a much better time watching Ewen McGregor and his friend Charlie Boorman ride their motorcycles west from London to NewYork in "Long Way Around".

Thankfully, my 7 and 5 year old still think Noggin is a great station to watch. However, recently my 7 year old discovered YouTube and I found him watching spider-related videos yesterday. Big sigh, they grow up so fast!

Julie R said...

IMO, saying you're a sci-fi geek who doesn't like Star Wars is more like saying you are a vegetarian who doesn't like asparagus. It is just one variety within a very large class of fiction.

I like the real first movie (New Hope) and the Return of the Jedi. I could do without the rest of them.

Rowena said...

My almost 4 year old also loves Star Wars. It's mythic in quality. They get it, even with all the fancy pants digital special effects. Simple good and bad. Journeys and quests. The power within. Plain old Luke who becomes a savior of the universe. It's elemental.