I have been telling stories to the little one since she was a teeny tiny month old. Three stories to be precise. I haven’t really had a need to change or to add new ones yet. The stories get new layers and dimensions with time, is all?
Once upon a time, there was a pretty girl named Cinderella.
Everybody told her “Cinderella do this, Cinderella do that” and Cinderella did everything”!
Then she grew big and one day one Prince comes and tells her about a dance party.
Cinderella is excited and wants to go. But she doesn’t have a party dress. So she goes to Vevina (my daughter). She asks, “Vevina, Vevina, do you have a party dress?”
Vevina says: “Yes I have a <colour> party dress, <colour> party dress and <colour> party dress” (The <colour> is replaced with the colours seen in the immediate vicinity)
Then Cinderella asks, “Pretty, Please! Give me one na, Gimmme na Gimmme na!” to which Vevina replies, “But I am a baby na, I have small pretty dresses!”
Cinderella realises the same and starts to cry. Just then a fairy Godmother appears ‘Zoooi Zoooi Zooi’. “Cinderalla, crying is a bad job. No. You do not do that. You are a good girl. I’ll give a party dress. Swish Swoosh Abracadabra”, Cinderella gets a golden dress with silver trims on her tummy. (Here the toddler gets a tickle or two on her tummy)
Then Cinderella, Prince, Vevina, etc.; all go the party and dance to the song ‘Aaao twist karen’. Yes the toddler does the said twist at this point. The names are everyday people we meet and like. They keep changing and some people are mentioned constantly. They are the lucky ones.
What I observed of myself from this very abridged version of Cinderella is that I am censoring a lot. There are no bad people. No step mothers, no step sisters, no cruel twist of fate, no midnight deadlines. I made the fairy tale more of a fairy tale. I fairtaled the fairy tale.
Initially, I didn’t want to complicate the story. Then as time passed, I added little lessons to be learned into the story. The toddler learned all her colours from this story. She even can recall names of people. She learns a tonne just from a simple story.
The other day, there was the popular Disney version of Cinderella on TV. My husband got excited and wanted to show her, her first movie. I was slightly against the idea but still said okay for a 15 minute stint. (Given that I am totally against TV for the toddler, this was too much time already). The toddler obviously didn’t like the step mother and repeatedly asked me who she was. Oops! Disney didn’t censor out the bad.
Maybe Disney is right. There is good. There is bad. A child needs to learn that. But mine doesn’t know villains exist. Everybody is either a good girl or a naught girl for her. A naughty girl is nowhere close to being bad. I realised here that my innocent, censored story is protecting my child from the big bad world. She has to know not all are good.
So, come this week, I am introducing a new story of Snow White. She will have an evil step mother and the bad apple and all. But she will still count the dwarves to learn numbers and probably twist some more. But we bring in the bad this time and learn that good will always win over the bad.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!