Why are so many children’s books filled with death and dismemberment?
I mean, really. “Humpty Dumpty.” “Little Red Riding Hood.” “The Three Little Pigs.” “The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly.”
Am I the only one who changes the words in those books when reading them aloud?
The “Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly” line, “Perhaps she’ll die,” becomes “Oh me, oh my,” around our house. And “She’s dead of course,” (and who wouldn’t be after swallowing a horse?) becomes, “That’s all, of course.”
It’s not that I’ve shied away from talking to Beans about death. It’s a sad fact of life, and it’s hit us big time this year, with losses of two cats and a fish in just a few short months. I sought guidance from the mother of a friend – a mom who happens to be a child psychologist, no less – and I followed her suggestions to the letter. I hated every second of those discussions with my baby, knowing full well that my words would cause him pain as much as they would help him deal with life (and loss) in the future, but I went through with them just the same.
I know I can’t protect him forever. I’m just not sure those kinds of lessons have a place in storybooks.
I guess my deception will be discovered pretty soon though. Beans will learn to read at some point and the jig will be up. Maybe I’ll get some white-out …