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Last night, we converted Katie's crib into a day bed. I had been putting it off for some time because she is just now getting back into the habit of sleeping in her own bed every night. I couldn't imagine struggling to keep her in a bed from which she could easily escape.
I changed my mind, though, when I heard that a friend's child had climbed out of her crib and fallen, breaking her clavicle. How painful! Though the mother is at no way in fault, out of negligence or any such thing, I didn't want to risk that happening with Katie, who loves to climb anyway. So, the crib rail came down.
Katie was all giggles in her big girl bed. "My bed is COMFY!" she would shout, jumping in and out. The little princess also helped me make her bed with her all-new comforter set, given as a birthday present last October. We had been saving it for just this occasion.
Katie was eager to be put to bed and tucked in tight. "Sleep tight, Mommy," she called out as she put her head on her bee pillow. However, she didn't seem to want me to leave the room. Giving in, I sat down beside her and decided to read a good night story. What could be better than a fairy tale?
Pulling out my nifty phone, I looked up Hansel and Gretel and began to read. It was a story that I thought I remembered well from childhood. You know, the one where the kids get lost in the woods and then snack on an old lady's house? The witch catches them, holds them captive, and fattens them up for supper. Then, just as she's about to roast one child, the other shoves the evil witch in her own oven. Pretty simple little read, or so I thought.
I found myself skipping over the not-so-friendly parts of the story in horror. Do you remember how the kids found their way into the forest? This isn't a story about staying with your parents and avoiding strangers, folks. The evil stepmother convinced their father to lead them out there and then leave the little buggers. Child abandonment! Oh my! Not really a theme I want to reinforce to my daughter, whom I'm about to leave in her big girl bed for the very first time. And the twist at the end, about how the stepmother dies after the witch bakes? Could this be a subliminal message encouraging children to rise up against their parents?
And, what is it with the evil stepparents? Did the Brothers Grimm have something against their mom? Did they have an actual evil stepmother? Were they using their storytelling as a form of release from their childhood horrors? Or, were the stories more supposed to be antidotes as to why parents shouldn't remarry? Think of the kids!
At any rate, though I have fond memories of fairy tales from my childhood, I think I'll spare my kids the dirty details. Disney films may have some disturbing scenes, but can you imagine how much they must cut out to make the story mostly appropriate for children? This is one case in which I'm all for censoring for the sake of the children.