I have a sensitive little girl. When I say sensitive, I mean, sensitive. I bought Fern Gully, a cartoon, for the kids to watch while Andy is away. Well today was one of those days, so Fern Gully went on. While I was talking to Grandma, the kids watched it—-I had not seen it before. That was a huge mistake. Brynn is so profoundly sensitive that virtually any cartoon with conflict bothers her.
Andy and I have tried to toughen her up, and let her see that in movies conflict is resolved and although things seem scary for a short time they get better. However, I realized today it is not the conflict that bothers her, it’s largely the imagery.
When I got off the phone, I realized this movie was way, way too scary for my kid. There is an oil monster. All I saw was an image of oil moving and sliming around and morphing into a oily skeleton. Brynn was covering her eyes and trying to stay calm. I fast forwarded the movie.
Fast forward to bath time. Brynn says as she’s washing her face, “that oil monster was scary. It made me feel funny in my tummy.” ”Why, Brynn?” ”Because it was so slimy and gross it made my tummy hurt so I just had to close my eyes.”
Brynn is a cerebral child so I said, “well honey, the movie was just trying to teach kids that oil is bad for the environment, and can be dirty and bad, so that’s why it was turning oil into a bad guy.” Silence. Wheels. Turning.
"Well, sometimes oil is good too mommy for things like….cars, trucks, trains, that kind of thing."
So I took the opportunity to tell her that 100% of our groceries come on trucks which use oil…etc etc. Then she said, thoughtfully, “Yeah, oil is good but only grown ups can handle it and only when it’s in a can but it’s not for kids to touch.”
I am ASTONISHED by the extent to which she thinks for herself at 5 years old. Most kids, including myself, would have bought the movie line hook line and sinker. Oil bad, nature good, stop oil. Here’s my little 5 year old sorting out the complexities of the demand for oil despite it being portrayed as monster in a movie. Listening to her reason it out was like peeling an onion. Her ability to comprehend is shocking.
Her father’s daughter, to say the least.