It melts your heart…

When grandma turned up today, Gypsy let out a delighted shriek and ran over to her. After a huge hug she rubbed her nose against grandma and said “Grandma, when I see you it makes my heart super happy”.

My heart melted. 🙂

Who has all the answers? Daddy!

I grew up a very curious soul. And I’ve always actually looked forward to having curious kids. I couldn’t wait for them to start talking and asking questions so I could show them the world and how it works.

I wasn’t going to be a parent who used “just because”. I was going to educate and elucidate.

But it turns out that toddler questions aren’t the great learning exercise I expected. And while they do indeed have an insatiable curiosity, it’s often applied to mundane things.

“Daddy why does the moon change shape?” is interesting. “Daddy, why are cornflakes orange?” is not as interesting not to mention a lot harder to answer.

In fact it’s all too frequently a great challenge answering questions from those incapable of wiping their own bottom.

I’ve discovered there are roughly three ways to answer a toddler question. Take the following query for example:

“Why is my reflection upside down in a spoon Daddy?”

You really have three options.

a) Because concave surfaces reflect inversely
b) Because the spoon is curved.
c) Magic!

Now I know most of you are thinking option b) but that is a trap. Because their immediate follow-up question will be “why?” and you will probably have to resort to a) or c) anyway.

Nothing is straight forward and “Why?” is currently the bane of my existence. Those three letters often leave me exasperated. Not because they’re being asked but because they’re being asked beyond the point of being able to provide an answer.

You can explain how things fly (lift force) and why they fall (gravity) but how do you respond when they ask WHY gravity sucks things down? Or WHY solids can’t pass through solids?

You get to a point where where they’re asking the why about principles/theories/laws that we simply accept. It’s also – scientifically speaking – the point at which your mind just explodes.

One of these days they’re going to ask “why are you hitting your head against the wall Daddy?”

Just because honey. Just because.

When Memory lane turns out to be in the bad part of town

IT’S SAFE TO SAY DAUGHTERS OF STAY-AT-HOME DADS EXPERIENCE A FEW THINGS DIFFERENTLY. IT’S NOT NECESSARILY BETTER OR WORSE, BUT IT CAN BE QUITE NOTICEABLE.

For example there might be a little less disney and octonauts and a little more Ghostbusters and Nightmare Before Christmas.

And – talking about no family in particular of course – perhaps they were exposed to Star Wars at a younger age than most. And yes, they might recognise the Dr. Who theme song. And they love Superman, Supergirl and Blackman (actually Batman but, because he wears black, the toddler logic will not tolerate backchat).

Okay so my twins might not be typical little three-year-old girls at this stage, but recently i dec ided it was time to expose them to the ultimate childhood classics: The original old-school disney movies.

I have wonderful memories of robin hood as a fox, the moral lessons of a wooden boy whose nose grew with dishonesty and those amazing dancing broomsticks, so it seemed a no-brainer that the girls’ cinematic education include the films from the
magic Kingdom. They’d already seen the Little mermaid and the Lion

King and even though I had some doubts about those (graphic death scenes and disturbing themes in both) the older movies were from a purer age right? Boy, i was in for a shock. Those sweet movies with the catchy ditties? Not so sweet and good.
Let’s start with dumbo. I remembered a vague story about a cute little elephant who finds his place in the world with a special talent. But the reality is a movie full of bullying, racism and general negativity. And, to make matters worse,
dumbo only flies in the last ten minutes.

Snow White and the Seven dwarfs? Lovely animation but full of plotholes and Snow White treats the animals like second-class citizens/slaves. Not to mention, she has the most annoying shrill voice of all time. And the prince goes looking for a beautiful princess he’s heard is dead but preserved in the forest? Soooo inappropriate.

I love Peter Pan but the stereotyping of Native Americans beggars belief. The song even says they have red skin because in the past a Native American blushed at a girl implying they were originally the ‘normal’ white skin. And misogyny? Don’t start me…

Cinderella does nothing but wish for stuff. And everything gets handed to her on a platter.

Beauty and the Beast supposedly teaches us to not judge a book by its cover (though I notice Belle is pretty attractive for some reason) but the message that actually shines through is that it’s okay to stay with abusive, temperamental men because eventually they’ll magically change.

Bambi’s mother’s death scene traumatised me when I was young. No way are my girls seeing that one.

Step-mothers are pretty evil across the board and most disney characters are missing at least one parent. And whether they have one or two parents there’s a recurring theme of “it’s okay to disobey your parents as long as it’s for love”.

It goes on and on and this is even without touching on the underlying disney messages of girls having to be pretty.

Seriously, what the hell was wrong with these people? I know it was another age but that still doesn’t make it okay for my girls today.

Thankfully we have one or two recent depictions of strong, fully independent women in the Princess and the Frog and Tangled (the modern Rapunzel is awesome) but as for those so-called classics? Well, I think we’ll stick to Star Wars and Supergirl thanks.