Friday, September 16, 2005

Racial tension, with lashings of ginger beer

Since I started reading the Magic Faraway Tree to Small Person at bedtime, she's been waking up crying during the night. I presume it's nightmares, but since my daughter fiercely guards her emotions it could be anything. She's a mystery to me - an open, affectionate, loving child who absolutely will not discuss things that upset her. Maybe it's born of me and the Ex splitting up last year, or maybe she's inherited his emotional firewall. I sort of hope it's the first one - she's inherited his feet and his family chin and I think that's enough to be going on with. So any trauma, from restless nights to school-based fears, is approached with such caution that it generally takes about ten minutes for her to even understand what I want to know, so veiled are my enquiries. And the further we get into that bloody book, the more I recall from my childhood that Enid Blyton, in addition to her breathtakingly bad grammar, was more than a little bit racist - the Three Golliwogs, anyone? Lots of tales of how stupid, lazy and unpopular with local residents they were. Shame on you, Ms Blyton. I also seem to recall that she hated children and played tennis in the nude (although I'm fairly sure the Faraway Tree doesn't contain any naked tennis scenes. At least not unless they're integral to the plot). I'm fully expecting to have to skip some of it and to be honest that would be a blessing as it's not nearly as good as I remembered. Bah.

In other news, I just had the sort of meeting that starts off all facts and business, then degenerates into gossiping about kids and shoes. I love that sort of meeting - it's my favourite sort.

How professional.


Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

if i return to the world of remunerated employment, remind me to come and work for your company

(footwear-related discussions at 10am - yes yes yes!!)

16 September, 2005 11:15  
Blogger car01 chimed in with...

Now then, you and I need to be having stern words about the work of Enid Blyton. Yes, it's a bit racist - especially most of the Noddy stuff, and yes, it's very idealistic. But it's all jolly good fun in a very innocent way, and whatever you do, please do not deprive your daughter of the marvel that is the writing of Enid Blyton just because you don't much like it.

Truly, Enid Blyton was the best thing about my childhood. Had it not been for her, I doubt I'd have made it to adulthood.

nkiaiw: refreshing drink made from the juice of the lesser spotted green aphid of Borneo

16 September, 2005 12:35  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

a bit racist? bruh. nasty old enid.

please elaborate on how enid blyton saved your life.

16 September, 2005 14:54  
Blogger Whinger chimed in with...

I know no Enid Blyton, but I've read many a book to nieces and nephews that ends like this, "Um...right. They then all decided it was better to just get along and everyone went home and had cupcakes. The end." If there are questions about why there are so many remaining pages, we discuss what a glossary is and then it's time for bed.

Thanks for the link! As soon as I figure out my template, you will be linked for certain. :)

16 September, 2005 15:39  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i once got small person a library book on the basis that it had jolly pictures of rabbits and cows and horses on the front. turned out the cow and horse(weird dynamic - didn't analyse that one too deeply) had adopted the rabbit as the rabbit's parents had been hit by a train.

as i recall, there were only two pages of text in that book, depsite them being numbered up to fifteen.

16 September, 2005 15:55  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

or even "despite"

eugwhj: the noise you make on smelling a stranger's guff.

16 September, 2005 15:56  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

But I love how children's books are so wonderfully un-PC! In 'Mr Messy' by the renowned R. Hargreaves, Mr Neat and Mr Tidy live together in a white-fronted immaculately presented cottage and wear matching suits and bowler hats with ne'er an eyebrow raised. Fab.

PS. 'Kids and shoes'? Surely 'bags and shoes' would be even better?

16 September, 2005 16:26  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

oh, and have you tried beatrix potter? corporal punishment a-plenty (nice)

i agree with fifi sis handbags and shoes would be best

16 September, 2005 16:32  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

I'll invite you to all my meetings surly girl. I don't mind the science talk but it gets a bit much. I love to degenerate into the important things in life.

About the bad dreams. This is about the age that children become more aware of a bigger world out there than just their immediate space. Its pretty scary.
We lie down with our kids most nights, after stories. Its a really special time. Often they just go to sleep but often we talk quietly. They seem less guarded and are able to voice their fears and ask the tough questions. Here is one from my daughter the other night:
Mommy, I've been thinking about it, which hole do the seeds go in and which hole does the baby come out? Great question sweetie. Lets go back to our Body Science book!

You seem like a great Mom SG. Your small person is very lucky.


16 September, 2005 18:50  
Blogger Amanda Matilda chimed in with...

Thank you. You've given me a title to look up tonight when my shift at the library gets slow. I'd never heard of The Faraway Tree, but the whole child-hating tennis-playing nudist angle has really peaked my curiosity!

16 September, 2005 20:35  
Blogger Lisa chimed in with...

I also loved Enid Blyton as a child and to be honest I didn't notice any racist undertones because I was too young. Enid, however, was probably too old to acknowledge change in a positive way.

I'm more offended by the fact I've had to read Mr Perfect to my nephew countless times but Mr Sod Off doesn't put in an appearance. Call me bitter.

16 September, 2005 20:59  
Blogger Lisa chimed in with...

And I'll have lime with that.

16 September, 2005 21:00  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

do you want to borrow the naughtiest girl in the school? brings out Enid's sado masochistic qualities really well ..........

17 September, 2005 07:29  
Blogger elvira black chimed in with...

You mean there's other types of meetings?

In my office, they also had "bagel day"--every Tuesday the little student interns would get money from a special fund to buy chips, cookies, and other goodies so everyone could go to the lunchroom and consume empty calories during that low energy 3 pm stretch.

And of course, let's not forget the cake parties for all occasions.

17 September, 2005 10:52  
Blogger Fizzy good chimed in with...

I read that book when I was much too old for it. It freaked me out, too. The ones about groups of crime-solving children are fairly readable, though.

I'd go for Roald Dahl myself, I always thought he was some sort of literary god when I was a child. Apart from Matilda, don't go near that one unless you want to give her an inferiority complex.

17 September, 2005 13:30  

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