Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Non-pharmacological Sleep Aids?

We've discussed already how I am overly fixated on language, grammar, and how one's choices in literature are reflections of one's character in some way.  But now I'm a bad mother about it.  It's library day at our house, and my sweet almost-seven-year-old chose only chapter books to bring home today.  I'm feeling smug, because she can read them herself, for the most part.  She does still enjoy having me and her dad read to her.

But her taste in literature sucks.  I dread reading the books she chooses.  It's torture.

It's not for lack of exposure.  I encourage her to look at the non-fiction section in the library for topics that interest her.  I bought a collection of girl-centric fairy tales compiled by Jane Yolen after Christmas; she'll listen politely to one occasionally.  My sister gave her a copy of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairlyland in a Ship of her Own Making for a present; couldn't be less interested. I tried to get her interested in Peter and the Starcatchers on her by first letting her watch Hook; too scary.  Okay.  I'll give her that one.  But Hannah brings home Rainbow Magic books from the library.  This week's selection includes Shannon the Undersea Fairy and Cherry the Cake Fairy.  Holy coma.  Those books actually put me to sleep.  I read two chapters and had to go brew a pot of coffee.  I'm not kidding.

I've read this one.  My soul is just a little smaller as a result. DON'T look inside, whatever you do.

They're almost as formulaic as the dumb Barbie stories she likes. The books are about two best friends who discover that Fairlyland just happens to be in great turmoil everytime they have occasion to get together, and they have to work with the fairies to save the day.  Oh puh-lease.  At least they could come up with some interesting fairies now and then.  Hillary the Headcold Fairy?  She could make sure everyone got a good dose of the grippe every couple years, so their immune systems could get a good work out.  Belinda the Break-Up Fairy?  Her role is to make sure that there are self-refilling pints of cookie-dough ice cream or Jack Daniels in the ice box of everyone who just ended a relationship.  How about Cora the Cable Fairy?  Her job is to make sure no one's cable goes out during an important sporting event or the season finale of The Simpsons. Or Hannah's suggestion: Caroline the Coffee Fairy.  She's clearly the one to look after me.  These are fairies with whom I could get along.

I usually try to avoid using sarcasm with my child; I figure what I give her, I'm getting back at some point, with no one to blame but myself. But I can't read these books without a heavy dose of irony and commentary.  She tolerates it in order to hear the repetetive stories of two girls and a fairy undoing the spiteful mischief of Jack Frost and his goblins, a bunch of villains too stupid to tie their own shoes, if they ever wore any. That kid is a trooper.

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