Thursday, January 27, 2011
PASCACK VALLEY COMMUNITY LIFE
"Goodnight girls. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite."
"Aahh! Don't say that," screamed my older daughter.
Who would have thought that a harmless term of endearment from childhood could evoke fits of terror in our kids? Ah, but you see, when we were little, there was no "bed bug" epidemic sweeping lower Manhattan and no danger of hearing about it on the 6 o'clock news. I have to admit, they scare me as well, and it's all I can do not to scratch myself to sleep at night.
When you stop and think about it, many children's stories and nursery rhymes are downright terrifying. When I was 5, our family was preparing to move into our very own home after years of apartment living. About a month before the big move, the "Wizard of Oz" aired on television and my parents agreed I was old enough to watch it. Wrong. I spent the next month waking with a reoccurring nightmare that the wicked witch would pick up our new house and toss it to the ground, just like she had done with Dorothy's home.
Ironically, when Ally was 2 1/2, she became obsessed with the wicked witch after watching "The Wizard of Oz" (thanks to the magic of VCR's, my kids didn't have to wait a year to catch an annual televised event) over and over again with her big brother.
"Why her face geen, mommy?" she'd ask with her big brown eyes as wide as saucers. "The wicka witch won't get me, right mommy? I like her geen face," she'd say, hoping that flattery would keep her safe.
When my brother was young, he was terrified of "Hansel and Gretel." Perhaps he was afraid of abandonment, or perhaps he hated clogs (in our version, Hansel's were brown, while Gretel wore green), but whatever the reason, he would quickly flip past the pages of "Hansel and Gretel" in our Brother's Grimm storybook and start to cry if I suggested that my mom read it to us. I loved the pictures of the candy-covered house and reveled that in the end, clever Gretel outsmarted the evil witch by pushing her into the hot oven.
Then there's that crazy lady with all those kids. No, I'm not talking about the Octomom or Michelle Duggar, although clearly Mother Goose was ahead of her time. I'm referring, of course, to the old lady who lived in a shoe. Nothing terrifies little kids more than the thought of a spanking, except maybe the threat of an early bedtime. Well, that sadistic old woman beat her poor kids and then sent them to bed — now that's positively chilling for a 4-year-old!
Click here to read the entire bed bug article