I'm not sure it's a good idea to ask for parenting advice on the internet (it seems like it's opening a whole pandora's box of opportunity for crazy people to talk to you) but I'm going for it. Bring on the crazy.
Remember when we went "hiking" with 6 kids under the age of 5? One of the things that I didn't mention about that trip is that we were camping with 4 other families who all have children older than Claire. They also happen to be people I really admire as friends and parents. I learned so much by watching them interact with their kids. One of the lessons I learned came from a mom who's 3-year old started complaining about 2 minutes up the trail. Instead of scolding him she said, in a very animated voice, "Hey...I would really like to tell you a story. This is a story about a girl named Cinderella." She then proceeded to tell him the story of Cinderella. I didn't think it would work. I figured that the boy had heard the story or watched the movie enough times that he would be able to tell the story himself.
I was wrong. I don't know exactly how many stories they got through on the trail but by the time we reached the petroglyphs they were on to Little Red Riding Hood. The mom had promised treats when we got there and they broke out sour gummy worms and passed them around. Not 2 seconds after her had his sour gummy worm in hand the 3-year old said, "what happened next Mom?" And back to the story they went.
I've taken over that practice. When Claire gets fussy in the car or as we're walking someplace I start telling stories. It seems to calm her. It's testing my story-telling skills (I'm going to need a refresher in some of the fairy tales) but today I ran into a moral dilemma. We were coming home from feeding our friends cat (I will try to get video of Miss C chasing the cat because it's hilarious...hopefully coming later this week) and Claire was fussing so I started telling the story of the 3 little pigs.
We got into a little trouble when the wolf got into the house of the first little pig. My little brain started racing. Do I tell her that the wolf ate the pig? Do I tell her that the pig got away? I weighed my options and decided that the pig got away and ran to the other pigs house. When the wolf finally tried to get into the last little pig's house by climbing down the chimney I ran into the same problem. Do they burn him up? Cook him in a pot of boiling water? Or does he just get his tail singed? I went with the latter but was sure to emphasize that he learned his lesson.
Fairy tales and stories are full of terrible violence. Nature is also full of violence (wolfs really do eat pigs and it's not pretty or a slow painless death for the pig). Do you expose your kids to that? Do you tell the stories the way they were written or do you soften them for sensitive ears? Really, I'd like some suggestions....
And in totally unrelated news.....we are certainly ready for summer.....(that last picture is of the steal of a tent that the hubbs scored at the REI garage sale. We were so thrilled that we had to set it up in the common green area of our complex after dinner)