Tuesday, January 15, 2013

talking mice



talking dinosaurs. talking bears. talking frogs. but you know the pinnacle of anthropomorphism is the talking mouse.

there are tons of those skittering creatures out there in children's literature and film. a nice compilation is posted by Rose West, who wonders at why the mouse is so prevalent. i think she puts it beautifully when she says:
Perhaps it is vulnerability. Perhaps children, who are often unable to clearly express themselves, find similarities between themselves and these tiny animals. Perhaps these fictional mice and their ability to talk represent something to children, something like hope.
either way, now into my 30s, i'm still smitten by these whiskered protagonists. and, like doll houses and fairies, it's fun to watch my girls start to engage these pint-size joys as well. both my girls have giggling fits over the mice in Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Two Bad Mice," thanks to BBC's animated retelling. they also have an affinity for Angelina Ballerina and Lilly.

try though i might, however, i cannot get an ounce of interest out of my 5-year-old in Ralph, Abel, Stuart, or Basil. the closest we get to boy-mouse approval is Lilly's chums: Chester, Wilson and Owen. and i think that has more to do with Lilly and a blanket that is yellow. where's the love?

i'm rushing her again, of course. she's only 5! 

i constantly find myself torn between wanting to keep my daughter little and wishing she'd jump to the next stage. 

"oh, i love this one too"
versus
"this was one of mommy's favorites when she was a little girl..."

"tell me again about your imaginary superhero"
versus
"you need to learn to tie these goldurned shoes yourself!" 

she's only 5, and yet already 5. and i keep envisioning what i want for her, rather than viewing the world from her 3-foot-10 perspective—and marveling.

there are amazing moms out there reading full-length chapter books to their kindergartners, who are ready for the next step. my big girl is still interested in picture books (preferably with pictures that are princess-like)—and that's ok. she memorizes the stories with the help of images, then plucks a book off the shelf, finds a cozy corner, and reads to herself, over and over again, page after page, time and again. what a subtle yet wonderful way to instill a love of language and story in a child.


part of the genesis of this blog was to remind myself (and other harried parents of young children) to enjoy these fleeting years. to embrace the silly. in my book-obsessed world, that also means letting go, letting go of this rush to share and slow down enough to follow my daughter's pace—in small, mouse-like steps. 

(if mice wear plastic princess pumps, that is.)

what whiskered friends do you hope to share with your young ones as they grow older? i'm keeping a running list of our favorites (and hopefully future favorites) here.





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