parens binubus

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  • Sunday, July 23, 2006
    The Story of a Bad Mom
    Toward the end of the school year, definitely in June, Thing One came home from a field trip with the beginnings a story she thought of scrawled onto a paper bag. She was excited to write the story, and spent the evening curled in a chair with a notebook. Before she went to bed, she showed me what she had written.

    In the story, a girl had a dog. The dog was large. The dog was a bit mean. So was the girl. One day, at the park, the girl encouraged the dog to eat a cat (!!!!) and the dog did. The girl was happy, and congratulated the dog. (!!!!) Then, another day, the girl and the dog were playing, and the girl got a bit too rough with the dog, and the dog bit the girl's leg. People saw, there was a huballoo, and animal control took the dog, and put it to sleep. The girl was upset.

    Now, Thing One has never written this kind of story before. There has never been a mean streak, there has never been a start of a story with a "tragedy" for her main character. I was very surprised to read about a cat being devoured (it was not graphic in the slightest - it just said "killer ate the cat.") And I was surprised. And I reacted. I said, "I don't like it that he ate the cat! And why was she HAPPY that he ate the cat?"

    The result was that Thing One took her story, got up, went in her room, put it in a drawer - never to be touched again.

    I didn't realize that it was "never to be touched again" until I said something a week or so later, and she said, "You didn't like my story. It wasn't good." I told her that wasn't true, that I was just surprised by it. She said no - she's not writing it. Ever again.

    I think this was a mistake on my part. The child is so creative, and this little story was another step of her exploring her own creativity, and I STIFLED it. I feel terrible about it, and I don't think I can fix it. I can never again give any criticism to stories she's exploring in her head, but I can't make the story about hte girl who lost her dog come back and find its ending. Who knows what the ending was? Perhaps she was to become a cat lover? Perhaps she was to find another dog, who instead of finding pleasure from blood shed, found pleasure from helping others?

    I am hoping that when she returns in 3 weeks, she will pick the story up again, but i highly doubt it.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:59 AM  
    • At Monday, July 24, 2006 8:59:00 PM, Anonymous jodie said…

      well, she may not go back to THAT story, but i dont think youve ruined anything in that fine mind of hers. she will at some point return to that vein im sure. and she may not ever tell you, so you wont know. but, even if its when she is older, more sure of herself, and puts less weight on your opinions, (i mean, per-pubescent rebelling against her mother) she will do that again.

      you are the farthest thing from a bad mom that i know of!

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