Monday, August 22, 2011

Snow White Goes to Med School

I have the best babysitter on earth. A lot of people say that, but I think it’s true in this case. I’m sure not everyone would consider her the best, particularly if you are the kind of parent who wants your house clean when you come home to it. Forget doing dishes or laundry. The girl doesn’t so much as pick up an overturned basket of Barbie brushes. But what she lacks in tidiness, she makes up for in kick-ass-ness.

I should note, too, that she’s my cousin. So I’m biased. But she is pretty amazing.

First, she introduced my 5 year-old to Gothic literature and inspired him to read Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein by the end of first grade.

Then, last week, she took the kids to Barnes and Nobles. When Sec goes to Barnes and Nobles, she heads right for the Disney princess section. This is not hard to do as basically, the entire children’s section is one large Disney Princess section. They’ve sprinkled a few of those aggravating Ariel books that play music and those magnetic Cinderella dress-up dolls into every display, just so you never have to walk two feet without being bathed in the glow of commercialism.

I loathe reading the Disney princess books to her. I don’t so much mind playing with the Disney princess Barbies or watching the Disney princess movies but something about having to pretend the crap I’m reading is literature makes my stomach churn. Still, reading about Belle and her new pony is better than not reading at all. So, I suck down my dignity and read “A dream wedding for Cinderella!” and other noxious titles. Lately, Sec’s been into the Easy Reader Princess books which is a double whammy of horror, being both easy readers (need I remind you of my distaste for Mittens?) and about princesses. Mind you, she doesn’t want to read them herself, in which case, I’d turn a blind eye. She wants me to read them.

“Belle has sweet ballet dreams. Will she wear a tutu or a gown?”

“Aurora loves to spin and twirl. Prance, princess, prance!”

I feel dirty afterwards.

But last week, my cousin was watching the kids and took them to Barnes and Nobles and Primo had a GLOWING report afterwards, boasting about how my cousin had made the awful princess stories funny and unexpected.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“She didn’t read what was on the page, but made it BETTER,” he clarified, “So they aren’t such bad influences on Seconda.”

Who knows WHERE he comes up with this stuff? It’s not like I brainwash the kid.

“Like, she was reading this Snow White book and said, ‘Snow White was in medical school and so she taught the dwarves the value of proper hygiene.’”

“What else?” I asked him.

“Tiana knew she had a bond with the prince but she still didn’t want it to mess up her MBA.”

“Cinderella was very beautiful but she knew that science was more important.”

“Beauty was polite but she was also independent and thought for herself.”

“Sleeping Beauty enjoyed fashion but her true love was politics.”

Genius, I think. And it had the double virtue of not only giving princess-crazed Sec what she wanted as well as what she needed but entertaining Primo to no end.

Now THAT’S a dream babysitter right there.