My daughter has always loved stories; telling them (although her style is as circumloculatory as you'd expect for 3.9 years old...) and hearing them. And, although neither her mother nor I have encouraged her, she has turned out to be quite a Pretty in Pink sort of little girl. She loves all things soft, plush, pastel and princessy. And that includes the "Disney Princess"TM brand of story. Like most little ones, she can - and prefers - to read and re-read the same story over and over again. So we know the stories of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and their sisters pretty damn well.Recently, however, she has developed a devilish little strain of anarchic humor which is known generically around the Fire Direction Center as the "Oopsie Ow Version". "Oopsie Ow" means that the Daddy is required to throw figurative stones at the poor princesses. They now have to slip, trip, fall, bump their heads, wrench their backs and suffer embarrasing catastrophic loss-of-coolant bladder accidents. Their reaction has to be an agonized wail of...you guessed it: "Oopsie OW!"
Instead of kisses, their princes receive smacks on the earhole or kicks in the backside. It's all very slapsticky, and elicits great peals of laughter from Small Miss. Even her brother, who usually scorns her princess stories as sissy girl stuff, has been known to creep up next to my lap to join in the enjoyment of Cinderella punting Prince Charming square in the kisser with her bare foot as he tries to glass-slipper her, or Boots the Monkey flinging his poop at Dora and nailing her between the eyes. Oopsie Ow!I'm not sure what fertile soil sprouted the Oopsie Ow; the Girl doesn't seem to translate all of this comic misfortune into a larger sense of malaise with the world or a cynical view of princesses and princessing. Which is good - a cynical four-year-old would be just too Wes Anderson.
But having the notion that not only is real life not like a fairy tale but that even fairy tales aren't always like a fairy tale?I'm surprisingly okay with that.