When’s a Dick not a Dick? When it’s a Rick!

I want to start this rant post by saying that I didn’t enjoy the Far Away Tree when I was little and I don’t now. I did like Noddy. Whether or not Big Ears and Noddy were gay (and I don’t think they were) is no one’s business but theirs. And I liked the Wishing Chair. I don’t think any of these stories have aged particularly well but that’s just me.

My kids (aged 3 and 5)  don’t know that a dick is a colloquial word for penis or that fanny is a colloquial term for vagina (here in Australia and also England) or bottom (in America). With this in mind how can it be necessary to change the names of two major characters?

It’s Dick and Fannie,  not Rick and Franny.

There is no Lilly Bobtail in Peter Rabbit which might explain why Benjamin Bunny marries his cousin (Peter’s sister).

Tom Kitten’s mum smacked him, okay?

Sheep are either black or white, they are not rainbow coloured.

How can we sexualise children’s clothing on the one hand and then run riot with political correctness on the other? Are we, as a society, losing our minds?

As adults we do need to be careful of the messages we give our children but surely honest discussion is more valuable than censorship?

Censorship of this sort not only puts adult perceptions on things meant for children, it also removes chances for children to learn how to use their discretion, ask questions and make judgments when faced with new ideas. Ba Ba Rainbow Sheep doesn’t invite discussions about racial injustices in history and without these discussions our children aren’t prepared to deal with it if they face it in the present day.

What do you think? Do I have too much time on my hands or do you agree with me?

Lilly and Anna

Lilly and Anna were best friends.

They ate their breakfast together and they had their bath together.

They both had their hair plaited and they both wore shiny black shoes.

They told each other everything and they played together all day.

At night Mum would tuck them both into Lilly’s bed and they’d cuddle up together and go to sleep.

 

One day Mum took Lilly and Anna to the park to play.

They swung on the swings and touched the sky with their toes.

They whizzed down the slide with giggles and squeals.

They jumped into the sandpit with both feet and then they stopped.

There was a new girl in the sandpit.

 

“I like your dolly, can I hold her” said the girl.

Lilly squeezed Anna but she didn’t want to be rude.

The girl pulled at Anna’s arms and knocked one of her shiny black shoes off . She tugged the ribbon out of her plait and got sand in her hair.

Butterflies swooped in Lilly’s tummy. “Can I have her back now,” she asked.

The girl shook her head, “I’m going to keep her.”

“But she’s mine.”

“She’s mine now,” said the girl, “And you can’t tell. It’s a secret.”

That night Lilly couldn’t sleep. Her tummy hurt and her pillow was cold and damp. She sniffed. Her bed felt very big without Anna in it.

 

At breakfast she couldn’t eat her pancakes and she wouldn’t have a bath.

She didn’t want her hair plaited and she wouldn’t wear her shiny shoes.

“What’s wrong Lilly,” Dad asked but Lilly couldn’t say.

It was a secret.

 

“Mum?” Lilly asked, “do you have any secrets?”

Mum stopped making lunch, “I don’t think so. I don’t really like secrets, I prefer surprises. They’re much more fun.”

“Hmmm,” said Lilly.

 

“Dad? If you know a secret, is it alright to tell?”

Dad put down his newspaper, “That depends. If it’s a secret that makes you feel all yucky inside then it’s better to tell Mum or I, or another special grown-up, like Grandma or Pop.”

“Hmmm,” said Lilly.

 

That night she still couldn’t sleep. She felt yucky all over and she was sure Anna did too.

She got out of bed.

Mum and Dad were watching television.

“What’s wrong Lilly?”

Lilly took a deep breath and then she told them all about the girl, and Anna’s shoe and the sand in her hair. She told them all about the secret. And her tummy didn’t hurt any more.

“That was very brave,” said Mum.

“You did the right thing,” said Dad.

“I know,” said Lilly.

 

The next day Lilly and Dad went to the park. The little girl was there with her mum.

“It was a secret,” said the little girl as she handed Anna back to Lilly.

“I don’t keep secrets from Mum and Dad,” said Lilly, “especially not yucky secrets.”

That night Lilly snuggled under her blankets and Anna snuggled in beside her.

They yawned and they smiled.

They closed their eyes and they dreamed.

Yellow-Bellied Scaredy Cat – Ages 6 – 8

 

“Don’t move.”

Lewis froze.

“It’s huge! It’s the biggest spider I’ve ever seen!”

Lewis’s tummy tightened.

Danny tried not to giggle. He reached out with a long blade of grass and…

“Get it off, get it off, get it OFF!” Lewis screamed, clawing at his face.

Danny howled with laughter.

“You’re a Yellow-Bellied Scaredy Cat,” he gasped.

“That’s not fair!”

“Yes it is. You were so scared you couldn’t move. Yellow-Bellied Scaredy Cat! Yellow-Bellied Scaredy Cat!”

Lewis stormed off towards the house.

 

When Danny skipped into the kitchen a few minutes later, Lewis was sitting at the table with a spoon in his mouth. He pushed a bowl of ice-cream towards his brother.

“Yes!” Danny said, seizing a spoon.

Danny scraped his bowl clean. Underneath the ice-cream there was something small, and black and…leg-like.

Lewis sniggered.

Danny peered into the bowl. His stomach flip-flopped and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. There were a few more little legs, and antenna and…a wing. His chair toppled over as he stood up.

“Mum? Muuuuum,” he yelled.

 “You’re a Yellow-Bellied Scaredy Cat!” Lewis sang out as Danny raced upstairs.

 

“It was only marker,” Lewis muttered.

“I didn’t even do anything,” Danny added.

Thud!

Danny and Lewis flopped onto their beds. Mum left for work with a jangle of keys, her car growling into the distance. Their sister Jenny was babysitting and the murmur of the TV floated up through their floor. Rain began to lash the window…

Crackle-bz.

The lights went out. The house was very dark and very quiet except…

“Did you hear that?” asked Danny.

“Don’t try and trick me,” sniffed Lewis.

“I’m not. Listen…”

Scrape scrape scrape.

What is it?” Danny asked, climbing onto Lewis’s bed.

“I don’t know,” Lewis said, pulling Mr. Ted onto his lap.

Bdup bdup bdup…crash!

“It’s getting louder!”

“It’s coming closer!”

Lewhiss…Daaaaneee…Where arrrre you?

Quick,” Lewis said, pulling his doona over their heads.

They huddled together and held their breaths.

Creeeeak.

Stomp.

Stomp.

Stomp.

Something gripped the edge of the doona. They shivered and then…

“AAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

“You’re both Yellow-Bellied Scaredy Cats!” Jenny yelled, flinging the doona onto the floor.

Lewis’s heart danced in his chest. Danny’s tummy was filled with butterflies.

But it was only Jenny.

Bubbles of laughter floated up inside them.

“It’s time for dinner, I ordered pizza,” she said, ruffling their hair.

Lewis leapt off his bed, “Last one down stairs is a Pink-Toed Slow Coach,” he yelled as he bolted through the door.

“That’s not fair!” Danny cried, racing after him.

 

 

The Moon’s Big Day

“Time for bed,” said Star.

“I don’t want to go to bed,” said Moon, “I want to stay up all day, I want have a midday feast, I want to see what Sun sees.”

“Suit yourself,” yawned Star, fading off to sleep.

“Humph,” said Sun, “you should go to bed.”

“No, there’s so much to see,” said Moon.

Tweet tweedle tweet, flappity flap, skitter-hop skitter-scratch, skitter-dash-dash-dash.

“Birds! So many, so quick. They flitter through the air and scratch for worms with their feet. They dip, they dive, they snap at moths with their beaks.”

“Umph,” said Sun.

Beep-beep, honk, barp, honk, beep, creep, broom-broom, vroooooom.

“Cars! Line after line, row after row. Creeping through the city and then broom, off they go.”

“Umph,” said Sun.

Chatter, clatter, stomp. Hop, swing, slide, skip. Tag, you’re it!

“Kids! They hurry, they scurry. The little boys bellowing, the little girls giggling! Up the jungle gym, along the Monkey-bars. Look at them go!”

“Umph,” said Sun.

La-la laaaa. La-la laaaa. La-la la la la laaaa.

“A lullabye. So soft and sweet. Floating, swaying, rising, falling. Sighing. The day is dying.”

“Goodnight Moon,” said Sun.

“Goodnight Sun,” said Moon.

Moon yawned, “I’m very tired tonight,” he said.

“Don’t worry Moon, I’ll tuck you in. You can have a night off,” said Cloud, “La-la laaaa. La – la laaaa. Goodnight moon and now sleep.”