The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale Revisited–The Quest for a Princess-2010

Once upon a time, there was a queen who liked to read in quiet places, but quiet places were hard to find.  Her four young knights were loud and messy, and sometimes the queen was heard to say, “Who do you think I am?  Your scullery maid?”  (As the castle was short-staffed, she was indeed, the maid, the cook, and the washerwoman.)

Rebekah 10-14-10 313 edited

The young knights always burped at their round table and laughed too loudly and fell off their chairs, which greatly dismayed the queen.  The knights were also getting a reputation for doorbell ditching.

The queen was ready to throw in the towel.  She wanted to run off  & join the Shakespearean company, but that didn’t seem fair to King David.

One night, after her exhausted husband had foreclosed on yet another fiefdom, she complained, “We are not raising these boys to be good knights.”

“Are you kidding?” he said.  “They can headlock any young boy in the village, they’re quick with their swords, and they’re eating plenty of meat.  They’ll be fine.”

“I’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about the code of chivalry.  They need to learn to be honest, loyal, and true.  And they also need to learn how to use a napkin.”

“Ah, for that they will need a princess sister to teach them good manners.”

“But don’t you remember?  My best friend A sorceress cursed me.  I can only bear sons.  A daughter is not destined for our family!”

“Then get uncursed,”  he said.

The queen was grateful she had a husband with all the answers.  She called up the sorceress who promptly uncursed her.  The sorceress had just born a son and decided that maybe she had been a little to harsh on her former best friend.  Even by her evil standards, the “only boy” curse was a little much.

So the king and queen did have a girl, a gentle, quiet, girl who played the piano with dainty fingers and cast a spell of silence at the dinner table.  Well, not exactly.

Unfortunately, the princess was even louder and more boisterous than the knights.  And even though she hadn’t yet learned to walk, the village children said she could slay dragons.  Anyone that tried to hold the girl knew this to be true.

However, the local bards sang ballads about a princess who shot an arrow right through her mother’s heart.  The queen see the beauty around her, and she no longer wished for another life.

At least most of the time.

She never did find quiet places to read alone, but she did read stories to her boys.  And her children gave her plenty of stories to tell.  As for the king, he tried to teach his children to be honest, loyal, and true.  Tune in next year to see if he succeeded.

*As in most fairy tales, all of the events are true.

We’d love to hear from you.  E-mail beckyblackburnwrites@gmail.com.

A few notes on this story:

The first part of this story can be found here.

The Sicilian hex is all true.  My friend truly hexed us and unhexed us.

It’s also true that I didn’t know she was Sicilian until he hexed me.  If I had known, I might have been more careful.

A Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale–Christmas 2007

griffin 1sepia

Once upon a time, there was a girl who liked to read in quiet places.  One day she was hired to babysit four boys, and their loud and raucous behavior astonished her. After they chased her with their pet lizard and locked her out of the house, she vowed (as she stood banging on the front door) that she would never have children like those wicked boys.

This young girl grew up and met a gentle prince, and he took her to his California kingdom.  They quickly had three strapping boys, and the girl suddenly missed her mother.

So the gentle prince gave up his job to move his wife near family.   Unfortunately, the princess had a best friend, who also happened to be a Sicilian sorceress.  When the princess told her friend they were moving, she grew angry and said, “Then I will cast upon you my Sicilian hex.”

“You’re Sicilian?!” asked the princess.

“Yes! and I hex you with only boys.  No girls.”

“No!”  the princess gasped.  But it was too late.

They moved to the land of Utah anyway.  The prince worked at a French antique furniture store (and no, the furniture was not enchanted).  He hoped to buy the business, but it didn’t work out so the prince got a job at the Royal Bank of Canada (and yes, that is its real name).

The prince and princess soon found out that they were having another baby.  The ultrasound said that the chances of having a boy were 100%.

This prompted the prince and princess to make an offer on a home with a very large backyard.  In June, they moved into this home which truly felt like a castle to the princess because

~She could send her boys down to the dungeon, close the door, and be oblivious to their screams (of delight, of course, except when they were torturing each other).

~She could send her boys to the backyard, a magical forest that entertained the boys for hours, especially when she locked them out of the house.

~She could walk to a quiet bookstore (until she came in with her boys).

So despite the Sicilian hex, this princess was very happy.  The baby came in September and was healthy and sweet.  The prince played with his boys in the forest and read them magical tales before they went to bed.  The princess enjoyed watching her boys scarf up their dinner, even if they didn’t always do it sitting down.  Even though the boys were often loud and raucous, the parents loved them and sometimes disciplined them.  And when all else failed, the land of Utah was filled with unsuspecting babysitters.

May your heart be filled with love for the loud and raucous members of your family, and may you be able to remember the birth of the true prince this Christmas season.

Love,

The Prince, The Princess, Ben (8), Eli (6), Davy (4), and Ricky (3 mo.)

See the continuation of the fairy tale here.  

Christmas Card 2004–A Family Résumé

Our Family Résumé

60

Job Description

  • David: Lends money to people that are already rich; winds up boys that are already hyper.
  • Rebekah: Serves 21 meals, administers 47 timeouts, washes 15 loads of laundry, reads 9 children’s books, sweeps 18 times, and yells 0 times on a weekly basis.
  • Benjamin:  Helps kindergarten teacher quiet down class.
  • Eli: Lies around.
  • Baby David:   Dances on dishwasher door, grabs unattended knives, and attempts to sticks metallic objects in electrical outlets.

Education

  • David: Graduated from UCLA’s  School of Business.                    June 2004
  • Rebekah: Underwent vigorous retraining program.  Studied the following books: Getting Organized, The Strong-Willed Child, Is There Life After Housework? and her favorite, Who Says It’s a Woman’s Job to Clean?
  • Ben: Four months of kindergarten.
  • Eli: Should be in preschool (but his Mom loves his pleasantness at home).
  • Baby David: If only he could be in preschool.

Accomplishments

  • David:  Played basketball with a former BYU player.
  • Rebekah: Hosted French and Mexican cooking parties.  Convinced friends to do the cooking.
  • Ben:  Ate nine pancakes with maple syrup.
  • Eli:  Has not been mistaken for a rug—yet.  Unloaded dishwasher when his food supply was threatened.
  • David: Is still alive.  Learned how to scowl.

Experiences (Only Good Ones of Course)

  • Bought a new home in the East Bay from generous friends.
  • Camped at Pismo Beach and ate the world’s best clam chowder.
  • Biked through San Francisco and drank hot chocolate at Ghirardelli square.
  • Saw dolphins near Malibu beach and later in Monterey .
  • Hiked around Lake Anza and baby stayed in daddy’s backpack.
  • Challenging experiences will be provided upon request.

Contact Information

beckyblackburnwrites@gmail.com

53

Are Disney Princesses Corrupting My Daughter?

My daughter recently informed that she no longer wants to be a princess.  She’s now a queen.

“But Mommy, you can be the princess.”  Huh.  I used to be the queen.

f11be-goodcabintrip023 a5bcc-goodcabintrip020

I’ve been reflecting on my recent demotion, wondering what I’ve done to deserve this.  I mean, yes, she has a lot of princess underwear, several princess dolls, and plenty of crowns and princess costumes.  She burns through a wand or scepter about once a month.  (And yet no matter how many times she hits her brothers with them, they still will not bend to her will.)  She watches several princess movies a week.

Still.

It’s not like she can make castles out of ice or anything.

There was a time when I thought her behavior was quite charming.  But now I’m not so sure.  I’m reconsidering the Disney Elsa dress I just bought at Costco. Am I talking about the dress from the same rack where I bought the Cinderella dress and the Snow White dress that ripped on the first day she wore it? Yep. That rack. And I still need to get the Anna, Rapunzel, and Little Mermaid costumes so she can have the complete set.

But maybe I should take the Elsa dress back. They aren’t exactly high quality dresses, and Debi has been acting awfully bossy lately. But then again, I probably won’t. One of the employees told me I was very smart to get it now as it was flying off the racks and would probably not be there next week. I couldn’t take back something that everyone else wants could I? This has got me thinking about starting my own line of dresses, the Athena, Aphrodite, Hera line as our daughters will be tired of being queens and will want to be goddesses by next year.

My sister recently told me about an article she read about how little girls used to love getting baby dolls.  (Mindy, can you send me a link to the article?)  The little girls took care of the dolls, changed their diapers, feed them, burped them, bathed them, which if you think about it probably taught them to become more thoughtful and caring. But now, we are teaching our daughters that they are entitled and that they are all that. I think I might go back to Costco today. I saw some baby dolls on the bottom row of their toy section.

Are Disney princess corrupting your daughters?  Do you think the princess obsession is unhealthy?

What’s So Funny, Mom?

The dumbest things crack me up, and let me tell you, that’s a great skill I have.   Seriously, I set a very low bar when it comes to finding things funny.

DSC_0162

My brilliant comedian

Case in point?  As usual, I was multitasking, driving my kids to piano lessons and trying to help Eli with his spelling bee words.  Since I wasn’t in the mood for an accident, I asked Eli to give the words to me so that I could spell them for him and still keep my eyes on the road.  (Children learn so much when they can point out the mistakes of their parents.) My spelling accuracy was somewhere around 19% as was my driving accuracy.  We missed the turnoff, hoped for a connecting road, only to drive into a dead end.  Shoot, we were going to be late.

I was feeling the stress set in, but the Ricky did something that made me laugh.  He was giving Deborah his own spelling words in the back.

“WAS,” he said.  “And these words are really hard.”  That just got me busting up, I don’t know why.

When I shared the story at the dinner table, Ricky defended himself.

“It’s a very hard word because if you spell it like it sounds, you’d spell it W-U-Z.”

I was so pleased to see that everyone was eating their turkey soup, and I said, “Wow.  You guys must really like my soup tonight.  Or maybe you’re just really wanting some cornbread.”

“It’s the cornbread,” said Ricky.  I started busting up again, and so he explained:  “See, I really want some cornbread, but I don’t get any until I eat my soup so I eat the soup just so I can eat the cornbread.”  Thanks you Ricky for the ELUCIDATION.  And spell that, Ricky!

What happened this week that you thought was funny?

Forget the Kids. Mom’s Need Libraries Most of All

Somewhere between 9:10 and 9:35 I drop off Deborah to preschool and then I go to the library.  I know I should go to Costco or Walmart like other mothers do when they get a brief opportunity to be efficient.  Imagine how many stops one could make in two hours without whining children and without car seats and without somebody spilling Sprite on the floor!

IMG_3935

Look how beautiful the background is!

Yes, efficiency is tempting, but complete silence is absolutely seductive.  I just can’t help myself.  It’s like an addiction, that library.  I haven’t done it yet, but soon I will be one of those obnoxious patrons that yell shhhhh! when you decide to conduct a business call on your cellphone while the rest of us are trying to study, thank you very much.

I was reading a passage of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and this passage grabbed me.  I changed a few words to personalize it:

The living in incessant noise was, to a frame and temper delicate and nervous like Becky’s, an evil which no super-added elegance of harmony could have entirely atoned for.  It was the greatest misery of all.  At the library, no sounds of contention, no raised voice, no abrupt bursts, no tread of violence, was ever heard; all proceeded in a regular course of cheerful orderliness—

I wept as I read it.  Or maybe I laughed, I can’t remember.

I just feel so at harmony with the world when I’m at the library.  Maybe it’s because I’m not actually interacting with the world.

Unless you count the librarians.

The librarians are in a class by themselves.   They are like guardian angels, continually watching out for me, but not always approving of my behavior.

It’s probably because I’m rather loose on due dates.   I also used to highlight the books and add notes, thinking I was adding to the great communal body of knowledge, but then I was told that I wasn’t supposed to do that.

Still, a few weeks ago, I met my best librarian ever.  I went to check out a few books, and she helped me renew my overdue books.

Then she said, “It looks like you might have some books that are due today as well.  Would you like me to renew those books for you?”

“Yes!” I said.

“Oh, and it looks like you have some books that are due tomorrow.  Do you want me to renew those as well?”

“Yes!”  Better than Christmas.  I don’t get to go there for six more days.  Sigh.

What’s your favorite place?

An Ode to Cousins

The Thanksgiving holiday is over.  My brother +5 have gone home to Denver.   My sister +4 are flying home to Germany tomorrow morning.  The cousins (and there are many) have given their hugs good-bye and shed their tears and asked, “When are we going to see Josie again?”

IMG_2459.1

There is no relationship so magical as that of cousin.  Because they are your blood, they understand you better than your friends do.  Because they are your age, they’re cooler than your parents are.  Because you don’t see them every day, they’ don’t fight with you like your siblings do.

Cousins combine the best of all worlds.  They accept you no matter what because you are part of the clan, and even better, they actually want to hang out with you.

IMG_2413.1

When they come to visit, you go to bouncy houses and pizza places and children’s museums and burger joints and movie theaters, and your mother doesn’t make you practice the piano.  You eat with them, and nobody cares whether you’ve finished your dinner.  And since you are usually at grandma’s house, there’s always pie or cookies afterwards.  So of course you are sad when they leave, especially when you realize you have school the next day.

“Is Emily coming back next summer?” asks Ricky.

“No.”

“Next year?”

“Probably not.”  Germany is far away.  Too far.

We love you cousins!

DSC_0314