She’s not afraid of the wicked witch of the west. Or the flying monkeys.
I remember being terrified of both. Until I was like, thirty-five. It was my mom’s favorite movie and it was on ONCE a year. None of that on-demand nonsense. And she MADE us watch it. I remember hiding my eyes from the witch and huddling under a blanket as the monkeys swooped in.
Gaaaahhhhh! That movie had an impact.
Recently, we (with LOTS of trepidation) let Mayhem watch it. We had been talking about the story of The Wizard of Oz, and Mayhem had since, begged to watch it. But all Keith and I could think about was how much it scared us, as kids. And then she begged some more.
We decided that watching it with her, during early (read: not right before bed) afternoon would be best. So I sat down on the couch and she snuggled in next to me. The opening credits rolled through and the movie began. Mayhem was quick to ask “How long until it turns to color?” We encouraged her to sit back and watch the story.
She sat wide-eyed and taking it all in. I loved watching her LOVE it. When Dorothy stepped into MunchkinLand (and color), Mayhem’s face lit up. But when Dorothy began skipping and singing Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Mayhem was consumed.
But the witch … the witch didn’t seem to scare her. Not even a little! Mayhem simply asked “that’s just a lady in a costume, right?” I confirmed her suspicion that all of the characters were people in very elaborate costumes, and she simply smiled and bobbed her head as the next musical number played.
When it was all over, Mayhem immediately ran to her room to put on the most Dorothy outfit she could find. And she’s worn it every day since.
She’s declared that The Wizard of Oz is her new “most favoritest movie in the whole universe”. And in place of our daily walks, we now have daily skips. She carries Toto in a bag and sings Follow The Yellow Brick Road the entire way. I love that a classic from 1939 can still have such an impact. The singing, the dancing, and the costumes draw her in like nothing I’ve seen before.
But, I still couldn’t get over that something that terrified me so much as a kid, didn’t seem to scare her a bit. So I pressed the conversation. And she finally said, “The Good Dinosaur was WAY more scary, Mom. Way!” (For the record, I did have that feeling too as I watched TGD with her.)
And with that, she made me realize something I should have tapped into long ago. Times have changed. Stories that kids are exposed too these days are very different than when I grew up. Even the animated movies have some seriously scary characters and a parent seems to reach a tragic end in all of them. Side note: WTH?!?! Those movies feel relatable in a way that scares her. All the “what ifs?” that those stories conjure up in her mind feel very possible.
It’s given me a lot to think about. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that this generation is somewhat numb to the “scary”? Or has “scary” just changed? I don’t really have any answers yet, but the conversation in my head is ongoing.
In the meantime, as long as she continues to refer to me as Glinda, I’ll continue letting her watch The Wizard of Oz. On repeat 😉 And I’ll braid her hair everyday. And tie in bows. And I’ll hang onto our daily skips through the neighborhood for as long as she sees a yellow brick road.