PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or Struwwelpeter

10/08/2010 16:17 | Updated 22 May 2015

Is anyone over the age of thirty still PC these days? I'd like to believe that the days of über-political correctness have passed us by in a cloud of paper shuffling cerebrally challenged council workers? But I suspect I'm wrong.

As a child I read all the Famous Five books more times that you could say sex role and cultural stereotypes. You probably shouldn't say sexist but something along the lines of gender biased with niceness deprived overtones. Or something. Anyway, I loved them.

Yesterday, my little girl (pre-woman) returned from visiting our elderly (chronologically gifted) neighbours. Over dinner I noticed she seemed to be eating with a level of enthusiasm seldom observed when faced with green beans. I have been attempting not to criticize her lackadaisical attitude to food as we all know that criticism is an unjust self esteem reducer so best not to.

I couldn't let the moment pass without comment altogether though. I mentioned with as much indifference as I could muster that it was smashing to see her enjoying her lunch.

"If I don't eat it up I will die in five days!"

Do what?

It turned out that our neighbour had been reading her stories from Struwwelpeter. Written by Heinrich Hoffman (a German psychiatrist no less) in 1845, it's a collection of tales chronicling the unfavorable consequences of children's misbehavior. The stories cover such subjects as; the little girl who plays with matches and......burns to death, the little boy who wouldn't stop sucking his thumbs and had them....cut off by a visiting tailor and the boy who goes out in a storm with an umbrella and....gets carried off to his doom. Amongst these gems was the story read to Finje about a boy called Kasper who refused to eat his soup and over the next five days.... wastes away and dies.

Now the PC brigade may well look upon these tales with disdain (non-traditional praise) but I kind of like them. Death is a fact of life and anyway dead is only really metabolically challenged! The kids can take it.

Now, as I sit here with my my quadrupled non-human associate (cat), I'm considering a tale of woe that might encourage Finje to tidy her room. Something along the lines of Little Miss Roominamess who came to grief under a mountain of Playmobil and despite her strangled screams for help, slowly starved to death, all that remained being a pile of bones which were then eaten by next door's Rottweiler.

It's a work in progress.

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