Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief helped me understand issues of inter-country adoption

So, The Husbang is away in Hagen, and Vop and I are left alone for 2 weeks. I thought I'd have a nice, quiet Saturday night, alone with Vop, just she and I, and watch some TV. You know, a mother-daughter bonding sess, complete with popcorn and juice ("No, you can't taste Mommy's special juice. It's got Vodka in it. Can you say "Mommy's little helper"?)

And, as it happened, there was a family movie on the telly. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. So, Imma thinking it will be a good chance for Vop to get a handle on this whole acting thing. She's been struggling with seeing DVD's with an actor playing one character, and then seeing that same actor in another role. She doesn't yet understand the concept of acting and playing a role. And as her current fave movie is Mama Mia, which has Pierce Brosnan in it, and so does PJATLT, I thought it would help.

Oh, and it also made a good opp to talk about gods and demons and fairy tales in general.I was waiting for her horrified expression when she saw Sam dressed as a centaur, and I had my whole speech prepared about dress-ups and make-believe ready to go.

So, we're snuggled down on the couch, slamming fistfuls of 'corn pop' in our gobs, and having a very nice family moment. when we get to the Medusa scene.

SO, I'd forgotten about this bit, when Percy cuts Medusa's head off and holds it up. It's not too graphic for kids a little older than VOP, or kids who have an understanding about make-believe and movies and the like, but for a kid who's only being viewing TV for a couple of months, and thinks all that shit is REAL, it could be pretty scary. I mean, not as scary as Yo Gabba Gabba, but close. That Yo Gabba Gabba shit will fuck you up, man. I mean has some kids TV producer got a zoned out Gen Y geek on crack designing that shit? WHAT IS WITH THAT HAIR, Man?? I swear I saw  the dudes from My Chemical Romance on there, the other day, singing with some gay-icon/unicorn-loving/bubble farting puppet.

SO, no more vodka on the weetabix for Mommy.

But I digress.

Back to PJ.

SO, Medusa's severed head is lying on the floor. And it's kinda graphic, so I look across at Vop, thinking she may be upset. But no, she's happily downing more corn pop and looking chuffed.

SO I ask her "You do know that's just make-believe, don't you? That lady's not really dead?"

And she replies "Oh, yes she is Mamma. When the bad raskols come to my village, they have knives and they cut man's neck like this and him REALLY dead."

And draws her finger across her neck.

So, thankfully, I am only on Voddie #two, but even so, I was WTF???

I admit my gob, she was smacked. I didn't have the faintest idea how to deal with that statement. Should I have turned off the TV and had a big heart-to-heart with her? I confess, I didn't. She was happy and stuffing her face and didn't seem in the least traumatized. So I let it slide.

She's nearly 5. Surely there will be plenty of time to deal with things like this... later?

But it made me realize that I have not just taken on a 4 year old with health issues, I've taken on a child whose entire cultural reference is so far from mine I can't begin to understand it. When my kids were four, their greatest horror was my risotto, NOT seeing people murdered by having their throats cut.

It's all well and good to read about violence in the Highlands of PNG, and feel all warm and fuzzy about adopting Vop, but this? THIS is the reality of it. My four year old daughter has seen thing that horrify me, And what's worse, is that she doesn't seem the least bit upset about it.

WTF do I do about THAT?

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