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Little House Lessons

I know I can be an over-thinker. And, my "ethnic-ness" and my journalism background have combined to make me Queen PC. I don't like talk that hurts or excludes others.

So, imagine my "oh boy!'' when the melodic, beautiful voice of actress Cherry Jones spewed through the CD speakers:

"The only good Indian is a dead Indian!''

Whoa, Nellie!

It took everything I had not to react, but Maria's eyes grew wide.

"What did she say?'' Maria asked.

I got all hot.

We are listening to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, which we borrowed from our little library. A friend told me she has been reading the books to her 5-year-old for more than a year and this fall we attended her daughter's Little House theme party. It was awesome. The girls wore bonnets hand-made by my friend's mother, they made dolls out of old socks and they ate little cakes and drank lemonade from atop hay bails. The girls had a blast, and I was charmed:

I never read the books and while the TV show ran from 1974 to 1983, smack dab in the middle of my childhood, I didn't watch it much. A city kid in Miami, I couldn't really relate. So, when we picked up the audio book last week, I had no idea it would lead to discussions with the 5-year-old about American history, unfriendliness, racism, simple living (Laura was more than pleased with her tin cup and shiny penny for Christmas), and pioneers (My husband's family crossed the country as part of the famed and tragic Donner Party).

And this is why I love mothering: It stretches me daily. It makes me confront myself, it makes me search out answers and look at things from multiple perspectives. I never know when a new lesson is coming, and that is quite cool.

By the by, I'm not cringing as much anymore as we plow through the story, which I have found delightful and made me extra glad for modern conveniences. I told my husband: "I really would have stunk as a Pioneer woman.'' He agreed.


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