Warning: If you haven't seen Brave yet, this post will contain some slight spoilers.
This morning while I was getting ingredients together to play breakfast, Peanut wandered up behind me in the kitchen.
"I don't want these."
She offered me three small toys--the family to her dollhouse. She plays with the dollhouse every day, so I was completely confused.
"But this is your dollhouse family. Who will live in the house if you give these to me?"
Scary? I looked at the dolls in my hands, trying to figure out what on earth would make them suddenly frightening to my tough little toddler. Or what would make them scary period.
"Honey, why are these scary? You've been playing with these for six months."
"They got scary eyes."
She pointed to the Daddy doll's eyes and looked up at me, completely serious.
I sat down in the floor with her and sat her in my lap.
"Look, baby, they all have the same eyes. Their eyes don't look any different than they did yesterday. Why are you afraid of them."
"Yes, they have dark eyes, just like Mommy and Daddy."
"No, black eyes. Like the bad bear."
Then it hit me. Last night, we watched Brave again. Without giving too much away (though at this point, what are you waiting for if you haven't seen it?), there's a character in the movie who turns into a bear. The longer the character remains a bear, the more she loses her human characteristics. There are moments throughout the movie where bear instincts will take over. When it does, her eyes become very "unhuman" and turn dark--and kind of scary looking.
"Honey, are you talking about the movie? When the bear's eyes turned dark?"
"Well, that's not going to happen to your dolls. They are just toys. Their eyes have always been dark, and they've never scared you before. Why don't you take them back to your playroom and put them in their house.'
"Don't want them. Scary eyes."
I really needed to continue with breakfast, but I felt that I should find someway to reason with my toddler (if that's possible).
I placed the toys on the floor in front of her.
"Peanut, do you see how small they are? Your feet are bigger than they are and you're even bigger than that. So even if they all of a sudden turned into bad toys, you could step on them and squish them right?"
"I step on their heads?:"
"Yes, you could step on their heads."
She studied the doll family for a few more moments before picking them up and wandering back into the play room.
Not my finest moment of parenting perhaps,but this logic worked for me as a child. I was completely creeped out by dolls but justified having Barbies by telling myself that I was big enough to take them on if they came to life and tried to kill me. So even though I might have slightly confirmed the possibility of toys coming to life and/or being evil, at least she won't be afraid.
So, not a parenting fail, right?