Friday, October 9, 2009

"Where is Bambi's Mommy at?"

Thanks, Walt Disney. Thanks for killing off Bambi's mom, and every other mom in your supposedly made for children cartoon movies. I understand that death is a part of life, but- dude... come on!

So the other day Eleanore and I are sitting up in her bedroom, putting on a good morning outfit (sometime after lunch of course, because who gets dressed before noon, really), talking about how we might go outside and play later. On the floor next to Eleanore's closet, is a 12" TV/VCR combo that my parents got for me as a gift (maybe my birthday? My mom worked for Panasonic.) when I was 10 or 11. WHOA, mom and dad... my own TV?! I was so cool. Well now its Eleanore's TV, as are allll the Disney VHS tapes that go with it.

So there we are, sitting on her floor (I already said that, didn't I), when Eleanore asks if she can watch Bambi. "Sure", I responded, and then popped the ancient dust covered tape into the player. Usually by this point, I walk away. Shes distracted enough that now would be the absolute perfect time to go and do something else. Anything else. Dishes, blog, laundry, edit photos, make something ridiculously yummy completely from scratch- anything. But instead, I sat there by her side, watching Thumper kick his leg against the ground and say "I'm thumpin', that's why they call me Thumper!". Eleanore recites that very line maybe 100 times a day. The other day she stopped every couple of feet, to do it, while we were walking home from the park, even though every time, her rain boot would fall off and either she'd trip, or her bare foot would land on the cold concrete and get soaked. It was nice though, being on her bedroom floor ignoring my chores, dissolving into a Disney movie the same way that I did when I was her age.

Until Bambi's mom died.

"Where is Bambi's Mommy at?", Eleanore asked me.

My mind went blank. My vocal chords froze. My heart ever so briefly stopped.

"Well, Eleanore. Bambi's mommy had to go bye bye, and shes not coming back", I finally said, not so sure of myself. Seconds later, when she caught up to my not so greatly thought out answer, she says back to me "oh, well he can just get a new mommy then". ...Crap.

"It doesn't really work like that, Elie. See, Bambi's mommy got- um. Bambi's mommy was- and, then... she... Bambi's mommy died".


"Oh", she said, matter of factly. I let out my breath as the weight lifted off of my shoulders. Just as the smile was returning to my face, Eleanore says "Bambi's mommy! Bambi's mommy! Come back! Come back! Come baaaaaaack Bambi's mommmmyyyy".


"No honey, Bambi's mommy died. Bambi is going to go live with his daddy now, OK? And his daddy will take care of him and raise him to be an adult Bambi. His mommy is gone", I tried to correct. Luckily, right about there was when Thumper made his return to the screen, distracting her from any worries about Bambi's mother that she may have had.

I sat there in silence, trying to think about how I would explain death to my 3 year old daughter. It just so happened that a few days later, we made friends with a butterfly that she later stomped to death (that's a whole other story that you're more than welcome to read about here of course), and I got another chance. Again though, a fail.

So, Walt Disney. Where is your movie explaining that? Huh?

Bambi's Mommy went to Hawaii. She did the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred for like 100 days beforehand, she bought herself a brand new bikini, and then she treated herself to a much needed vacation. She left her son with his father for a change, booked a hotel with her friends, drank 4 fruity cocktails on the flight over, and that, my dear, is where Bambi's mom is.


  1. Minus the 30 Day Shred bit, that sounds like heaven to me!!

    The weirdly morbid mom that I am, I started discussing death with Gracie (well, she saw Bambi, too, so that is what started that, I'm sure). Bugs die, pets die, sometimes people in her life die (not yet)... she doesn't like it, but she is getting used to the idea.

    Death and kids... so hard to discuss!

  2. Yeah, I usually avoid Disney movies that make ME cry LOL. Nemo, you have to skip the first scene and Dumbo, I can't take it when he is separated from his mama!! My kids have never seen Bambi for that reason...uuugghhh...if I'm crying I shouldn't be the one to explain death. :-/

  3. I like the last your last explanation of where Bambi's mom went best. We've been trying to decide how to explain this to Sophia is difficult. She knows the word died or dead or death... but she doesn't really get the concept. Often she says her imaginary friend Mazeen has died...heck the other day at the table she told daddy that "I hope mommy dies" yes.. it threw me back, but I know she doesn't really get it, and I know she doesn't want me to die. I keep searching for ways to explain it to her...but I think I just need time. She'll understand it soon enough.

  4. Bambi is a great way to try and convert Gracie to being the next Vegetarian in the family!
    "A nasty person killed his Mommy and ate her, does that sound nice Gracie? Want to be a vegetarian like Daddy, or mean like the mommy killer?"
    Of course I've never said that but I'd like to to see the look on Marisa's face.

  5. The Anonymous above comment is my hubby, if you can't tell.

  6. Haha!

    I was a weird child. The fact that Bambi's mommy died went completely over my head and my parents (obviously) never pointed it out. I didn't realize what made that movie so sad until I was probably 11 or 12.

  7. I know I really hate that almost all Disney movies the main character only has one parent and the other had died. Snow White, Cinderella, Bambi, Nemo, The Lion King, the list just goes on. I know I watched them as a kid, but I just can't bring myself to show them to my kids. It just seems too sad.

  8. I have been a total coward about the subject of death and have dodged it as much as possible. The mean barracuda scared away Nemo's mommy... and she just never came back. Mufasa is just sleeping...for a really long time. Then one day Amelia asked me about my dad, who died long before she was born and I broke down and told her "he went to heaven and that's really far away". The best I knew she'd let the subject go...until the other day when I asked her if her Ariel figurine, which was lying face down on the couch, was which she answered "No Mommy, Ariel's dead". Oh...OK.

  9. It hit me one day, after watching a stack of Disney movies with my own daughter that old Walt must have had mother issues. The mother's either dead or evil. I can't bring myself to read her Snow White book all the way through to my 4 year old because, seriously, bring back her heart in this box?

    I was forced to have the death talk with my daughter at the age of 4 when her goldfish died. She handled it really well. Maybe getting a goldfish and waiting for it to die is the best way to introduce the subject of death.


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