We've been systematically working our way through the Disney films of the golden, pre-Eisner era, and this weekend's selection was "Pinocchio." Or "Pocchi-No", if you're Ellie. The film is chock-a-block with typically charming vintage details (wild-eyed, puppet-thieving gypsies, cigar-smoking children, man-eating whales) and a particular scene featuring some cuckoo clocks in Geppetto's workshop in which one of the clocks opens to reveal a little mechanical woman, angrily paddling a child's rump.
So, right after this scene, Ellie turns to me and says, "That mommy is angry."
Concerned, ready to tender a wise, motherly explanation of the situation, I say, "What was the mommy doing?"
"She was hitting her baby. On his bum."
"Yeahhhh. She sure was. Is that a nice thing to do?" I cluck.
"No," she says, shaking her head, watching the movie.
"You're right. Mommies and daddies shouldn't hit their babies, should they?" I say, nodding solemnly. This is good, I think. This is solid-gold parenting in action, right here. I put my arm around her wee shoulders.
Ellie glances away from the screen, sees my face, does a double take, and says, "It's just a clock. It's just a cartoon clock, Mama."
Even the three-year-old is embarrassed for me.