The time has come to revisit the moomintroll books, this time with Fiona. She is a demanding and voracious read-aloud listener these days, and Tove Jansson’s moomin books will give us plenty of fodder for the weeks and months to come. This is my third time through these books and I love them more every time. Like “Winnie the Pooh” there’s so much in these that speaks to adults in a light-hearted, multi-layered social commentary kind of way, atop some pretty delightful tales perfectly suited for young children.

Moomintroll is boisterous, curious, likeable and adventurous. Moominpappa is so oddly and endearingly eccentric. But I think Moominmamma is the real hero. She rolls with things, she makes do, she doesn’t sweat the small stuff, or even the big stuff most of the time, though she’s deeply caring and deeply trusting. She loves and supports her odd family, and even when things are very terrible indeed, she just carries on with her enduring optimism. The kids get up to grand adventures not because she’s absent from the stories as a parent, but because she loves and trusts them and allows them the freedom they need to make mistakes.

I own a little Moominmamma figurine. There she is patiently whipping up some cream while Little My is making off with the cake for some sort of mischief. If the cake goes missing, no matter — Moominamma will find some creative way for the family to enjoy the whipped cream. It will likely involve some sort of mess. That’s okay.

Some time about ten years ago I gave up reading parenting books. I decided that I had instincts and principles and that I didn’t need theories and advice getting in the way. The moomin books are about as close as I get to reading parenting wisdom now.


4 thoughts on “Moominmamma

  • March 9, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I LOVE MOOMINS! For a long time, I wore my hair like Little My, in reverence. And I often say, appropos of nothing, “Teety Woo! Teety Woo! I’ve come back for a chat!”

    I wish I could get my kids onto the Moomins. I have all the books ready and waiting.

  • March 9, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Haha. I like that – parenting by instinct. I do that too now!

  • March 10, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Finally I know where your handle comes from… have always wondered. Putting the books on my wishlist – thanks!

  • March 17, 2008 at 7:44 am

    My Moominmamma figurine simply clutches her handbag and looks concerned— probably drumming up the optimistic pluck necessary to live in that inhospitable lighthouse.

    I love the Litte My.

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