My Daughter’s DoctorsJuly 27th, 2011 at 23:06
I find this rather surreal, because I remember watching Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant with her already, experiencing the show through her eyes… but she was three and four years old, and she doesn’t remember thim now that she is a big girl of six. For a little while there, Matt Smith was the only Doctor in her living memory, HER Doctor.
Something I have learned about my daughter over the last few weeks is that she is a) fickle and b) a true Doctor Who fan.
We’ve been making our way through seasons 3 and 4 (Martha and Donna) plus a few classic stories along the way, and she triumphantly announced a week ago that Matt Smith was no longer her favourite – it was now David Tennant! She had been holding out for Rose as her favourite companion, despite not remembering any of her appearances, so I let her watch season 1… and it’s been really fascinating seeing her watch one of my favourite seasons of Doctor Who, as if for the first time.
The big difference between 3 year old Raeli and 6 year old Raeli is that the smaller version of her was pretty fearless about anything she saw on TV. In the last several years, she has developed huge panicky fears about all sorts of things – she’s terrified of dogs and cats, gets freaked out by all manner of sounds, and in the last 18 months in particular developed a deep horror of Sontarans, Daleks and other Doctor Who monsters.
But she’s a determined little thing, and while we’ve had years of her completely collapsing into panic attacks, she’s now starting to take control of her fears and her boundaries. She declared a few months ago that she was no longer afraid of dogs, which was a huge deal (much like her claim not to like pink, it was a total lie, but one we don’t call her on, because it’s one we thoroughly approve of) and a sign that while she is still severely hampered by overwhelming fear and panic, she is actually starting to imagine a future when this won’t be the case. And lo, the Stubbornest of Daughters Made Progress.
Her progress in managing real life fears has gone hand in hand with her science fiction viewing. She started out desperately afraid of the Silurians, but her love of the Ood Cast’s songs tempted her back to watch The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood until she adored them so much she wants to dress up as a Silurian for her birthday. She rationalised her Dalek fear to being okay with stories with just ONE Dalek at a time (ie the Big Bang, and The Five Doctors), as long as there weren’t more than three at a time. She drew the line at Victory of the Daleks, which she only “watched” from behind the couch, peering through a doorway from the other room, and at several points completely hiding her face in her hands.
The change which really surprised me was the Sontarans. Raeli’s fear of Sontarans, based entirely on a few images in a magazine and on a DVD case, was epic in the extreme. The very sight of one would send her into screaming fits. She was once so utterly traumatised by an unexpected Sontaran in an episode of Sarah Jane that she refused to watch the show ever again. But then along came our lovely sympathetic Sontaran nurse in A Good Man Goes to War, and she was over it.
If only her fear of dogs could be cured by a sympathetic TV character!
Today, she officially dumped David Tennant for Christopher Eccleston as her favourite Doctor. She then told me with glee that Matt Smith had been bumped down to fourth, because she quite likes Jon Pertwee too. Oh, and… as of tonight, she is no longer afraid of Daleks. The realisation hit her sometime between Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways, but I credit Rob Shearman’s Dalek for the shift in perspective – for the first time, she empathised with a Dalek, and now she’s immune!
One of Raeli’s favourite games last thing at night is for us to ask each other Doctor Who related questions – favourite or least favourite Doctors, companions, episodes, etc. Tonight, she informed me that her favourite episode of the Christopher Eccleston season was The Doctor Dances (she likes ‘everybody lives’) but her least favourite is The Empty Child (“because of Jack and Rose dancing and being romancey, Mummy, you know I’m not a romancey child, I’m an ACTIONY child”).
Then, just before she went to sleep, she remembered that she wasn’t afraid of Daleks any more, so now she can watch the Matt Smith Dalek story all the way through! The look of excitement on her face was like the sun coming out from behind a cloud.
This is totally what daughters are for.