the bearenstein bears


Dominique Provost-Chalkley said in today’s Tales of the Black Badge podcast that she once had a job where she had to wear a bear costume and hold balloons. So, naturally, @haughtbreaker wanted a fic, and I was more than happy to oblige with this silly drabble. Please don’t judge me. (But someone please take away my laptop.)

It’s quite possibly the most mortifying thing Waverly has ever done in her life: scurrying as fast as possible down a crowded sidewalk in an overstuffed teddy bear costume and trying not to scare young children or knock over elderly tourists. Changing into the furry brown monstrosity before she left her apartment had seemed like a great idea at the time, given that she was running late to her gig and wouldn’t have time to suit up at the party. But now, as her neck begins to cramp from the weight of the bear’s massive head and she’s about to pass out from heat exhaustion, she realizes that maybe, just maybe, it hadn’t been her wisest decision after all.

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Let me tell you what pisses me off about the American educational system

I was a smart little kid. Like a really smart little kid - but mostly in reading. My reading comprehension skills far surpassed most of my classmates for most of school. And my teachers all noticed. They constantly pushed me to read higher and higher level material for my age. Not that this was bad, of course. What was bad was that I was ONLY allowed to read material at a higher level for my age. I remember in third grade I tried to check “where the e wild things are” out of the school library, but my teacher swiped it from my hands and told me “you’re too smart to be reading that” and she gave me “Arabian nights.” This became a regular thing. I tried sneaking bearenstein bears, Winnie the pooh, and courderoy books from the library and some teacher would always take them and replace them with nearly college level material because I was “too smart” for those books. I, a child, was not allowed to read children’s books. And then, right before high school, I had a teacher named ms Johnson. By the time I got to her class I was a nightmare for my teachers because I never wanted to read or do my homework. One day she saw me picking at a copy of Jane eyre the library had given me and she came and handed me a copy of Matilda. I sat and stared at it for hours because I couldn’t believe I actually got a children’s book. And it was the best thing I ever read. I reread it 4 times before I gave it back to her. I will never understand just how she figured out exactly what I needed, but I was so thankful. Every week I got something new from her- Junie b jones, Dr suess, and all those other books I’d never gotten to read. My grades shot up and I was a much happier kid. And then all the other teachers in my school found out. And my parents and I got called to a conference. Where we sat and listened to this brilliant woman get screamed at for “dumbing down bright children”.

She got fired for letting me be a kid. Nothing in the world could make me grow up faster, but that’s how our education system wants it. Keep pushing kids to their limits and never let them just be kids.

  • me: Berenstein or Berenstain?
  • mom: Berenstein.
  • me: NO!
  • mom: No, I remember, because the authors were Berenstein, so the bears where Berenstain.
  • me: No, the authors were Stan and Jan Berenstain.
  • mom: Nawww.
  • me: (explains the whole Berenstein/Berenstain collective remembering/misremembering parallel universes idea)
  • mom: people have too much time on their hands, I think.
  • me: I can't believe you remember this differently, as I so clearly remember reading these with you and learning to read from them and that you corrected my reading of Berenstein to 'stain because of phonics.
  • mom: I don't remember that at all. Anyway, I gotta go, love--
  • me: This is very upsetting, mom, this means we're from different universes!
  • mom: Probably, you're right. Okay, I gotta go--
  • me: Me, too. TO FIND MY REAL MOM.
  • mom: Good, you do that, bun.

Am I the only one who doesn’t remember this show? I had never heard of or seen anything about this show before a few months before The Force Awakens released. Wikipedia says it aired from 2003-05, but I don’t remember ever seeing it. Before 2015, I had never seen anyone even mention its existence. Is this like that Bearenstein/Bearenstain Bears parallel universe shit? Like I am genuinely concerned. Why do I not remember this show? Is anyone like this? Why does everyone but me know about this?