Archetypes For Kids: Contrasting Santa & Bunnies with Cavegirls

Kids love to dress up in costume. It’s adorable—generally—serves to develop a sense of metaphor and imagination, make believe, and so on. Archetypes range from the magical Santa & his helpful elves & reindeer, to the cuddly of Easter Bunnies, to the scary, sinister or humorous of Halloween.

So, I propose a modest challenge in contrast.


Santa n co
Santa & Co

Or…these. Archetypes in survival, strength, independence, wherewithal, mindfulness, measured aggression, and when the situation calls for it: bloodthirstyness.

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Reader & head of household Sadie sue, getting the girls decked out
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The Athlete, Supermodel & bookworm, I’m told; all of a solid 11 years old
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7-yr-old Zoe has her 10-yr-old sister’s back (you’ll see her again)
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In case you though it was only very, very serious…

But sometimes, it is very, very serious.

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Back off!

Little Zoe just turned 7 and I love her intensity. If she was a real cavegirl, imagine how she might have learned, not from dress-up and make-believe, but from real life; how to manage her own affairs and make a real influence and contribution to a small society we evolved within to be the social animals we are. …And in 12-13 year’s time or so (more like 20+ from her mom’s perspective, I’m sure) that intensity could serve to convey that anyone who really wants her must first prove himself worthy. So there’s another archetypical cavegirl idea for you.

…That photo was taken by Tom Parker, who graciously gave me permission to use it. He covered the dedication of the Ice Age Memorial at Blue Rapids, KS, in the Town Square. Tom also has a post up with other photos of the event.

Ice Age children wearing animal skins and wielding spears might have startled some in the crowd Saturday morning at the dedication of the new Monument to the Ice Age on Blue Rapids Round Town Square.

The children were local youngsters dressed for the occasion as they appeared just as the ceremony began at the new exhibit crafted in concrete to symbolize massive glaciers that stretched at least twice from the Great Lakes region into what is now Marshall County.

Once the glaciers melted, immense rocks, fertile soil and several rivers formed northeast Kansas as it generally remains today.

George Callison, Blue Rapids native, came up with the idea for the $100,000 tribute to the Ice Age and donated much of the funds to build it. […]

“It’s good to come to a place that honors geology,” Buchanan said, noting he hopes the monument will foster public understanding of this region’s rich glacial soil.

Nearby Alcove Spring offers examples of the region’s geology, and Buchanan considers it one of the most significant sites in Kansas.

The Blue Rapids monument has interpretive graphics describing the Ice Age and a button that starts an audio description of life more than 10,000 years ago. The voice, recorded by Callison’s daughter, Leslie Meredith, greets listeners as “survivors of the Ice Age” and describes the creatures that once roamed this area — saber-tooth cats, super bison with 7-foot horn span, ground sloths the size of small vehicles and 6-foot giant beavers.

It also displays one of the oldest rocks in Kansas, which is commonly found here — Sioux quartzite — from the ancient Canadian Shield that rode the glaciers down the continent.

Sadie emailed me before and that email turned into the insanely popular and controversial post on hungry kids. She tells me her kids aren’t hungry, anymore. She adds:

I am so happy that I had my tinfoil hat on about the GMO foods, and that led me to find paleo (and your site). I didn’t need to loose weight, but my skin is much clearer; my girls sleep very well and my 11-year old (the AP student and bookworm) lettered in two out of 3 Jr. High sports! All three had perfect attendance for the entire school year when other kids were out for days or weeks at a time. Not all of that is due strictly to genetics, some of the credit definitely goes to paleo…

We are big on community involvement. As the youngest Board Member for the Historic Society, the blue-hairs are always talking me into supplying the “color” for events. I have over 100 costumes that we have done for various purposes, but the photos for this one seemed custom made for you. I am very grateful that I ran across your blog when I was trying to justify protecting the girls from the horrible chemical laden garbage that is touted as ‘healthy”, and thank you for providing an outline of things to consider and research that might enhance my role as “head of household’. Most of the people that I know think we are batshitcrazy (TM) for taking grains out of our normal eating patterns, but I feel great and the kids are flourishing!

Well, there you have it.

And guys. No, not all of you. Just the single, 40-somethings who have established themselves in life, are cavemen in their own right in a way that upholds and compliments the ideal set by Sadie sue and her beautiful daughters…do note that she’s “head of household.”

I’m going out on a limb here, but don’t I do it all the time? So, at the risk of getting a WTF? email from Sadie, any of you guys have any business that might need doing in Blue Rapids, KS or thereabouts? Or, can you make up a believable excuse? Just sayin’…

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Shelley on June 1, 2012 at 11:30

    I love it! I wish Sadie were closer to me for 1) her braveness, strength & determination; 2) her inspiring, awesome costumes; 3) future dates for my two handsome (paleo-ish when I insist) boys (they need more good examples on the friend side)!

    The funny thing is, though, I joke about future dates, but the truth is my two boys (13 & 10) have more girl friends than boy friends, and the girls they are friends with are super aggressive, tomboys whom I love to bits. The boys seem to be wimpier. I’m certainly not saying all little boys are wimpy, I just wonder why the boys I’ve been seeing lately are. And, interestingly, the boys seems to be big playstation gamers where the girls are outside running around getting dirty. Go figure.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2012 at 11:37


      I think it’s the natural order of things for boys, like in 10ish to 13ish or so to go through a period of being really intimidated by girls in the same age range. It’s how they learn to “tame the beast.”

      I sure as hell was. When I was that age we lived on a lot just alongside my grandfather’s Trukkee River property outside Reno. 10 acres of greenbelt that stretched way down the river on one side, including an old dam and swimming holes. As luck would have it, a family moved in near us in one of my great uncle’s rentals. Hispanic, worldly beyond their years at 11 and 13 and I at 11, I learned a whole very lot that summer, all day in cuttoff jeans & barefoot, chasing around after those girls.

    • LadySadie on June 1, 2012 at 12:04

      Shelley, I have some extra “skins” for your boys. Do you want me to sent them to you? Haha. And if you ever have to come through Kansas, we will be happy to show you around our little town-minus the costumes!

    • Shelley on June 1, 2012 at 12:08

      My 10 year old loves to wear costumes, so he’d insist on the whole reenactment! My 13, well, he’s too old for those silly games now. 🙁 If we ever make it out….

    • LadySadie on June 1, 2012 at 14:04

      Yes, the oldest one, age 11 wasn’t so excited about it until we got there. She is heading into 7th grade and she is becoming “too cool” for these things. I basically had to pull the “community service” speech out and dust it off. I don’t have too many boy-costumes, but we could manage. These were super easy, mostly held together with strips of latigo (skinny leather lashing) no sewing, just like a cave momma likes it!

  2. Elliot on June 1, 2012 at 11:46

    Title typo?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2012 at 11:49


      I must have been thinking Satan and came up with a hybrid. Thanks. I’ll fix.

  3. Shelley on June 1, 2012 at 11:47

    Oh no, I never thought of it that way. Now I’m really reluctant to have them “hanging” with the girls beyond their years teaching my little nubes the ways of the world. Ahhhh! I think conversations are in order for this evening. 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2012 at 12:01


      Don’t worry about it. Just teach them to adore good women. It should be very easy. Nature takes its course then.

      BTW, I never got anywhere near where I wanted to go. Nature took its course. At that age and really, all ages, the girls call the shots and if you’re the guy you ought to aspire to be, that is a level of respect that to me ought to be so easy to imbibe.

      The value of a real invitation, an honest to god invitation, can not be understated for a guy. The task for them is to learn to get that real, honest to god invitation. It’s worth waiting for.

    • Shelley on June 1, 2012 at 12:05

      Ahh, you do have a sweet side, huh. 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2012 at 12:13


  4. LadySadie on June 1, 2012 at 12:01

    Thanks for this post, Richard!

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2012 at 12:04

      It was my pleasure. I was going to save it for the weekend but I couldn’t wait to get it out there. Superb job with those girls.

  5. jofjltncb6 on June 1, 2012 at 12:47

    The four intro photos had me really worried about where this was going…especially that disturbing fourth photo with the unnaturally small girl on the left who, despite being 7-12 years old, is the size of a two-year-old.

    Although I admit, the feeling of being hunted down by spear-wielding women/girls from the later photos has me just a little edgy now.

  6. Kim C. on June 1, 2012 at 13:01

    Those pictures brought a gleaming smile to my face. So stinkin’ cute!

    This sort of play would have been right up my ally as a kid. I was that hardcore tomboy Shelley was describing.

    Go Sadie! It sounds like you are doing some amazing things for your community and your girls!!

    I hope my son can find a strong, smart, independent cave girl like yours when he’s older.

    • LadySadie on June 1, 2012 at 14:07


    • Kate Ground on June 2, 2012 at 13:01

      Shaking in my boots…should those little girls be playing with sticks? They might poke their eyes out…..

      Where, as a kid, I played in a scrap pile of old welding waste….ran barefoot in the woods, barefoot in construction sites…so, there were nails, i have scars….out at dawn, in at dusk.

      Love the costumes. Wish I had been a little more creative when mug girls were younger…they like the princess stuff..lout, they were running in the woods barefoot, setting up forts…those were the days

    • Pauline on June 3, 2012 at 04:21

      I remember running around barefoot a lot as child. I loved the feel of grass beneath my feet. Running outside and climbing along walls. Hide/seek – a huge oak tree you could climb and nestle in. Hopscotch and hullahoops. Those jumping in/out games with long stretch elastic when 2 or 3 of you played. Yo-yos (those plastic round toys with string that you tried to make walk on the ground) and ping-bats. Roller-blades and skate-boarding and landing winded at the bottom of the street (I had an older brother) – we played marbles and toy solders. At primary school tennis racket held with both hands it was so heavy. I played with dolls and charms, occasionally but it was all those outside games that I loved.

    • Kate Ground on June 3, 2012 at 06:28

      Chinese jump rope! There were two of us and we’d use chair legs for the third. Hours of jumping in and out. We were good, too. Ok, confession time. My cousins had a rope swing and I was Tarzan.

      There’s this guy in Austin slack lining in the park. He calls himself Tar-zen. Cracks me up. My daughter does it. I want to try.

    • Pauline on June 3, 2012 at 10:56

      Yes, chair legs when there weren’t other girls to stand and use as leg posts. Learning how to jump very high, without touching the elastic or you were OUT! And those hard small rubber balls that could bounce higher than the ceiling, they would ricochet everywhere. Roller skates not roller blades. And Ice-skating at the ice-rink. My feet would always steer in opposite directions. Oh and skipping ropes! I once played with matches and used my shoes to stomp them out and that took some doing! Never played with matches again. We felt amazingly free and only looking back now know it was such an amazing time none of this fear to do things, just calls for supper would make you want to go in.

    • Shelley on June 3, 2012 at 11:10

      Loved every single one of those games, but be careful, we’re showing our age! Plus, double dutch, jacks until your knuckles bled, jumping off roofs, eating cherries plucked from the trees until you were sick, hurdling fences, hanging upside down from a tree limb until you fell, and running everywhere.

      To be 10 again….but back then not now, there are just too many rules/regulations and paranoid people.

    • marie on June 3, 2012 at 11:11

      When neighborhoods had big trees and I would hang upset down, knees hooked over a branch, green sky so close, waving lazily in the slow summer breezes. And pogo-sticks, with a wobbly mind of their own, bouncing down the sidewalk, the little kids in awe if you could bounce on and off it. My dad always rescuing the older girls who’d go too high on our weeping willow and couldn’t get down, they’d wait for hours until he got home, our heroes, dark specks in the sky, their disembodied voices calling down the daily progress of “our” birds nests. And Tommy’s mom, the neighborhood dragon, lifting you off then grabbing you by the ear and taking you home because if your skort is around your face, you can’t see to get down. And that was ok, your mom thanked her, and scolded you in front of her, because they were all our parents.

    • Shelley on June 3, 2012 at 11:41

      I miss weeping willows, there is something very romantic about them. How about kickball and dodgeball; tag; hide-and-go-seek after dark with flashlights; kick the can; walking to/from school slogging through the snow and dripping wet the rest of the day; but what I really loved were all the imagination games played alone or with others, it didn’t really matter.

    • Pauline on June 3, 2012 at 13:11

      Used to go off to the swimming pool on my own and meet my friends there. Or went off to the park and played on the swings, trying to go as high as possible, then the round-about and see-saw. Lots of cartwheels and walking on hands upside down. I was afraid of the dark at night, but pretty much nothing else during the day. My mom worked and after school my gran took care of us, we enjoyed a lot of freedom and didn’t get ‘clobbered’ by the news and fear like we do now.

    • Shelley on June 3, 2012 at 14:44

      Oh! Cartwheels! I should try them again!

      Thanks, Richard, for a girl’s moment of remembering….

    • Kate Ground on June 3, 2012 at 17:43

      Yes, thanks, Richard! For a trip down memory lane. I a tally did a cartwheel recently…about 5 years ago…HA. I even took a hip,hop class, but my knees gave out. Yes, we are showing our age. Glad to see so many “tomboys” here. (always disliked that name….)

  7. Sean on June 1, 2012 at 13:16

    Richard, I’m getting really sick of your misogynism. Fuck off, you cunt. Why do you hate women?

    BTW, A Christmas Story is one of the greatest flicks of all time.

    “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2012 at 13:36

      Yea, when I Googled for kids in bunny suits there were lots more pathetic, but that one is just so damned pathetic and if you recall the movie, pure gold.

      Indeed one of my Favorite movies, though I think my favorite scene has to be The Major Award.

      Although, it’s very hard to beat ‘fa ra ra ra ra.’ which reminds me, my Koren friend Robert puts up that leg lamp every year, complete with the box, stamped Fragile (frageelay).

    • rob on June 1, 2012 at 15:59

      I’ve been waiting for a chance to use the term “cock-juggling thunder-cunt” and then he has to go and do a post about little girls dressed as cavewomen, took the wind right out of my sails.

    • Kate Ground on June 3, 2012 at 06:29

      Must we use the “c” word when there are children in the room? A Christmas Story…required viewing for those our age.

  8. LadySadie on June 1, 2012 at 14:33

    We had so much fun with this, especially Zoe…I want to share this story about the event:

    One of the spectators commented on what a “ham” Zoe was being (she always knows where the cameras are at). Without skipping a beat, she replied, “No, it’s not ham, it’s sheepskin!”

    (Oh, child…face::palm.)

    • Shelley on June 1, 2012 at 15:10

      I’m not the type of mom who writes everything down in a baby book, but there are really times now that I wish I had. They say the most precious things and I thought I would always remember those fleeting moments.

      Sometimes I wish they’d never grow up! …..and then other times….

    • Kate Ground on June 2, 2012 at 15:54

      Nicely said. I look back on mine and realize I missed so much, just busy raising them. They say, “Mom, do you remember this, do you remember that?” No, I don’t. But what I do remember is sweet. And I have grand babies to dote over.

  9. Tom Parker on June 1, 2012 at 15:09

    Nice job, Richard. Cave girls rock! (And Blue Rapids might never be the same…)

    • LadySadie on June 2, 2012 at 06:56

      Tom, your pictures and writing are awesome!

    • Shelley on June 2, 2012 at 08:21

      Sadie, I agree, great photos and great writing. Now, I have another book to add to my collection of books in need of being read. I’ve never been to Kansas, but, Tom, you sure changed any preconceived ideas I may have had. The older I get, the more I want to run to a small town with some land to roam (and I already live in a fairly small town).

  10. marie on June 1, 2012 at 20:11

    I’m glad you put this up early, the suspense was killing me, but it was so worth it.
    Congratulations Sadie, what a Lady!

  11. Sean on June 2, 2012 at 04:10

    Aside from the snark I forgot to mention those are awesome pics, Ms Sadie, and some beautiful daughters you have there.

    Keep up the good work.

  12. […] for kids (the woman who's the inspiration for that—here too—will have a guest post here […]

  13. […] Prepare for outrage, because that's the unabashed reason behind this "guest post." Actually, it's a hybrid, because I'll be adding plenty of follow up after her part of it. Sadie sue Saunders is a longtime reader, longtime supporter, and was actually the subject of a couple of other blog posts—one of which was included in version 2.0 of my book. See here, and here. […]

  14. […] of reader, commenter, post contributor, and 41-yr young mother of three (here and here, too), "SSS." It was taken by a local professional photographer with an interest in expanding her […]

  15. Common Traits In Women? on April 18, 2018 at 19:19

    […] above and I thought it worthwhile to share with readers. Some of you from way back might remember Sue and her three cave girls I blogged about. We have an update post on that planned soon, the cave girls six years later and man are you not […]

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