The first painting I ever wanted to attempt on a child-centric theme was to be inspired by J.M. Barrie's original Peter Pan. The effect of reading the book, however, was to sweep clean the space in my head that had been condescendingly roped off for "child-appropriate amusements". Childhood is dark, and the best part of Barrie's vision is his casual acceptance of this: “Off we skip like the most heartless things in the world, which is what children are, but so attractive; and we have an entirely selfish time, and then when we have need of special attention we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be rewarded instead of smacked.”
I imagined a reunion in which Wendy, now a dental assistant, takes care of a pointed tooth compromised by, oh, decades of sweets or maybe a glancing dagger. By this act Wendy is essentially defanging Peter, and the scenario becomes—whether I like it or not—a metaphor for his perpetual prepubescence in the face of her adult experience. You can't stop the moving train of subtext.