Friday, June 29, 2007

pondering scary and sexy

I was talking with my good friend Sara yesterday as she travels down through California on a road trip with whom I refer to as "the perfect fit, awesomeness that is Trevor". Actually, I have never referred to him as that, but I should. He is the yin to her yang or maybe she is the yin and he the yang or maybe I should not use references to cultural icons that I have no knowledge of. But I digress. It is a quite simply an easy thing to watch, the two of them that is.

At this point you may be wondering, so is Sara scary or sexy and what does that leave Trevor with? The title is not about them. The title refers to Sara and my conversation about Disney of all things. Yes it has been said that cartoons are disproportionately drawn. Saying it does not change what it is. Yes many a mother has worried that seeing one too many villain will call their children from there own mini bed smack in the middle of mom and dad for nights on end. Yes it has been dually noted that children should be de-briefed about what may be too much, either scary or sexy or too much potty humor for that matter. And yes it has been said that maybe children should not see such movies at all. Our conversation revolved mostly about men. Yes, men. I am not a male-basher by any means. I love the men in my life. I have the worlds best husband. I do not say that loosely. He really is. There is a number (do not ask me what it is) of times that something is said by a parallel number of people that it transitions from mere opinion to fact. An example; Tony is the worlds best husband. I have a dad that loves me, always has, and that is all I ask for. I have a terrific brother who is a great listener and is incredibly funny. I have Aidan who is teaching me about boys and how all of their odd intricacies evolve into masculine qualities that we find humor and frustration with.

Hopefully, I have prefaced this enough not to offend the whole male population, but I came to a revelation while talking with Sara. She had mentioned how scary Disney can be. And yes, scanning the list, the best stories have an element of fear or villain to elicit excitement. But as her sister Lisa had noted, one of the common ways to scare children is to eliminate the mom. Nemo, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, to name a few, kill off the mother. Yes these are fairy tales, just stories, I know. But what does that say about moms that the ultimate pain to a child is to kill her off? Are men responsible for this? Is this an expression of insecurity from Dads? Does this engage fathers more, or children more? What is the purpose of this particular scare factor?

As for the sex factor, we concluded that this is how Disney ropes dads in to spend 118 minutes with their children and have something to talk about afterward. Hopefully they are not spending their de-briefing time discussing cup size to waist size ratios, but it will help solidify the events in the visually stimulated half of the species. Because, really, IS there a need to have female characters depicted in this unattainable way? Really? What scientifically supported benefit does it have to children? Granted my claims are not science, they are just thoughts, ponderings if you will to possibly build a hypothesis.

Mulan is the exception that proves the rule. She has not only a mother who is happily fulfilling the role, but a grandmother as well who cares for her. She is even one of the most memorable characters. Mulan is a heroin, albeit covertly as a hero. Mulan is not stacked like the other sexy princesses and you may notice is not usually included in all the Princess merchandising. Few shirts, backpacks, tea sets, birthday party balloons (and the list goes on) include her. But Mulan is a great movie. It does have excitement, intrigue, examples of determination, humor, sacrifice and even love. It is a fantastic movie, but rarely the number one pick of children. Again, something to ponder.

Now I do not think men are completely at fault. However I do believe blame originates with men and possibly it is a biological thing not a psychological thing. It is then perpetuated by women (and our baggage). Is there a solution? Will I never again allow Aidan and Nadia to watch Disney? Will I create my own paper cutouts to cover the endowed bodies and dance them across the screen during the movie? Will I bleep out the potty humor with loud renditions of 'When the Saints Go Marching In'? Will I lie about the whereabouts of the moms to ease their fears? Will I cancel our trip to Disney World next year? Will I never again sing and dance to 'Under the Sea"? Of course not. But I will continue to be aware, not to hound the negatives but to stress the positives of literature and film with BOTH Aidan and Nadia. Hopefully, there will continue to be shift in awareness and we will have more Mulans in our future.

Ponder on!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Comments and more

Please feel free to comment on my blathering-ons of crazy or boring thoughts. I would love for this to be a reciprocal forum rather than just reading my own thoughts each day.

Today is a beautiful day. I feel like I have really committed to this silly town. For those that know me really well know that this is a really step for me. I usually have some itch for a move up my sleeve. Commitment to a place is my only real commitment-a-phobia. I have always imagined living in a big city or have researched relocating to a far away place or researched living overseas for a new adventure. I found adventure right in my own backyard! I went to the public library and got a card. Sounds simple enough. Again, if you know me, you will know that I do not feel comfortable doing new things by myself. I had to give myself a serious peptalk this morning. I mindlessly picked the phone up several times to invite people so I didn't have to 'go it alone'. I had to make conscious decisions to put it down before I dialed. Wow. I did not realize how deep rooted my inhibitions go. But I did it! I also registered the munchkins for the summer reading program. Ahh, more commitment! I am actually looking forward to reading 15 hours with them! We went to craft time and I can not possibly describe the creative talents of my mini-DaVinci's. I am very proud! I am just a smidge embarrassed that I too joined in and quickly developed some elaborate plan for my lion mask, only to be blocked by limited resources. It had real potential to be one of the best card stock and tissue paper masks I have ever made. There is always next week! I encourage all of you to look around your area for fun and free activities. They also serve free lunch at the park across the street. I will really have to work up to that one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

To my sister

I have struggled the past few weeks with what to say to you, knowing that I 'should' say nothing and that I 'should' just listen and that I 'should' just stay out of it. I have never been very good at 'should'. What I want you to know is that I believe in you. I know you will do what is best for you, Lane and Kaid. You always have. I know that making these decisions are tough and I know you are struggling too. I also know that coming to what ever decision it is will take time, and I am trying to be patient and not pressure you. Just know this, OK? We all believe in you. You are in many ways the center of this family. I know that is the burden of the middle child, but you do keep us connected. That is not a string to pull you back, it is merely a statement that hopefully will tell you that we care about you. I love you and can not wait to see you again. Please take care of yourself.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lesson learned little man

I told myself that I wouldn't spend my blogging bragging about my children, but since they are the biggest part of my life why wouldn't I have a lot to say about them? I will undoubtedly have many posts about their achievements and amazement and I am sure about my frustrations with them and my only request is that you do not take me too seriously. What I am really asking is, what mother does not think her child is some sort of genius, or devil child for that matter, at some point in time and need to vent a little?

Yesterday, Tony, the kids and I were on our way back from our weekly trip to Costco and Aidan says, "what is 10 times 10?" This game of quizzing our math skills has been a real hoot, let me tell you. Honestly, I try to have patience for his little learning brain. I try to explain the concept of a zero for the 13th time without a tinge of annoyance in my voice. I try to not cringe when I hear counting, to 100, again, but by 2's, or 5's or yes even 10's. I try to fain some sort of enjoyment when I hear the joke, "I can count to a hundred, watch, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 100" followed by a round of giggles by him and by Nadia. I try not to groan when I think about Aidan teaching Nadia the same skills reminding me that time will push repeat in about 20 months. I try NOT to think of my own neurotic counting of steps, stairs, seconds or even ceiling tiles. But this time when Tony and I pretended not to hear him, (yes the guilt rages on), and there is 30 seconds of quiet (because I was probably counting myself) followed by, "it's 100!" I did not have to pretend to be interested or pleased or proud. Poor Aidan, again the teacher not just a student. This little math hurdle was followed by my own question.
"how did you know that?"
"I counted"
Lesson learned, Aidan. I will be interested, pleased and proud of the steps along the way.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Day 1 . . .

The stage is mine! I have you cornered. There is no escape, because like me, you are one of those rubber-neckers that backs up traffic. You are witnessing a trainwreck and you can't turn your eyes away.

Ok, maybe not a trainwreck, but I am sure something in here will come back to bite me in my proverbial buttocks.

So here goes.

My life story.

Where to begin?

Ummmmm. Let me see here.

Now that I have all of these listeners I have nothing to say. My teenage motto was, "I can talk talk talk talk talk talk talk". This motto was particularly useful when people would tell me to be quiet and in my ultra-mature 12-year old mind this catchy retort made sense. I did not, scratch that, do not like being told what to do. I would continue on talking, about nothing, until I chose to stop. Oh, how defiant I was.

Only now, I feel all talked out.