In which I’m late to the party, but still have things to say.

I’m probably one of the last people in my circle of friends to’ve seen Frozen.  That’s cool, I’m used to it.  For the last 10 years, the only movies I’ve seen in the theatre have had Harry Potter or The Hobbit in the title, or were Quentin Tarantino films.  I’m fine with that, really.

So, Saturday Frozen came out on DVD and my dad got it for the kids.  My 8y/o got it set up upstairs and we had a snack/movie time combo wherein we watched and ate popcorn on the couch instead of our usual snacktime at the table.  The 3y/o was incredibly good for the majority of the movie, shoving popcorn into my mouth because she was sure I was hungry.  It was a lovely late morning/early afternoon.

Over the last several years, it’s become a bit of a custom in our house for me to have the imdb app open on my phone when we watch something for the first time (I know, it is for many of you, too) so that I can read them the trivia or answer who voices certain characters.

I also read the reviews, which is a bad idea as frequently they’re of little use and are essentially longwinded YouTube comments, y’know?

Anyway, this time I read a handful of reviews and ended up ragequitting the app.  Let me tell you why.

(If you’re also tardy to the Frozen party, there will be some spoilery talk from this point on.)

First of all, I read this review:

Once again we have sit through another politically correct, contrived work that Hollywood and it’s biased writers produce these days as comedy and amusement. Once again we have the females at the fore, that in itself I do not have a problem with.

What does stand out in this entire piece of sexist, male-bashing indoctrinating piece of work is the endless, unrelenting “Male-Bashing”. This has got to be the worst so far. If this attitude increases any further, why do they bother writing in any male characters at all because all they do is hold them up to ridicule, abuse (The princess smacks a male just for fun).

Just about every action undertaken by any male in the obnoxious animation is loaded, no, flooded with endless bumbling and incompetent behavior that could only ever be generated by a staff of writers who have determined and specifically designed that entire movie to display and promote it.

Surely we should see the END of this unrelenting and viscous male-bashing that Hollywood has now enshrined into every movie those biased bigots now generate. Surely seeing your Father or Brother of Grandfather being continuously made to look a complete fool is way beyond a joke. It’s viscous, biased, sexist and downright unforgivable. Please vote accordingly. I gave this movie a ONE for that reason. It is sickening.

 

Now, this makes me angry for several reasons.  I have sons (three of them) and two of them watched Frozen with me.  One (the 8y/o) thought it was effing amazing.  He was singing along to Let It Go during the closing credits and asked if we could watch the full length versions of the songs on the videos that were in the Special Features.  He is typically a very boy’s boy sort.  He loves playing racing games and Halo with his older brother.  He’s usually asking for NERF guns for his birthdays now, and all of this is fine.

The 7y/o, on the other hand, thought quite a bit of it was scary. He enjoyed the songs, but was worried when he thought Elsa was turning into the villain.  This is not a startling thought for him to have, as Disney movies frequently portray a woman as the villain of the piece.  He is also into NERF guns and superheroes (my kingdom for the chance to never have to sit through a Toby Maguire Spider-Man movie ever again), but is equally into Lalaloopsy and having tea parties with his little sister.

My point in mentioning these things is to let you know that at no point did my male children feel like this movie was “bashing” them by virtue of having been born with a penis.

IN FACT, the scene the “reviewer” above is mentioning was this one:

 

anna punches hans

And ALL THREE of my kids that were watching the movie cheered along with me.  My 3y/o daughter said “HE GOT A KNUCKLE SANDWICH!” and the 7y/o replied “He sure did.  He deserved it!”

Because he did.  Hans so totally deserved that knuckle sandwich, and I’m glad that even though we don’t advocate violence in our house, they realize that HE was the actual villain of the story (and it was a delightful instance of throwing the usual tropes on their heads, something we don’t typically see in Disney films) and that he should be lucky he got off with just a punch in the nose.

Now, as troubling as I found the above review, I can understand it.  There will always be men out there who think that a strong woman is all about making men look bad.  There are also women who subscribe to the same theory, but whatever.

What I found even more bothersome, which actually had me so upset I was close to crying were the several reviews written by women who knocked stars off their total because ELSA DOESN’T END THE MOVIE WITH A MAN.

But one could even forgive Frozen this, if it wasn’t hindered by a second missed opportunity: It doesn’t give Elsa a love interest, no prince to win her heart, no man to love, who would love her back.

and

It was a huge missed opportunity on the part of Frozen not to give Elsa a love story. Nothing in the world could have been more beautiful than if this character, who spends a lifetime (not to mention most of the movie) utterly alone, would have finally found romantic love. It could have been “the most beautiful love story ever told,” if a prince had finally begun to see past her dangerous side, helped her realize her goodness of heart, and shown her the romantic love that she’s been denied her whole life (which, at the age of 21, would be an aching longing for her indeed).

wait what mal

I don’t…

I srsly can’t even with this.  Here I was all excited and applaudy because we’ve got another Disney princess (like Merida) who doesn’t need a man/relationship to make her happy, and people are complaining about it.  Aren’t we supposed to be teaching our daughters that they don’t NEED a relationship to be happy and fulfilled?  Aren’t we supposed to be letting them know that the keys to their happiness lie inside?

Then why are we getting all pissy cos a princess ends a movie happy on her own?

 

111 years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable Hobbits.

d with Dave

My grandmother passed away 10 years ago this month.  Her memorial service was held at the church she’d worked at for most of her adult life, and it was the first time my whole family had been together since my grandfather had passed away 10 years before that.

The night before the service, we’d all gone out for dinner, then spent a few hours walking around San Diego’s Gaslamp District.  At some point, someone (either my aunt or my dad) had purchased a stuffed dragon for my oldest son.

He’s obsessed with dragons, has been since he was super tiny.

The next day, we had the memorial, then went to the gravesite to watch my grandmother’s ashes be placed next to my grandfather’s, then we all went out to lunch before beginning our individual long trips home.

My uncle P. thinks he’s a jokester.  My oldest did not have much of a sense of humour (he would FLIP OUT if anyone dared to tell him he was being silly), so he was an easy target for P.’s shenanigans.  P. had been teasing my oldest (then only) about his new dragon all day.

“Oh, that’s not a dragon, that looks like a giraffe!”

etc.

Someone decided it would be a good idea to sit them next to each other for lunch.

Everyone was eating and laughing and talking about my grandmother.  It was a good time.

Until my son realized that his brand new dragon was missing.

He got up from his seat and started searching frantically.

Finally, he turned to P. and asked “Uncle P., have you seen my dragon?”

P. smirked.

“What, you mean that crocodile you’ve been carrying around?”

“Uncle P., it’s a dragon.  Can I have it, please?”

“Oh, that green panda?  Nope, haven’t seen it.”

I watched and listened, growing slightly concerned, but mostly wanting to see how this would play out.

Oldest boy asked several times and Uncle P.’s responses grew even more ridiculous.

Finally, my son says in a quiet voice:

“Give me back my dragon, you bastard.”

He then glanced at me and added “Please.”

I gasped.  I shrieked “OHMIGAWD, WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!”

“I SAID.  Give.  Me.  Back.  My.  Dragon.  You.  Bastard.”

“Please.”

The table was suddenly full of adults trying not to laugh and one incredibly irate four year old.

Uncle P. handed him back his dragon and I asked where he learned that word.

(I don’t swear in front of my kids, never have.  So I should have known the answer that was coming.)

He points at my dad and says “PopPop.  He said it last night.”

At that point the entire table and MOST of the surrounding restaurant dissolved into giggles.

…and my uncle is forever now referred to as Uncle Dragon Bastard.

*

Happy 14th birthday to my oldest.  What better way to celebrate than by sharing my favourite story of you as a child?  I have a difficult time reconciling the young man you’ve become with the little boy you were, but you make me smile in hundreds of ways every day.  I love that you share my love of all things bookish and my loathing of Peter Jackson.  I love that you go out of your way to make me laugh with clever wordplay and that you always apologize when you’ve been a little jerk.  I love you even though you’re taller than me (SIX FEET TALL ALREADY, WTF?) and you have better hair than I could have ever hoped to have.  I love that you’ve always been able to use words in their proper context after hearing them once, and I love you in spite of the fact that you’re now 14 and make me want to tear my hair out.

I love you.

Threatening PJ and wearing a What Would Brian Do? tee shirt?  Yeah, he's my kid.

Threatening PJ and wearing a “What Would Brian Do?” tee shirt? Yeah, he’s my kid.

“I Know You Don’t Have a Spaceship!”

Mornings suck.  And not just in the general “Oh, I only got 4 hours of sleep last night and now I’m expected to actually DO things” sort of way.

Coffee, Y U NO WERK?  We aren't best friends anymore.

Coffee, Y U NO WERK? We aren’t best friends anymore.

When you have kids, every morning is an effing adventure.  And not in the “Yeah, BOLDLY GOING AND NEW, EXCITING, REALLY WILD THINGS!” sort of way.  In the “Oh.  My.  Word.  Can someone just kill me now so I don’t have to do this again?” sort of way.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m fully aware this story will make me sound like a terrible parent, okay?  But I’m past the point of caring, and I’m kind of hoping I managed to nip this in the bud this morning.

The worst part of every morning (for me) isn’t struggling with getting them fed or dressed (although those are ALSO the worst sort of adventures), it’s listening to them talk about their dreams.

Inorite?  Shitty mom right here!

But seriously.  The 6y/o is kind of the worst.  Every day (EVERY! DAY!) he gets up, and walks out of his room like Charlie Brown (I can HEAR the sad music playing, but that may just be because I’m humming it to myself) then tells me how he slept HORRIBLY and had THE WORST dreams.

Yup.  Like this.

Yup. Like this.

Not just one dream, NO!  My hyperbole prone 6y/o can’t just ever sleep through the night and have ONE BAD DREAM.  Nuh uh, not this kid.

Nope, he has FIVE – NO, SIX! bad dreams every night.

And in each one, he dies.

Now, before anyone gets on my case about his dreams, let me tell you right now that he’s making them up.  I think it should be obvious to anyone who has kids that this is the age where they take a lot of pleasure out of testing you and seeing just how gullible you actually are.  He’s testing me.  Seeing which buttons he can press.  Testing the waters to see how long before mommy finally screams “ENOUGH, I KNOW YOU’RE MAKING THIS UP CAN WE JUST STOP PRETENDING?!”

Which I haven’t done yet.  But I’m close.

Which brings us to this morning.

USUALLY his dreams revolve around being stung, bitten or eaten by a hornet, spider or snake/shark (OOOOH, A SNAKESHARK!  Get on that, SyFy!).  This morning, though, he came out all dejected and doing his Charlie Brown walk and when I asked him what was wrong this time, he said he was worried about what would happen to us when the sun goes nova.

Mommy.  I’m worried that when it happens and the sun explodes that I will be dead forever.  FOREVER.  I don’t like the idea of being dead forever.

So I asked him who’d given him the idea of the sun going nova while he was still alive and before he could answer, the 13y/o shouts up from downstairs (where he was reading on the couch) -

I DID, but I ALSO TOLD HIM that it wasn’t going to happen for thousands of years and that he doesn’t have to worry about it!

So I asked him if that was what had happened, and he nodded yes.  I asked him if he understood that he probably wasn’t still going to be alive ANYWAY when this eventually happens, and he nodded yes.

But, mommy.  What if I am?  Dead FOREVER.  Do you understand the FOREVER part?!

So I took him on my lap, and tried to explain to him that we don’t have to worry about it right now, and made up some crap about making sure we all get on a spaceship to save our family if IT DOES happen, which SHOULD HAVE made him happy.

But then he started sobbing.

YOU’RE JUST MAKING THIS UP, I KNOW YOU DON’T HAVE A SPACESHIP!

Although I wouldn't mind it if he called me "poppet."  Just sayin'.

Although I wouldn’t mind it if he called me “poppet.” Just sayin’.

At this point I just wanted him to eat his breakfast and go downstairs to get started on his schoolwork, so I told him that maybe I don’t have a spaceship right now, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t EVENTUALLY have a spaceship (because I WILL, DAMNIT) – and then I proceeded to tell him how/why I’d have said spaceship, and may have borrowed heavily from the plots of Earth 2 and Earthseed (speaking of Earthseed, if any of you find a copy of this book for me, I will love you forever), but without the scary Tim Curry bits (because I didn’t want to make the situation WORSE, you understand that, right?) and with more general “Man, living in space is going to be THE MOST AWESOME!” stuff thrown in.

I think he bought it.

Maybe not, though – because I made the mistake of mentioning the Golgafrincham Ark B and the Space Goat.

OOPS.

Does anyone else have plans for when the sun goes nova?  Who wants to join me on my spaceship?  Anyone else have to deal with “I had TWENTY, NO THIRTY DREAMS LAST NIGHT!” situation?  How do you handle it?

Not So Bah Humbug

I always do what Heather tells me.

Okay, not always.  And this wasn’t even directed at me, specifically, but I know her and she’s very sneaky about getting what she wants…so it probably WAS directed at me, but she won’t ever come right out and say that.  Because that’s how she is.  Except for when she’s not.

So, by now I’m sure you’re all wondering just what I’m on about.

If you’re not already following the fabulously talented Heather D, pop on over to her blog today and read what she’s got to say about getting into the Christmas Spirit.

Now, I’m never full of holiday cheer (see last year’s post on the subject here) so, frankly, trying to come up with something for #6 on Heather’s list has had me in minor panic mode all day.

If you’re too lazy to click over there, this is what I’m referring to:

6) Share your memories. I love to talk about favorite Christmas memories. Bringing back the magic of my childhood warms my heart. Find someone to share your stories with, and listen to theirs. In fact, what I want most for Christmas is for my friends and loved ones to write out their favorite memories for me.

I had a mini-meltdown (they happen frequently when I’m sick) trying to come up with happy Christmas memories.  I don’t have many from my childhood, which is probably one of the myriad reasons I don’t care for this time of year.

See?  Magic.

See? Magic.

I almost decided to talk about the few years that we had season passes to Disneyland when my boys were younger, because the Magic Kingdom truly is magical in the winter, but passed that by in favour of a different story.

I’m warning you, now, though, it starts out a little sad.

5 or so years ago, I lost my job the week before Christmas.

At the time, my husband was recovering from an injury he’d received while on the job, and mine was our only income.  He stayed home with the kids, and I had a really good job that I’d been at for close to 6 years, but there were issues that I don’t need to go into here and now that led to my being fired right before the holidays.

Strangely for us, we’d already gone a bit overboard for Christmas that year.  We don’t generally go all out, but this year we had.  Most of the gifts we’d purchased ended up being returned or exchanged for their less elaborate counterparts.

I was totally distraught.  I’d been expecting to have a great Christmas (for once, something better than what I’d grown up with) and even though I’m usually not a commercial BUY ALL THE THINGS, BUY THEIR LOVE! type of parent, I’d wanted my boys to have ONE YEAR where they actually got the things they’d asked Santa for, damnit.

Anyway.  Fast forward to Christmas morning.

The oldest, of course, ripped into everything and exclaimed how much he loved everything (but this is the kid that was excited for receiving a BIG TUBE! one year, because he didn’t even think to look INSIDE the tube).

The littlies were mostly enthusiastic about the paper (smallest boy was only a little over a year old at the time)…until middle son opened what was LITERALLY the last thing purchased and wrapped.

A box of crayons and some colouring books.

He started colouring immediately.  He spent the ENTIRE DAY in his chair with his “colours” and didn’t want to eat or take a nap.  He just wanted to colour.

I’d been in tears the night before, not only because of the stress of losing my job, but because I felt like a crappy parent that couldn’t do anything nice for her kids for the holidays.  Watching his excitement and intensity with what amounted to a $3 gift is what brought me out of my holiday depression that day.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly down at this time of year, I look at this picture of him and remember how very little it takes to make him happy.

And then I try to be more like him.

You’ll get nothing and like it.

This is the kid that did “kung fu moves” while decorating the tree last year.

Me:  Hey, we should write letters to Santa, shouldn’t we?

6y/o:  YES!  Here’s a pen!

Me:  No, I meant you should write it.

6y/o:  Santa can’t read my handwriting.  You write for me, please?

Me:  Well, since you said please.

Me:  Okay, how do you want to open this?  You can’t just say “Bring me ALL THE THINGS!”  Santa likes it if you’re polite when you’re asking him for things.

6y/o:  I don’t think Santa cares about that.

Me:  …

6y/o:  Just in case.

Me:  Wait, don’t you think “very good” is a bit of a stretch?

6y/o:  Are you saying I HAVEN’T BEEN VERY GOOD?  MOMMY!

Me:  No, I’m just saying that might be overkill.  Also, “please bring me-”

6y/o:  Mommy, you can write your own letter.  This is mine, okay?

Me:  Fine.

Me:  Wait, like those web shooters you got a few years ago for your birthday that ended up ALL OVER the ceiling fan?

6y/o:  Yes.  Those were the best.  Tell Santa I want 2.

Me:  I think that’s implied by “shooterS,” don’t you?

6y/o:  Yeah, I guess.

Me:  Okay, what else?

6y/o:  A new Spongebob punching bag.  Since [7y/o] BIT A HOLE IN MY LAST ONE.

Me:  Are you trying to get [7y/o] in trouble with Santa?

6y/o:  NO!  …  Okay, maybe.

Me:  How about we just write a new punching bag?

6y/o:  Okay, but I don’t want Spongebob anymore.

Me:  All right, what next, dude?

6y/o:  I want a remote control car that has REAL working headlights.

6y/o:  Mommy!  That doesn’t say REAL.

Me:  No, I know, but Santa will figure it out.

6y/o:  I don’t think he will.

Me:  Will you trust me on this?  Which one of us knows Santa?

6y/o:  [dubious glare]

Me:  Come on, can we finish this up, please?

6y/o:  Fine.

6y/o:  No.  I said TOY STORY 2.  I don’t see a 2 there.

Me:  You know, if you wrote this yourself, you wouldn’t have to worry about me getting it right.

6y/o:  No, I guess that’s okay.  Will Santa know that Toy Story 2 is my favourite?

Me:  Of course he will!

6y/o:  Okay.

Me:  What?  You don’t even WATCH that show anymore!

6y/o:  I know but [sister] does!  If I ask Santa for something that is for HER then he’ll bring me more stuff because I’m being so nice.

Me:  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way, bud.

6y/o:  Too late, you already wrote it!

Me:  [sigh]  What else?

Me:  Dude.  I’m pretty sure if Santa brings you that, you won’t be getting much else.

6y/o:  I know, that’s why I asked for a bunch of little things first.  If the thing I want the most is last, that’s what Santa ALWAYS BRINGS.

Me:  You’re too tricksy for your own good.

6y/o:  I know, I am the BEST at letters to Santa!

Is anyone else already tired of the holidays?