The Kids Are Actually Cute

Battle of the Bad Guys: Hans vs. Gaston

Posted on Apr 3, 2016 in My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

Battle of the Bad Guys: Hans vs. Gaston 0

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that Elisabeth was home sick a few weeks ago. During her quarantine we watched Frozen approximately 1,359 times. Eventually I convinced her to try a new film – one of my childhood favorites – Beauty and the Beast.

A few hours after the viewing Elisabeth announced, “I think Hans is badder than Gaston.”

“No way!” I immediately replied. “Gaston is way badder.”

Then I paused. Was Gaston truly “badder” than Hans? With Gaston’s violent attack on the heartbroken Beast still fresh on my mind, he had seemed the obvious answer. Perhaps too obvious. I had to probe further.

“Why do you think Hans is badder than Gaston?” I asked Elisabeth, opening up a deeply philosophical discussion on the nature of evil with my four-year-old.

“BECAUSE THE DUNGEONS!”

Ah, yes. The dungeons. That explained everything.

Yet, the question still nagged me. Who is the viler of villains? Why did I automatically assume Gaston was worse? Clearly, I needed to dig into this.

At the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is established as the antagonist. He’s a narcissistic brute; anyone who brags about his chest hair is a total bro, amiright? The arrogant clown assumes he will easily woo the bookwormish but beautiful Belle, whom he only wants because she’s the prettiest girl in town. He doesn’t even respect her! What a D-bag. So we get it. Gaston is a sleazy scumbag. Sleazy, but not evil.

Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely

Meanwhile Hans enters Frozen as the clumsily charming Prince of the Southern Isles. Anna falls for him right away. He’s handsome, kind, funny… What’s not to like? (Also, she hasn’t had any other human contact besides the castle staff for most of her life, so it kind of makes sense she would fall for the first guy she meets.) That he proposed within hours of meeting Anna is kind of a red flag, but Hans just gets her, you know?

Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely

Back to Gaston. Rejected by Belle, he plots to blackmail her into marrying him by imprisoning her quirky (but not crazy) father in an insane asylum. Here we start to see Gaston evolving from Buffoon to Bad Dude. Soon he realizes that Belle has feelings for the beast and his frail ego just can’t handle it. In a jealousy-induced rage, he LOCKS BELLE AND HER FATHER IN A CELLAR, USES FEAR MONGERING TO RILE UP AN ANGRY MOB, AND CHARGES THE BEAST’S CASTLE TO KILL HIM. What did the Beast ever do to him? Steal his woman? Not a good reason to turn into a murderous thug.

Now back to Hans. Hans continues through Frozen as the noble prince, seeking to help his beloved Anna help the misunderstood Elsa restore summer to Arendelle. Of course, it’s really an evil plot to take over the kingdom. As the youngest of thirteen brothers, marrying Anna is his only chance at power. (Side note: This would be way more realistic if he were the sixth or seventh brother, because everyone knows it’s the middle children with these kinds of issues.)

Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely

So, yeah. Hans was pretty evil the entire time. Gaston only turned evil toward the end of the movie. Does length of time as villain equal worse villain? I’m not so sure. Hans was a mastermind of deceit throughout his film, but it’s unclear if he would have turned to murder had his original plan had been executed properly. Gaston, however, set out to kill an innocent creature – even after that innocent creature spared his life.

Let’s check out their malicious motives: Sex and Power.  Gaston wanted a hot baby mama and goes dark when he doesn’t get what he wants. (Note to Gaston – the girl who spends all her time in the library is probably not your best bet for trophy wife.) Hans wanted to reign over an entire kingdom. Which is worse? Er… Probably depends on who is reading, so I’ll leave that one up to you.

I’d say at this point, it’s a draw. Really, it comes down to a numbers game. As in, number of attempted murders:

Gaston: 1 – One Beast

Hans: 2 – TWO ORPHANED SISTERS.

Yeah. Hans is way worse. No contest.

This was apparently way more obvious to my four-year-old than to me. When I revisited the question of who was “badder” and why, Elisabeth stuck with her original answer of Hans. “Because he was trying to kill both of them. Anna and Elsa.”

“What about Gaston?” I asked.

“He was just trying to kill the beast.” Duh, Mom!

Seriously. Hans is so obviously the more evil of the two. How had I missed that? Had I been swayed by Hans’ wit, charm, and love of sandwiches? Did his appearance of chivalrous nobility, however false, obscure his deeply rooted malevolence? Did the fact that Hans merely got punched in the nose and sent back to his brothers as punishment for his transgressions, while Gaston plummeted to his death, signal to me that Gaston was worse? (Yes.)

Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely

Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely

Now, how Hans stacks up to other Disney villains remains undetermined. If we’re to bring lady villains into the mix, my gut says Ursula might take the cake – manipulation, deception, and, you know, slavery. But that’s a blog for another day.

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A Look Back at 2015

Posted on Jan 1, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute, Travel Traumas

A Look Back at 2015 1

Hello, Friends. This blog has not seen much action this year.  Mainly, because of this rascal: I’d love to write more, and hopefully will in the upcoming months. In the meantime, this post is my attempt to recap everything I would have blogged about this past year had I had the mental capacity to do so. Here it is, 2015 in one blog post: January: The stressful end of 2014 – unending remodel, constantly sick kids, overworked husband, extreme lack of sleep, etc. – continued on into January, but things slowly turned up. The remodel wrapped up, we sort-of sleep-trained James (though it didn’t quite take), we began to settle into a routine. Now that James is a walking, running, climbing little boy, it’s hard to imagine that just a year ago he was still a baby, but it’s true, and this month saw him teething and cruising (or, the beginning of the end for me.) February: Snow, snow, snow. School closures, school closures, school closures. I don’t know if Elisabeth saw the inside of her classroom that month. Instead, she watched a lot of Frozen. I’m a good parent.  I also had an unfortunate incident in a Trader Joe’s parking lot involving my Toyota Highlander, a pole, and a personal injury lawyer’s BMW. Can we talk for a second about how it’s like a requirement that every Trader Joe’s has the worst parking lot in the city? Seriously. Every. Single. One. Anyway, moral of the story is don’t go to a Trader Joe’s on a holiday the day before a massive snowstorm.     Oh, we did have an exceptionally beautifully warm and sunny day in the early month that happened to coincide with our wildly successful housewarming party. Win! March: March was a good month. Mainly because I stopped nursing James. If you read my blog last year, you may remember I basically ate birdseed for the majority of his infancy due to his allergic colitis. Well, that sucked, and he and I were both hungry all the time. So I began eating cheese again and he...

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Seek and Destroy: Everything My Toddler Son Would Rather Do Than Read

Posted on Aug 30, 2015 in My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

Seek and Destroy: Everything My Toddler Son Would Rather Do Than Read 2

My daughter loves to read. She always has. As a baby, she would sit contentedly on my lap looking at board books. As a toddler, she would page through her stories for an hour at a time, if I let her. (Of course I let her. An uninterrupted hour to myself? Heck, yeah!) Even though she cruelly gave up naps weeks before my son was born, I could at least rely on her to read to herself during a mandatory quiet time. It was – and continues to be – my saving grace.   I thought James would inherit this love of books. As usual, I was wrong.  The kid has zero interest in reading. Like, none. I am partially to blame. I was far too tired to read to him as a baby like I did with Elisabeth. Perhaps I missed the opportunity to instill a love of literature in him. I’ve surely stunted his future academic achievement as there is no way he hears the recommended 30,000 words/day necessary to ensure literary and language success. Unless hearing, “Stop!” or, “No!”, or “That oven is hot!” over and over 30,000 times counts, in which case he’ll be fine. His future intelligence aside, I mainly wish he would read because reading usually involves sitting still.  Sitting still means not destroying my house or finding new ways to hurt or kill himself.  But, no. Books – boring. Electrical cords – fun! Reading – nerdy. Death defying stunts – exhilarating! So, what exactly does he like to do, if not read? Almost anything. Here you have it: A list of everything my toddler boy would rather do than read. 1) Sniff his lovey. It’s super weird but super cute, and notable because it’s the only time he is ever still. And while he absolutely loves sniffing his lovey, this unfortunately does not account for much time in his day. 2) Climb into bookshelves. (Which of course requires removing all the books from the shelves first.) 3) Climb up the bookshelves. 4) Eat crayons. Really, most of the greens in James’ diet...

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That (Sorry, Second Children)

Posted on Jun 11, 2015 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pinterest Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That (Sorry, Second Children) 2

Sweet baby James turned one about two weeks ago.   I know. I can hardly believe it myself.  To say that his first year was one of my most challenging would be… entirely accurate.  Like, it was soul-crushing, haven’t-slept-through-the-night-in-a-year, crying-in-the-shower stressful and exhausting. Not that it’s his fault. But between a baby, a deployment, a cross-country move (international for my husband), a home purchase and a renovation, life got a little overwhelming. Not to mention my kids were sick ALL THE TIME.  We basically lived at our pediatrician’s office. And the gastroenterologist’s… the urologist’s…. the ENT’s… the ER. So while I hate to see James turning into a toddler (too fast! too fast!), I am looking forward to a calmer second year. And befriending someone other than my child’s doctor. One can hope. And maybe in this second year, James will finally start to get near the amount of attention his sister did at his age. I like to think the craziness of the last year contributed to the unequal attention Elisabeth and James received as babies. But let’s be honest – James is a second child. It was never going to be the same for him. Before James was born, I accepted that his baby stage would never exactly mimic Elisabeth’s. But I convinced myself James would not suffer second-child neglect. I believed I could cuddle/play with/read to/lie around doing nothing with James just as much as I had with Baby Elisabeth, without Toddler Elisabeth feeling totally abandoned. I also believed I could do so in a way that wouldn’t make me totally insane. This is called delusion.  I quickly learned that life with the second baby is completely different than life with the first baby.  Mainly because that precious resource you had as a first time parent – time – is now quite scarce. I finally understand why I am so much better adjusted than my two younger brothers. Sorry, Second Children. (I’d apologize to third children, but third children are too laid back to care.)   So here you have it. The most obvious signs of...

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The Problem Child’s Perspective

Posted on Sep 14, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

The Problem Child’s Perspective 1

Mom, I think we need to clear the air. A few days ago at the doctor’s office, you called me, “your problem child.”  You said it in that high-pitched baby-talk voice while smiling and tickling me, which makes me think you were kinda-sorta joking.  But I think you were maybe also kinda-sorta serious. Is it because of the ringworm? Look. I have no idea how I got ringworm.  You’re the adult. You figure it out.   I get it.  It’s weird.  I have been exposed to absolutely nothing that would give me ringworm.  After all, we never go anywhere on account of me screaming every time I get in the car. But looks what happens when you take me out in public! I GET NASTY FUNGAL INFECTIONS! Can you blame me for shrieking the entirety of every single car ride? It’s my only defense!  And besides, all the rest of the time I’m pretty much the smiliest, happiest baby ever, so I think you’ve got it pretty good.  But back to the ringworm – let’s just chalk this up to one of life’s great mysteries.  I have it, now move on. Could it be this allergic colitis thing? Is that why I’m the “problem child”? I hear you complaining about not eating dairy anymore.  Or egg.  Or soy, which according to you is in everything.  And I know all you want is to dig into a massive pizza with a side of ice cream.  (And real ice cream. Not that coconut milk crap.)  But seriously, Mom.  First. World. Problems.  I’m the one bleeding from my gut, remember? Is a little sympathy too much to ask? Besides, the vegan cookies you baked can’t be that bad.  I mean, you ate the entire batch in like, three days. Or maybe it’s because I don’t sleep?  I don’t really understand what the problem is.  I just love you so much I want to hang out with you all the time! That’s a good thing, right?  I know that since daddy is deployed and you’re on your own for now that the nights are...

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My Sweet Baby James

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

My Sweet Baby James 0

Labor. People say you forget about the pain of labor, or else you wouldn’t ever have more than one child. BS. I certainly didn’t forget.  Maybe I didn’t remember the exact type of pain, but I sure remembered that it hurt. A lot. And not just during labor, but after. For some reason, none of the books or blogs or classes I read or took during my first pregnancy mentioned anything about postpartum recovery. Perhaps they reasoned ignorance is bliss.  Expectant mothers: You’re in for a surprise! But I won’t ruin it for you… Anyway, armed with the knowledge of just how much pain was coming my way, I started to freak out a bit.  Especially because I know many women who are really into natural childbirth, and therefore I felt like I should be really into natural childbirth. Hey – I’m just as badass as they are! If they can do childbirth without pain medication, so can I!  But the prospect was still scary. As I approached my due date, my doctor insisted I would deliver early.*  She was wrong, but at the time her predictions forced me to face reality. Labor was coming. Pain was coming. So I psyched myself up.  I’m active! I’m strong! I do yoga and know how to breathe! I can do this! (Plus, I have no choice.)  I even got kind of zen about the whole thing. Childbirth has nothing on me! And then labor actually happened.  If you read my last blog post, you know that I spent the 36 hours before labor running around Orange County visiting various doctors, and went into labor late Thursday night. It was a restless two days, followed by a restless night of contractions.  Point is, when I did go into labor I was tired.  And a little stressed out.  All of a sudden I wasn’t so badass. At first, I just kept moving through the contractions.   Hey, this isn’t so bad! I thought to myself.  I can totally handle this.  And then the contractions started coming faster.  Like, a lot faster. Wait, hold up. I...

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