Frozen is Crushing My Soul

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Confession: I don’t get the hype around Frozen.

*Winces at instant backlash from Frozenphiles everywhere*

I’ve only seen the movie once.  I don’t own the DVD, I have not bought Elisabeth an Elsa costume (not that I could find one if I wanted to), and I have not made a cutesy YouTube video of me lip-synching to the soundtrack.  I am clearly a failure as a parent.

But don’t hate me just yet.  Hear me out:

Damon visited a few weeks ago.  We decided to take Elisabeth to her first movie.  (Frozen, in case that wasn’t obvious.)  I was hesitant at first – she seemed a little young to sit through a full-length movie.  Plus any Disney animated film would surely feature some traumatic incident LIKE PARENTS DYING or something.*

But since the whole world was in love with this movie, and I knew plenty of parents who had taken their toddlers to see it without incident, I decided to go for it.  Also, I had seen some Adele Dazeem perform a song from the film at the Oscars, and the music seemed pretty good.  That was enough for me.

Now, I hadn’t seen a Disney animated movie since maybe… The Lion King?  Which came out in 1994, by the way.  (I Googled it, I know.)  So yeah, that’s 20 years without Disney in my life.  I didn’t know what to expect.  (Except catchy songs and traumatic deaths, obvi.)

The movie started and Elisabeth was immediately enthralled.  But also kind of terrified, I think.  It was insanely loud.  Why are the theaters trying to deafen our children?  Elisabeth sat on my lap, clutching my shirt, the entire movie.  At one point she had tears streaming down her face.  I was shocked at the emotional maturity of my daughter! Who knew a two-year could connect so intensely with an on-screen character? Could feel such empathy and emotion? Or maybe she just hadn’t blinked for an hour.  I can’t be sure.

I whisked her out of the theater.  “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” I inquired.  She seemed eager to get back to the movie so back we went.  She let out the occasional yelp, and at a couple of scarier moments buried her head into my chest.  She also narrated much of the movie.  “Uh-oh! Snowman fall down!”  It was helpful, really, because I was paying more attention to her reactions than to the movie itself.

So there you have it – I may not fully appreciate the greatness that is Frozen because I didn’t fully watch Frozen.  I watched Elisabeth watching Frozen.  So cut me some slack, okay?

After the movie viewing, Elisabeth insisted she liked the film.  Particularly the reindeer and the snowman.  What did she comment on most?  Not the princesses or the music, oh no.  That the reindeer ate the snowman’s carrot nose.  “The reindeer eat the nose!” she would giggle hysterically.  Not sure that was the point that Frozen’s writers and producers wanted viewers to walk away with, but that’s what Elisabeth got out of it.

We happened to go to Disneyland a few days after seeing the movie.  There is a Frozen hut where you can meet the characters.  The wait was – wait for it – three hours.

Three hours!  I don’t know who these people are that wait in line for three hours to meet a character from a movie, but I am not one of them.  I pointed to the mechanical Olaf on top of the hut.  “Look Elisabeth! The snowman!”

“Ooooh!” she exclaimed, “the snowman!”  She was content. We moved on. And after that Frozen faded from our lives.  Hallelujah! Damon and I had successfully avoided Frozen frenzy.

Until last weekend.  Elisabeth was in childcare one afternoon with several older kids.  They watched – you guessed it – Frozen.  My life hasn’t been the same since.  Elisabeth is officially obsessed.

I curse your smiley, happy faces!

Did you read about her recent bedtime troubles?  Well, after viewing this film for the second time, Elisabeth began asking for “the princess song!” and “the snowman song!” every night.

Since I am the only parent of a young girl who has seen this movie only once, I did not know the princess song or the snowman song.  This was very distressing for Elisabeth.  How could her mother not know the princess or snowman song? What kind of mom do I think I am!?

Thanks to YouTube and iTunes, I was able to quickly access both these songs.  I played the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” first, followed by “Let It Go,” which I assumed is what Elisabeth meant by “the princess song.”  As soon as it was over Elisabeth burst into tears.

What was going on? Was she upset that the music was over? Or had the song stirred her soul? Was she recalling the plight of Anna and Elsa?  I had to crawl into bed with her and comfort her for a good while; she was really distraught.  That was the end of the princess song, and the beginning of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” taking over our lives.

If this is the effect movies have on children, we may never see another movie again.  The snowman song is on repeat in our house.  When we’re not playing it on my phone, Elisabeth is asking for it or singing her own version.  Elsa and Anna have become features in her nightly soliloquies.  After reading a book about snow, Elisabeth insisted it was about Elsa and kept wondering why Anna wasn’t in the book.  This is my life now.  Anna and Elsa and the damn snowman song that destroys my soul a little every time I hear it.  I fear there’s no going back.

I better start searching for that Elsa costume now.  Halloween is only six months away and supplies are dwindling.

 

*Oh shush, I didn’t spoil anything. I was the last person in the world to see this movie.

 

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Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier 5

I had a list of things I was going to accomplish with Elisabeth once we moved back to California and before the baby came: 1)   Potty Train 2)   Transition to Toddler Bed 3)   Wean from Pacifier Then we actually got to California and I realized I was too pregnant and tired to deal with any of those things.  Sure, we put Elisabeth in the Big Girl Bed, but it has been two months and she still gets out of it unattended, and I still occasionally put her back in the crib on nights she is particularly uncooperative, or nights I am particularly exhausted and can’t handle lying with her for an hour.  I know.  My inconsistency if probably not helping the situation. And sure, Elisabeth uses the potty sometimes.  We were on a roll when I introduced itty-bitty cookies as an incentive, but then Elisabeth got over the “potty cookies” and opted to go back to the diaper.  The girl is smart – I upped my game and started using M&Ms. The “emma-emmas” were a big hit at first.  She was back on the potty.  But then one M&M per pee wasn’t enough.  “Two emma-emmas?” she would try to negotiate.  That’s when I threw in the towel.  Stay in diapers till you’re 12, for all I care!* As for getting rid of the pacifier – yeah, right.  My half-assed attempts at potty training and establishing a bedtime routine were far too draining to even think about pacifier weaning. Then I hit 34 weeks.  And I panicked.  Six weeks!  Only six weeks till baby arrived and I had accomplished nothing with Elisabeth! I had squandered a precious seven weeks and the time to buckle down was NOW. I made a plan of attack: Get rid of the pacifier first.  I was already staying with Elisabeth until she fell asleep every night, so I could provide her with whatever comfort she needed in the wake of her loss.  And it would be a great, great loss.  Once she had adjusted to sleeping without her pacifier, I would work on getting her...

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Can’t Hack It

Posted on Apr 12, 2014 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Can’t Hack It 1

I spent last weekend in San Francisco visiting friends.  Non-mom friends.  For the first time, the distinction between “mom” friends and “non-mom” friends became important; for the first time, I realized that though I like to think I can hang out with my non-mom friends just like I used to, I’m severely disillusioned.  Nope.  As a 33 weeks pregnant mom of a two-year-old, I just can’t hack it anymore. *** The week after moving back to southern California, a few non-mom friends happened to be in town.  After exchanging emails to make dinner plans, one friend suggested a place and time. 8:30. I balked. 8:30!? As in, PM!?  But that’s jammy time!  I hastily wrote my friends back, and after claiming jet-lag, asked if we could push dinner up to 8:00.  I really meant 5:30, but figured that might be pushing it for my friends whose lives don’t currently revolve around potty-training and early morning prenatal yoga.  So 8:00 it was.  The evening of our dinner arrived, and after chugging boatloads of coffee I made my way to the restaurant, praying I wouldn’t fall asleep face-first into my mocktail.* I managed to rally, but I got lucky that time.  So let’s examine last weekend, when a silly pregnant woman attempted to recapture her pre-children days. Friday night my girlfriends and I got together at a charming little Italian restaurant.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner and then lingered over wine.  (Well, everyone else lingered over wine.  I lingered over water.)  I love these girls.  I love catching up with them.  I love lingering over wine when I am actually allowed to drink wine.  But how does a sleep-deprived, third-trimester pregnant woman stay awake past 9:00 in a dim restaurant after eating copious amounts of carbs and cured meat?  It’s damn near impossible, I tell you. Everyone seemed a little spent after a long week, and decided to disperse after dinner rather than heading out somewhere else.  Thank the good Lord – I could go to bed!  Except I couldn’t.  My friend’s neighbor fell asleep with her television blasting.  My über-sensitivity...

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We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers

Posted on Mar 16, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers 1

We do not negotiate with toddlers. I wish this were true.  But we do negotiate with toddlers.  At least I do.  All day…  Every day…  Go ahead and file this under, “Things I thought I’d never do as a parent.” -Sigh- Wouldn’t it be great to take a hard-line with these obstinate little ones? “Eat your vegetables because I said so.” “Put on your pants because it’s cold outside.” “Go to sleep because you need sleep to live.” Done and done.  If only it were that easy.  If only the toddlers would respond to logic and reason. But no.  Toddlers don’t respond to logic and reason because they’re not logical or reasonable.  They’re two; they respond to cookies and toys.  Either that or they’re manipulative little geniuses who know how to get exactly what they want  Maybe it’s both.  So instead we parents (or just me?) endlessly cajole, bargain, and outright bribe.  I didn’t notice my shameful behavior at first.  Then one day I realized almost every conversation with my 2-year-old involved some sort of “If…Then” statement. “Eat your vegetables,” became, “If you eat your vegetables, you can have more pasta.” “Put on your pants,” became, “If you don’t put on your pants, then we can’t go outside,” which became, “If you put on your pants, we can watch Elmo when we come back inside.”  When even Elmo didn’t work, it became, “Here’s my iPhone.  Look at pictures while I put on your pants.”  (For some reason, Elisabeth was vehemently anti-pants for a while.) When did every interaction with my child become a negotiation?  When will it stop!? I thought I’d be tougher.  I thought I would weather any tantrum and firmly hold my ground.  Eventually my toddler would listen to me and respect me, simply because I know what’s best. But holy cow – have you ever spent 30 FREAKING MINUTES trying to clothe a screaming, flailing child?  Or 30 minutes doing ANYTHING that should take 2 minutes, but for the innate need of these little people to assert total domination over you?  (I suppose it’s more PC...

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New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate.

Posted on Mar 11, 2014 in Pregnancy Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate. 4

New Zealand.  I have to blog about my trip to New Zealand, even though it was two months ago.  My memory seems to be diminishing with each passing day of this pregnancy, so it’s imperative I document this trip now.  You know, so when I make our travel scrapbook 10 years from now I’ll actually have a record of where we went and what we did. You guys, New Zealand is stunning.  Gorgeous beyond belief.  I knew NZ was one of those places Damon and I had to visit while we were living in Japan, but I wasn’t all that sure why.  Because it’s pretty?  Because Lord of the Rings was filmed there?  I mean, a lot of places are pretty, and I don’t really care about Lord of the Rings.  But still, for no particular reason other than vague praise from fellow travelers, NZ was on our travel bucket-list.  And thank goodness it was. Perhaps we didn’t really know what to expect from our trip because it’s probably hard for most people – including myself – to articulate how incredible this place is.  Damon, Elisabeth, and I flew into Christchurch and spent 11 days traveling the South Island by car, spending one or two nights in a town before moving on to our next destination.  Even with 11 days, we only traversed the southern half of the South Island, but every day brought a different experience.  By no means am I a nature girl, yet I was rendered speechless by each beach, lake, mountain, glacier, waterfall, what-have-you we saw.  It was all magnificent. We’d be driving along, admiring one landscape – say,  rolling green hills dotted with sheep – turn a corner and be struck by a completely different, but equally stunning view, perhaps a glassy lake in the most brilliant turquoise color you’ve ever seen, or snow-capped mountains against a perfectly blue sky.  Even when it rained (which it did, a lot) it was still crazy beautiful.     We took our trip in early January, summer in NZ and therefore the tourism high season, yet there...

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Sayonara, Japan

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, Travel Traumas

Sayonara, Japan 6

A little over a week ago, Elisabeth and I boarded a flight from Narita to LAX.  This was our third NRT –> LAX, but likely our last.  At least for a long while.  Elisabeth and I are officially CONUS residents again, living in California for the next several months until Damon joins us and we move to Washington, DC. I don’t believe I’ve entirely updated this blog on our current situation, so here’s the short version: I’m pregnant (duh).  Damon is currently in Nevada participating in a major training exercise for the next several weeks.  When he returns to Japan, he will be doing work-ups for deployment.  If you don’t know what any of that means, that’s okay, I don’t really either.  Basically, he’ll be really, really busy and gone a lot.  And ultimately, he’ll deploy again.  All before the baby is set to arrive. Given his timeline and my due date, we decided the best decision for me was to move back with my family in California to have the baby and wait out the deployment.  So here I am. It was strange leaving Japan – and the Atsugi community – so many months before I had previously planned.  There were so many things on my bucket list left undone, and time I had counted on with friends that I had to sacrifice.  But ultimately, I was ready to move; I desperately needed an In-N-Out burger.  I lived overseas for 22 months, which hardly sounds like any time at all.  But since graduating college in 2007, that is actually the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.  Crazy, right? If I’m being honest, I didn’t love Japan.  That’s not to say I disliked it – not at all!  It’s just that I never felt 100% comfortable in the culture.  Part of that is my own fault.  Before moving, I assumed I would fully immerse myself in the Japanese culture, and frankly, I didn’t.  When we moved, Elisabeth was five months old.  I struggled – more than I thought I would – with balancing parenting a baby (and then toddler) and...

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