Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Disneyland to you, R2.

Sure, it was the happiest place on the planet Earth and all, but damn, R2 simply could not get that "It's a small world..." song out of his dome. And to make matters worse, C3PO won't stop singing "Yo ho ho ho a pirates life for me..." Perhaps it was time to search his files for some good ol' ACDC.

You should know better than to bowl with a Jedi, R2.

R2 was having second thoughts about bowling with the likes of Yoda. He swore it was sheer luck and lots of practice, but R2 was pretty certain there was some Jedi mind tricks going on. Not fair. Not fair at all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enjoy the cool breeze, R2.

No longer able to handle the stifling heat of the city, R2 makes a much overdue trip to the cool breezy beach. C3PO repeats his usual (annoying) warning about getting sand in his joints, but R2 doesn't care. He needs the surf, the pelicans, the salty air, and the change of scenery like Luke needs his lightsaber. Aaaaah, much better...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Up, up, and sobs

Perhaps it's the conservative old-fashioned Waldorf upbringing or the multitude of articles my mom sent me when my kids were newborns about the ill effects of media on our children, but I'm pretty protective about what my kids watch. Sure, my kids see a bit of tv and movies and have a few minutes each week on the computer, after all, it is a modern world, but I'm very careful and selective so I don't damage their young impressionable innocent minds. I try not to judge others that are more free and less censured with media around their children, but sometimes, well, I cringe and bite my tongue so I don't go into some holier than thou lecture. I never want to be one of those moms. Yikes.

After a week full of fabulous playdates at our home, we need to get out but I don't have it in me for much effort. After a terribly stressful morning trying to get an impossible last minute report done for my managers, and a fort filled home that I wanted to avoid doing cleanup on, I decide that going to see the movie Up was the perfect thing to do. In my mind, we buy ticket, sit down, escape for almost two hours (no fighting, no messes, no energy), and leave with the satisfaction of enjoying a great movie like the rest of regular society. Although, major cringe here, it's PG movie, but after rave reviews from many fellow moms, I feel confident in my choice and go for it.

Big mistake. I gear up for the expected bittersweet montage of the old couple's life together, then her death. I heard EVERYONE cries at that one. It is beautiful. I wipe a few tears. My kids? Nothing. They don't even know what happened. Then the balloon house in the thunderstorm? The beginning of the end. Now, I don't know if Talia has a delayed reaction to the sad basis for the movie, but she does not stop crying and clutching my arm. SOBBING. What is she upset about? She feels scared that the little boy will never find his way back home from being so lost. She cannot be consoled. Quinn keeps asking me in an upset voice "when will this movie be over???". Brutal. Conflicting. But, ultimately I must to do the right thing for my kids and leave the movie theater.

Maybe by leaving and ending their (our) misery I can earn a few good mommy points to begin to make up for the huge deduction of bad mommy points for traumatizing my children, hopefully not for life. Thank goodness my wonderful friend Amy was home and open for a happy happy joy joy impromptu playdate and her bartender, uh hum, gracious husband, was serving fresh mojitos to help melt away the bad mojo from our dreadful movie experience.

Lesson here? There is a reason why I keep my kids away from most "kid" movies that come out - the majority of them are really geared toward adults and the lowest common denominator. My children, especially Talia, still don't like watching movies where children or animals are in peril or lost, even now that she is almost six. My mistake for thinking she grew out of that. But, I'm glad that they are not numb or desensitized to bad things that happen in movies (people/animals getting hurt is not funny!). What a good reminder that although they seem to be maturing more every day, they are still very young and need more support than ever before. Their world is getting bigger and scarier and intense. They will grow to understand that in time.

For now, they have to learn how to deal with difficult stuff and it's my task as parent to teach them coping skills, like thinking about ice cream or swimming at Grandma's or their friends when they can't stop being sad or upset. So, while I'm trying to get the very bad mommy image out of my head of traumatized children in the movie theater, I find solace in my tall glass of Merlot and my big bowl of Waffle Cone Overload ice cream, daydreaming about my brunch at the beach on Sunday. I'm slowly recovering from the guilt and being totally emotionally drained, and those goodies certainly are helping.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Celebrating independence

For the previous five years, our family celebrated the 4th of July Independence Day with, umm, not much. We stay at home, maybe a barbecued dinner, and get annoyed at the unfriendly neighbor across the street that does his own (illegal) fireworks show way into the late hours of the night. Well, actually anything past 7pm is late for us because it might wake our early-to-bed sleeping babies!

So, are you sitting down? This year we decided to be the wild and crazy people and venture out of the house and see fireworks in person. Imagine that?! I know. I know. How did this happen? Next I'll be writing about painting my toenails neon green and drinking caffeine past 4pm! Crazy. So, here's the scoop: my friend Rosanna bought a ton of tickets to the Hollywood Bowl, and, get this, took the chance that she could convince enough friends to buy them and join her. Risk taker, that girl. Anyway, we got the last four tickets (yep, meant to be) and bragged to all that would hear that we were going to the Bowl for 4th of July 'cause we are soooooo hip and awesome. I'm certain they were all cursing at us from like total jealousy.

Once the day finally came (the kids were wacked out all day in anticipation), we packed a yummy dinner, took the easy shuttle bus, and joined my friend and her fun group at the best picnic area there (Rosanna did the mad dash to the top of the hill - my hero!). Later, once we got to our seats, we listened to the LA Philharmonic play popular songs by great American composers and that's where I heard the cutest quote of the night from famous for his great one-liners Quinn: "I just heard the music slow down in tempo". Who says their minds go to mush in the summer?!

But, the biggest surprise of the night was when Dan Fogerty rocked out his set. My usually reserved and observant non-participators almost six-year-olds danced and jumped and wiggled and played air guitar and pumped their fists to every rock-n-roll song. Me and my man kept looking at each other like "who are these children and how do they know to do that???". Of all the kid shows they've gone to, I've never seen them enjoying themselves like that. There was no one around us dancing to explain this sudden burst of expression. Neither one of their parents are know for gettin' down with our boogie. It was like they were possessed by the music and they just had to dance and be free and had absolutely no inhibitions about it. I even grabbed Talia's hips and pushed her down to her seat a few times to test her, and she just bounced right back up into shaking her booty. Honestly, I still can't get over it.

The only explanation I can think of is simply their age of almost six. The last few months of school they came home with lots more scraps and bruises, and even their teacher commented that they are taking more chances and risks. Of course this makes me a little uneasy, but it's comforting to know it's completely appropriate and healthy for their age and all a part of detaching, gaining more independence, and becoming their own person. But, as much as they seem to be maturing and growing at lightening speed, it's nice to see that they are still just young kids, without a silly worry that people will think their exhuberance and dancing is stupid or lame and how much they can still be so much in the moment. I guess the best I can do is encourage and support them, sit back, and, like the fireworks, watch with sheer delight and awe.