Monday, December 19, 2011

Times, They Are A-Changing

Alone with my boys last night, we decided to pop some popcorn and snuggle together on the couch while we watched a movie.  Digging through my growing children's movie arsenal to locate one we hadn't yet seen, I came up for air with only one option:  Pinocchio.  I slipped the movie out of the case and engaged in a brief battle with the DVD player (is it AV1?  Is it AV2?)  before the menu screen hummed "When You Wish Upon a Star", immediately transporting me back to 1987 and the yellow shag carpeting on the floor of the house in which I grew up.

But there were some differences.  In 1987, we didn't have a DVD player.  I was also not the person adjusting the tracking to find a clear spot between horizontal bars of static.  And lastly, there was no popcorn in my ear.  Or in my butt crack.

Did that bring you back to the present?  It did me.  As I was busy trying to bring a Disney classic to life, my kids were busy eating a lot of popcorn and strategically hiding a great deal more.  Once they'd sufficiently ground enough of it into the microsuede couch, they moved on to the carpet and eventually to me; greasy fingers cramming tasteless kernels in my ears, hair and down the back of my pants.

After a quick hose-down, the movie was on and I wagered another battle with my kids to either pay attention or find another activity and let me turn off the television.  But as soon as Pinocchio skipped off away from the school to become an actor in the circus, the boys were locked in.

I was relieved to have a minute to fold some clean laundry and pick up the house, easy tasks that I can do relatively quickly between fits and giggles.  But while I was balling socks, my boys were staring wide-eyed at child abductors and snarling whales. 


Another thing that has changed since 1987 is that children's programming has become much more tame and politically correct, a fact that I learned as I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain why Pinocchio was green in the face as he took a long drag on a cigar.

"What is that wood boy eating?"

"It's just something yucky that is not for kids." 

"Is it poop?"

"No, it's not poop.  It's called a 'cigar'." 

"Are you sure it isn't poop?  It looks like poop."

"It's not poop."

"He turned green!  Yuck.  Will I turn green if I eat poop?"

"Cael, it's not-- Oh, whatever.  Yes, you will turn green if you eat poop."

"That's silly, Mommy.  It's not poop.  It's a sing-gar." 

I stand corrected.

With the boys flanking me on the sofa, we finished the movie and they both sat lifelessly in their seats as I turned off the set.  It was at this point I knew they were either catatonic from too much popcorn, green from eating poop or terrified from the dramatic near-death whale scene.  My instincts told me it was the latter, but experience told me that my kids don't shy away from poop.  It was simply too soon to tell.

I kissed Graham's sweet face and put him to bed before returning downstairs to find Cael in the exact same spot I'd left him.

"It's bedtime."


That was way too easy.  Something was definitely up.

We brushed teeth, read a story and said our prayers.  Cael seemed to be getting back to his normal self, so I turned out the lights and headed upstairs to put away the laundry I'd folded earlier as my children were being scarred via cartoon.

Once the house was back in order, I ran a bath and hopped in to retrieve the popcorn hulls from the various crevices where my kids had wedged them. 


I didn't hear that in the eighties.

"Oh, you scared me.  What is it?"

I really like to avoid being completely naked in front of the kids, because Cael is getting older and has a mouth like a sailor and the discretion to match.  But exposed in the tub with my four-year old staring at point-blank range, there wasn't much I could do to preserve my modesty. 

"My room is scary."

"Oh, I love your room.  It's not scary at all.  Do you want me to turn your lamp on?"

"I don't like that whale."

I didn't want to dredge up more memories of the scene, so I decided that my best course of action was to play dumb.

"Hmm.  I don't know what you're talking about.  There's no reason to worry." 

"Yes, Mommy.  You know!  That really big whale!  The one in the water.  The really big one sitting in the water."

He looked at me, clearly wanting me to erase the memory, but after a second his eyes surveyed the room and my aquatic positioning and his brain made a connection I wish it hadn't. 

"Mommy!  YOU are a whale!" 

Maybe 1987 wasn't so bad...


  1. What ever you do, stay away from The FOX and HOUND or BAMBI!!!!! Try the Aristocats. Pretty tame.

  2. We had enough trouble with the book for Bambi- I'm definitely staying away from the movie. Thanks for the warning with the Fox and the Hound!

  3. Oh you had me laughing so hard!

  4. We have so much trouble with that darn Disney!

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.