Monday, April 27, 2015

Seven Indictments for Seven Brothers

All five of us love Family Movie Night. The only trouble we tend to run into is choosing a Family Movie. Primo likes movies that are either too scary or too esoteric for the little kids. Seconda loves tween Disney flicks which Primo (and I) abhor. Terza's up for anything but loses interest after 10 minutes if it's not quite right for her, and by "loses interest" I mean she climbs on the furniture and yells menically or smacks her siblings in the head or throws Goldfish in the air like confetti.

So imagine my delight when I thought of the perfect Family Movie: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Had I ever seen this movie? No, I had not. But I distinctly remember it being my little cousin's favorite movie when she was a kid and also, it was old, so how inappropriate could it be? There was sure to be no sex and no cursing. And once, I googled it and a Youtube clip popped up featuring the coolest gymnastics/ dance number ever. Perfect, I figured.

And it was, for about the first hour. I mean, yes, it was dated, and the main character, Adam, treats his wife like a servant, and not like a human being, but that's something she takes issue with so it was a good talking point. But then, halfway through the movie, Adan started singing a strange song, about the rape of the Sabine women.

"This is really weird," I commented to David. "Why is he singing this song about the Sabine women?"

"Because that's basically the whole plot of the movie," he said.

"What movie?" I asked. "This movie?"

"Yeah," he answered. "Haven't you ever seen this movie before?"

"No," I confessed. "Are you kidding me? These seven brothers are all about to kidnap their brides?"

And - spoiler alert -- that is exactly what they do.


It is a modern day Rape of the Sabines. That's what the WHOLE movie is about. And guess what? It works out GREAT for the guys. Their captives get Stockholm Syndrome and never want to leave. So they all get married in one big group ceremony, and the only reason the girls' dads agree to that is the girls convince the dads they've gotten knocked up and are, thus, ruined. Thankfully that plot point is packed into the last two minutes and is glossed over so we didn't have to explain the whole concept of a shotgun wedding to our eight-year-old daughter.

"Why didn't you warn me that's what this whole movie is about?" I asked David,

"Oh, it's fine," he said/ "The men suffer the consequences of their actions/"

"Not really," I protested. "I mean, they sleep in the barn for, like, a month. And then the girls totally fall for them and they all get married. Whereas, really, they should all be incarcerated."

Promo overhead me. He was laughing his ass off about how ridiculous the plot was.

"They should call is Seven Trials for Seven Brothers," he laughed.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Everyone's a parenting expert . . .

I have an information addiction. I self-medicate with research. I guess it's better than a lot of other addictions, and it comes in handy sometimes, but at other times, it's bothersome and problematic. The biggest problem I run into, especially insofar as parenting is concerned, is that always doing research before making decisions creates the illusion that there is one right answer that can be found if only you devote enough time and energy to unearthing it under piles of reading and statistics. This, of course, is total and complete bullshit. 

Apparently, though, I'm not alone in my dependence. This fantastic Motherlode piece, Information-Hungry Millenial Parents, Making It Hard on Themselves, totally hits the nail on the head. Here's one of my favorite parts:
In the 1980s, when my mother raised me, it was perfectly acceptable to take your children to their annual pediatrician visit and defer to your doctor (or the older mothers in your neighborhood) about parenting dilemmas. Doctors had gone to medical school, after all, and other parents had experience. They were the experts. But I get the feeling that has changed.
Of the 10.8 million households with millennial parents at the helm, nearly all of them are frequent Internet users. Liberal, socially conscious, interconnected and peer-reliant, my segment of the millennial generation (wealthy in education and confidence, if not in our paychecks) has unprecedented access to what was once privileged information, as well as the opinions of their peers. We’ve become the experts, and as a result, we’re hyper-aware, constantly questioning, defensive. Baby boomer helicopter parents have nothing on us.

Is it lost on me that in discussing my information addiction on parenting issues, I just directed you to read an article about the issue? No, it is not lost on me. I just consider this Motherlode reading a kind of Methodone.

Monday, April 20, 2015

When I grow up . . .

Terza is three. This, I have found, is the age at which girls who have big brothers try to pee standing up.

The other day, I took her to use her potty and instead of sitting on it, she stood next to it, looking ambitious.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I want to pee like Primo," she explained.

Poor Primo. We took all the locks off the doors when we moved in, because the kids were little and we'd already lived through the "Seconda Locks Herself in the Laundry Room in Tennessee" incident. Now, of course, Primo's old enough to deserve some privacy, especially from his little sister who's prone to barging into bathrooms without so much as a how-do-you-do. Of course, because of Terza, we still prefer to have doors that can't lock. After all, we've already lived through the "Terza Locks Herself in the Bathroom at Brunch at Our Friend's House" incident and that was really no fun. So, as usual, a Sophie's choice.

When Terza told me she had big plans to start peeing standing up, I told her, as I told Seconda at the same age, that girls pee sitting down because girls' bodies are different from boys' bodies and it just works better to sit down.

So she sat. And she peed. And she mused.

"When I grow up, I want to pee like a boy," she reflected.

I was just beginning to worry about whether this was an indication that she might need gender reassignment surgery one day and if so, if that was covered by health insurance, and if not, was it smart to maybe start saving now, when she spoke again.

"When I grow up, I want to be a tiger," she said.

"Me too," I said.

And then I stopped worrying, and started enjoying my kid instead.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mom Parodies of Pop Songs

Seconda, who is now 8, has been bitten by the pop music bug. It's all about Taylor Swift and Katy Perry and Megan Trainor.  The maddening thing about pop music is that it's so damn catchy; as if it weren't bad enough to be listen to "Shake It Off" on repeat play in the car for a half hour, I've got the damn song lodged in my brain for two days after.

But, on the upside, my recent education in contemporary pop has made me appreciate these hilarious mom parodies of pop songs, courtesy of Deva Dalporto, a mom of two kids (5 and 8) in San Francisco.  Her videos can be found on the My Life Suckers channel on Youtube and it will make you laugh . . . Though, chances are, her lyrics will get lodged in your brain just as quickly as Taylor Swift's.

If you like "Shake It Off" . . . Knock it Off

"All About the Bass" . . . I Just Need Some Space

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Builds Character

Few people are more quotable than Helen Keller. She was one smart lady and she knew how to take all that intelligence and distill it down into little, digestible kernels of wisdom. My favorite, though, is this one:

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

The reason I like it, besides the fact that is rings so true, is that it makes me feel hopeful for my children. After all, there is never ease and quiet in our home. 

They are going to have more character than they know what to do with.