Monday, February 24, 2014

A Rebuttal to Ms. Skaggs; Frozen is about THIS, not THAT...

Last week, Kathryn Skaggs, wrote a blog post condemning Disney, the movie Frozen and all media outlets that have given attention to the movie Frozen because she says it has a hidden pro-gay agenda. I so strongly disagree with all she has to say in her blog post that I needed to write my own rebuttal. I am in no way trying to start blogging war over this, but I needed to clarify in my own words the point that she was missing in watching this movie.

Frozen is a children’s movie. A beautiful children’s movie. A children’s movie unlike any I've ever seen before. From the low maintenance royalty, to the location, to the fact that no animals spoke (except for a snowman and a few rock trolls), and that Prince Charming turned not to be the best thing to happen to either of the princesses. All of it was refreshing and exciting and sent such an amazing message to everyone in the audience, both young and old. Everyone, that is, except for you.

You apparently heard a different message. You heard a message about normalizing something that you see as negative. As Elsa strutted up that mountain gaining confidence in herself, you heard her singing the praises of a lifestyle that is unworthy in your eyes.

But that’s not the message this movie was about. Frozen spoke to all of the children who feel they are not enough in someone’s eyes. Whether that’s to the girl who wants to play football but is told she is better suited for cheerleading. Or the boy who wants to take a ballet class but is told he should be playing baseball. Frozen spoke to the boy who’s too dumb and the girl who’s too smart. And yes, it was also probably speaking to the boy who has a crush on his best friend who is also a boy. But it went far beyond talking to  those who are gay, Frozen was made for anyone who feel they are not enough of this or are too much of that.

Frozen was made because of people like you.

“Let It Go” was written as an anthem to battle people who think like you do. People who think they know what’s best for someone else because they have defined what is “normal” for all.

Frozen was not about some hidden agenda that is too big for the pint sized audience to understand. No, Frozen’s main message was that of love, of family, of inner strength, and of heroism. If Frozen normalized anything it was a child’s right to embrace who they are and love themselves because of their gifts not in spite of them.

I encourage you to see Frozen again. See it with your grandchildren as you've apparently done many times before. But don’t pay attention to what’s happening on the screen, pay attention to what’s happening to your grandchildren as they watch this wonderful movie. Watch to see what they are learning. Watch them smile at the victories, tap their shoes during the songs and see their hearts warm as they learn the true message being told. That true love, family and inner strength can conquer anything.

Leave the secret agendas and the messages too big for little bodies for another time and another movie. In this instance, just let it go.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I Wish I'd Known my Nanny Was Doing Before I Became a SAHM

I often catch myself comparing Miss N to Mr L. I always catch myself saying things like "Oh she's much more active than he was at this age." Or "Mr L never got into the toilet paper or the cat food, Miss N is just a wee bit crazier than her brother." but then I have to catch myself and remind myself that I wasn't exactly present during this age for Mr. L. Yes, I was his Mother, he was in my custody and all things were good in that aspect, but his day to day care was done by someone else. I was off loathing a day job while our fabulous nanny took care of and mothered sweet baby L.

A trip to Disneyland

So, when I say things like "Miss N is much more active than her brother" I have no idea if that is true. When Mr. L was a baby we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment where our living room was our play room and our dining room and our foyer it was our everything it was our only thing. Because of that, we had our cat food dish and water dish out in the room available for any baby or toddler to play and splash in and probably eat a piece of kibble or twenty. But in my recollection, Mr L never even attempted to touch those items. He never was tempted, he was just that good of a baby.

Which probably isn't the most accurate statement. Especially if you were to ask the nanny.

I've also been surprised at how utterly mesmerized by the toilet paper roll Miss N is. I don't ever recall Mr. L even touching our toilet paper roll (or even being in our bathroom to be honest. But surely he had to have gone in the bathroom when the nanny was using it), and surely he was fascinated just as all babies are fascinated with the white paper that is wound round and round and round again on that spinning spindle next to the loo. But I don't recall. Because I wasn't there.

She flew up to San Fran one weekend to watch Mr L while The Hubs and I were away

As I deal with little fires with Miss N throughout my day I am both overcome by a feeling of sadness and immense gratitude. I am sad that I missed these moments with Mr. L, even though they drive me crazy in my day to day life, and I feel like I should stop paying for BootCamp memberships when I tend to spend 62% of my day doing squat lifts as I pull my 20 lb baby away from the toilet paper roll...again. But when I think about the fact that I straight up MISSED out on this with Mr L, it makes me sad. It makes me think I have a completely inaccurate idea of who my baby was. On the weekends when I was with him 100% I overdosed on his love. We went to the park, we went out to eat, we played and played and played. I was completely smitten with my bald, gummy baby that I didn't get to see nearly enough of during the week. Even if he had tried to get to the cat food I probably thought it was endearing, hilarious and most likely "very advanced for his age" (don't we all think that?).

As I mention to people that Mr. L is so well behaved, he has such amazing manners, I never really think that a lot of that foundation came from her. From our fabulous nanny. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not playing the "Oh-Woah-Is-Me-The-Working-Mom" card here. The decision to have me go back to work was one we had to make as a family. Because of that choice we had to make another decision about childcare for Mr. L. We chose to bring a nanny into our home to do with him the things that I wouldn't be present to do while at work. But she was with him a lot. On most weeks she was with him for more of his waking hours than I was, which is so sad to me but also so powerful. We chose right. We chose well. We chose a woman that tirelessly re-rolled the TP, kept kibble from our baby's mouth, kept keepsakes in their place and not strewn about the apartment as I'm sure they were 90% of the day.

I am so grateful that my life is different now and that I get to spend all of my time with both of my babies, especially my baby-baby but I'm also in awe of all that our nanny did. And how she did it so effortlessly in my eyes and helped mold my precious Mr. L into the perfect little man that he is today.

She was visiting family near our new home so we had to make a playdate work

I will never be able to truly thank her for all that she did and tell her how much she meant to me each day that she was with him, and each memory when I look back and think of how she was with him. I am grateful that we are still close with her and even though we moved miles and miles away that we always have an invitation to his birthday party addressed to her, that we try desperately to arrange play dates when she is near and that The Hubs and I speak of her often. Yes, Mr. L is forgetting her and all of the fun that he had with her and all that she did for him. But he'll never be free of her because she helped raise him from his infancy of 16 weeks until he was a walking and talking toddler at 18 months - she was his second mom, his playmate and his teacher. She was our saving grace and our partner. And I don't know how our family would have managed without her.

Now if only we could hire her again to help me deal with this 3.5 year old attitude he's got going...I'll gladly go back to work to miss out on this lovely phase!