Monday, December 31, 2007

Disney Princesses on Ice - their charm may have melted

So - Mike's new part-time gig has a few perks attached and one was free tickets to Disney Princesses on Ice. You know, the one where all the girls get together and flame each other with IM's and sleep with each other's Princes? No, just joking - I read in the L.A. Times that the evening was supposed to be giving a positive "don't be a mean girl" message but I have to admit, me with my graduate degree in playwriting, didn't quite pick that up. It may have been my dozy insomniac exhaustion or the rapid loss of brain cells of late or perhaps it was over my head? Don't get me wrong - I'd love to get my playwright/mommy claws into one of these shows; I'd have the princesses kick some ass and forget about the prince until they're about 36 and in need of clairol and biological clock servicing.

Luckily (can you hear the sarcasm?) he got three tickets (Julia thought it would be weird to see Princesses on Ice with her dad so my visions of a night alone were dashed) and we got to go to the VIP area, where (mostly) little girls were given a swag bag with a wand and a flashing light-up tiara and a book and got a chance to have their photo taken with Cinderella (boys got swords) and everyone decorated sugar cookies. I was teasing Julia about why she got a swag bag and I didn't and she said "Mommy, you can have my tiara and wand.". I was certain that was an empty promise, considering she was pretty captivated by the show (though she was wondering why Ariel got such a big part compared to our favorite, underdog princess Mulan - the only princess who does anything (no Pocahontas on the Ice) - and there was no Mulan stuff to buy compared to the other princess purchasing possibilities), but the next day she told me again - "You can have my tiara and my wand, Mommy. Really." And I turned to her and said - "You're kind of over the princess thing aren't you?" She agreed. She likes princesses - they just don't have a certain someone's charm anymore. Must be the lack of round glasses and lightening bolt scars.

I guess it's the end of that era. Or beginning to be - it was a weird one to settle in with for me - the even further commercialization of the Disney princesses into a princess clique, the clashing of my fairly feminist values with the cuteness of my kid (who looks like snow white) dressed up like Snow White. I loved Peggy Orenstein's article about her own interior conflict about the princesses her own daughter became obsessed with. But now that I can see the signs of the princess era coming to an end I'm a little sad -- I knew it would end some day, but whoever thought it could come so soon. By the way, the princess wand is still in the wrapper, the tiara sitting in the closet next to the princess dresses that have been unworn since a Gryffindor robe showed up for Halloween...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wonderful wonderful (Harry Potter) dream

Julia woke me this morning saying "I had the most wonderful WONDERFUL dream." This from right beside me - groggy from jet lag from our laggy flight back from new york that only sat on the runway for an hour before we took off.

Let us digress for a moment - it is a rare night when Julia doesn't come into our rare that when she doesn't I wake in the panic that something must be wrong! I will say that we were not attachment parents advocating family bed. Julia chose family bed - as an infant. Michael would hold sleeping Julia over the crib and she would wake crying, he would then hold her over our bed and back to blissful sleep. So now she starts the night in her bed but invariably ends up in ours - which I love ( it's so delicious) and hate (her freaking freezing feet seeking comfort between my legs)...and this morning I opened my eyes to see her starting at me, a kick-ass grin coming to her face: " I had the most wonderful WONDERFUL dream."

Guess who it was about?

Come on guess, guess - bet you can't figure it out -

And then later today she made up her latest song -

Last night I kissed Harry Potter
Last night I kissed Harry Potter
Last night I kissed Harry Potter

You've heard of Harry and the Potters? Draco and the Malfoys? Well - she's Ginny and the Weasleys (though right now she's singing Harry and the Potter's "Save Ginny Weasley" in the bathtub. Gotta say, it's become a favorite of mine since it won't leave my head!

Now I recorded her singing Last Night I kissed Harry Potter into garage band, which my lame-ass self really has no idea how to use, and wish I knew how to post the song here because it's pretty cool. A whole new sub-genre of WizardRock - kids wizard rock. Can anyone let me know?

saving her lips for Harry

Julia informed me yesterday that we can't kiss on the mouth anymore.

She's "saving her lips for Harry!"


Saturday, December 22, 2007

so what if he's made out of LEGOs - he still has that Harry Potter Magic!

Today - even when tempted by Pop-Pop with cool clothes from overpriced hip Upper East Side store there's only one thing she wanted to do. Her kindergarten friend EH had told her that when she went NYC a couple of months ago they had a Harry Potter made of Legos at FAO Schwartz and that's all she wanted to see. So, even though in all the years I actually lived in this town I never went to FAO Schwartz and even though I knew it would be a madhouse on the Saturday before X-mas we went. And it wasn't as madhouse as I thought it would be - crowded but no brawls between customers over the last remaining x-box or elmo or whatever. And in a sense I found myself embracing her embracing the commercialization. Because she wasn't that bad, because she gave just a passing glance to a hell of a lot of the store, because she's really in love with Harry, because she said a special goodbye to the Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hagrid lego figures. And because she didn't push us to get her anything in the Harry Potter area, realizing what she had thus far was better (that in another post about my overindulgent Chanukah gifting).

By the way it's midnight New York time and Julia has been NOT going to sleep for the last hour and a half. Instead she sings odes from (you guessed it) Harry Potter's POV.

Please...Professor Dumbledore
I've been waiting for all these years
For you to come to me
You loved my mother and then me
If you ever loved my mother...
Please great headmaster if you see my mother
let me see her please....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Goblet of Fire petition...or, my kid, the forger

So Julia really wants to read Book Four - Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. First I was holding off because I remembered it as the scary book (Cedric dying and all) and then I said I wanted to re-read it before I read it to her. So I reread Goblet of Fire. Then I reread book 5 and book 6 (not in that order - really I re-read Deathly Hallows because I only skimmed it last summer and then lent it to my dad who lost it (how you can lose a twenty pound book is beyond me ) and then I read 4, then 6, then 5 which challenged my mommy brain which was good because I was flat on my back in back spasm and my brain was the only thing that was functioning without pain.). And I've been dragging my feet on Goblet of Fire - reading book 3 again (and again) hoping for a few more months of maturity. This is all helped by the fact that W. (Julia's cool friend from kindergarten, more on him later) has had all the books read to him and has disclosed key plot elements. I think this is good - less of a surprise but still I've been putting it off.

Last week, while my mother-in-law was here - Julia conned her into signing a piece of paper before telling her that it was a petition for me to let her read book 4. Then she tried to get me and Mike to sign it. When that didn't work, she "signed" it for us. A whole new career in the offing! Harry Potter petitions leading to school absentee notes leading to check kiting and identity theft. Of course at the time I couldn't stop laughing.

We're heading to NYC tomorrow and I bought a paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to may end up being our whole trip.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a Harry Potter Holiday

the kindergarten challenge:

If you could invent a holiday, what holiday would it be?

For Julia, of course, it's Harry Potter Day!

It last for seven nights (one for each book) and each day, that book's characters come to life.

Happy Harry Potter Day everyone!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

no, virgina, there is no...

It was bound to happen at some point. At 5 1/2 Julia's keen sense of the unfairness of the world celebrating Christmas while giving a token nod to Channukah has kicked in full force. We go out anywhere in LA where the Christmas songs echo through the malls, the stores, the restaurants, the streets and she says "Oh man, why are they doing Christmas songs when it's not even Christmas yet. Where are the Channukah songs?" By the way - my sentiments exactly - and as much as I'm not a super-jew, I'm not putting up a blue and white decorated bush just to roll with the masses.

So it was bound to happen. In the car after school on Friday she asked me - "Is Santa Claus real?"

Now, here's my dilemma. I'm not big on Santa as my family's personal gift deliverer, but I'm also not big on ruining other kids' magic. But, how can I perpetuate the myth of Santa when he's a guy who goes to other kids' houses and leaves them presents, skipping her house completely?

Me: Is Santa Claus real? (the buying time rephrasing of the question) Well...what do you think? (I'm working on my parental spin.)

Julia: I think no.

Me: Well, honey, I think you're right, but I think it's something we should keep between us and Daddy, OK?

Julia: Why?

Me: Well, there are some kids who still believe in Santa and we wouldn't want to ruin it for them.

Julia: Like Harry Potter? (you saw that coming, didn't you?)

Me: Right, like how you don't like it when S at school tells you Harry Potter isn't real even though you know he's not real. That he's a character in a book.

Julia: Right.


But he is real, Mommy, I know that, I saw him.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

the magical mood-altering effects of Harry Potter

preface part one: E. is the son of friends of ours we hold responsible for Mike and me having gotten together (another story) . And when Julia was a baby and he was three he would kiss her feet in her infant car seat. OK - so this is that horrible thing parents do, "that, wouldn't it be cool if they get together some day" or "it is inevitable that one of them will break the other one's heart at some point." And even though E's younger brother M is closer in age to Julia, E and J definitely have an affinity for each other.

preface part two: today, in the car on the way to school, Julia announces that her bad moods can be cured by looking at a picture of Harry Potter (this discovered, evidently on a car ride with Daddy the other day).

the conversation:

Me: so I should just carry around a picture of Harry Potter with me all the time to take you out of your bad mood?

Julia: Yeah. I like to kiss Harry. I used E. for Harry Potter the other day.

Me: (contemplating the word "used") You kissed E.?

Julia: Yes. He looks a little like Harry. And I tried to draw a scar on his forehead with orange marker.

ps - for my birthday this morning Julia gave me a gift card to Borders - to feed my addiction - a Harry Potter gift card, thus feeding her addiction.

Monday, December 3, 2007

public displays of harry affection

it is not the easiest to go to the malls (after all it is the season) when your five year old persists in throwing herself against any and all Harry Potter ads (ABCfamily was showing the second movie as part of their 25 days of Christmas though I don't know what it had to do with Christmas) and kissing them. Really. Those standee things that shift from one poster to the next? She waits for him to come up and smooches him.

What do you do when your kid's first crush is on someone who isn't real? Oh the heartbreak inevitable in any romantic pursuit. She's five and she's already throwing herself at un-attainable men. And this is just the beginning.

Note to self: start throwing change in the jar for Julia's therapy.

someone told me the other day that they had to post guards at the train station in London where platform 9 3/4 would be because kids were hurting themselves running at the wall full tilt, hoping to get on the Hogwarts Express.

that would be my kid.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

a letter to Harry

Dear Harry,

I hope that you do not marry Ginny.

Love Julia

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

how it all began...

Warning: this blog may contain spoilers if you haven't finished the Harry Potter series and/or have been hiding under a rock away from J.K. Rowling's influence.

In the days after my daughter's birth in June 2002 I delved back in the Harry Potter series to - well, basically, I'll admit it - to escape the screaming. She was the colic baby from hell but stunningly beautiful while sleeping, which it seemed she would only do while we were out, so there we would be, bleary at some brunch establishment early Sunday morning, and she'd be all angelic sleeping in her car seat as if she hadn't kept us up all night and invariably someone would look at her angelic sleepiness and say "isn't this the best time of your life?" and we'd stare at them and say, emphatically, in unison, "No." I'm still surprised Child Protective Services was never called.

Don't get me wrong - I love my daughter and I think whatever deity came up with the Pavlovian function of our hearts melting at the sight of babies' cuteness was a genius, because we'd joke day after day that if she wasn't so cute we would have tossed her out the window but there were some days when the joke didn't ring so joke-y. At all.

So rereading Harry Potter 1-4 was a lovely escape into the familiar and the fantastical, and my husband, who had seen the first movie because I dragged him to it but at that point had adamantly refused to read the books, laughed at me when one night amidst the incessant screaming and crying (hers, and perhaps after some time, ours) I told him how I couldn't wait to read the books to Julia. Perhaps it was just that in the middle of the trying to calm the screaming six week old (oh and by the way, the colic lasted a good year - overachieving even then!) he couldn't envision that that day would ever come (let's hope it was a lack of future vision and not a real plan to defenestrate the kid). But it did.

I didn't re-read any of the older books again (couldn't resist the new ones) in preparation for sharing them with Julia. And we started at the end of last winter - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - thinking that would be a sweet introduction but we'd hold out for the others later.

Who knew Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone would be a gateway drug?

We read it out loud - cover to cover - three times in a row. She conned a babysitter into reading about 150 pages of it in a night (an actress who did voices!) She listened to the book on CD at least twice more. She taught the other kids at pre-school to play Quidditch.

We moved on to book 2. I don't remember how many times we've read through that. We're on the second round of book 3. I've tried to take it slow but all the kid wants for Hannukah is for me to start reading her book 4. She's in Kindergarten. And she's a Harry Potter addict. She's going to marry the guy. Watch out Ginny.

So it's my fault, I freely admit. And that's what this blog is about - Julia & Harry...and me.