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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day Poem

Here is another poem that came with a Mother's Day gift.

My mommy cuddles me
kisses me, hugs me and misses me
pampers me, praises me, always amazes me.

Washes my clothes for me,
tickles my toes for me,
giggles and talks with me,
and also goes on walks with me,
Says "sweet dreams" to me,
Sings sweet songs to me,
I am glad she belongs to me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mulan, AJ's favorite "hero"

My kids love to watch Mulan (Disney adaptation) for our Friday/ Saturday "movie night" in nine minute segments on youtube. It's great because we can watch the movie from any point of entry, or go to a specific music sequence and watch only clips of the movie to finish early. However, apparently they watch this during the daytime too with their nanny, by special request. I guess that's ok too.

Summary: Girl pretends to be a boy and joins the Chinese army to fight the Huns in order to save her aging father from mandatory conscription. Of course Disney adds various embellishments and catchy musical tunes, but there are underlying themes of free choice in marriage, girl power, comraderie, friendship, true honor, national pride, clever strategies, stuff blowing up, and even a bit of romantic possibility between Mulan and Captain Shang after her true identity is revealed and he is no longer her commanding officer.

We also have all the disney princess stories in a pink Storybook Treasury in short story format.  Of all the princess stories, Mulan is the only story that AJ will sit straight through and listen to without being distracted. He always wants to "watch Mu-lan?" (in a very cute and earnest voice) but fortunately if I offer to "read Mulan?" when it's not movie night, he's just as happy. She's definitely his hero (for now). Maggie and AJ also love to sing the various themes such as "A girl worth fighting for..." and "I'll make a man out of you.... MYSTERIOUS as the dark side of the moon..." and they'll grab a broomstick, hockey stick, or long tube and pretend to fight and sing "Hut hut hut hut.... unafraid..." from Mulan 2. (maybe not so good). Or Maggie will go into a long lyrical diva-like sequence... "Who is that girl I see? Staring back right at me. When will my reflection show, who I am inside..."

But I love this story on many levels. It helped to explain a very complex situation such as "war" to Maggie. As far as she knows, war is about fighting the bad guyz and "kicking butt" in her words. During Brian's long deployment to Afghanistan, Maggie was always aware that he was in "KandaHAR".  I was able to explain that there was a war there. Why? To fight bad guyz and kick butt.  Fortunately that was a good enough answer at the time.

What did Daddy do in Afghanistan?

The effects of separation are still evident because she knows that Brian goes to work during the daytime, but if he leaves for soccer or shopping after dinner without really explaining where he's going, she used to think that he was leaving for Kandahar. In the past few days, he's been in Petawawa for a military excercise. The kids get a kick out of saying "PETa wawawa!"

This morning she asked me, "Why he's in Petawawa not Kandahar? (sic)" I answered that there was an excercise there, for training. "Why?" It's a pretend-war.  She also noticed that his ranger blanket was missing. This is a camo print army blanket that has been everywhere around the world with him. Funny that she noticed that was missing. All I could really say was that he took his "blankie" with him to PETa wawa! I added, haha. Great, now they always say "haha!" for each cynical situation too.

The wierdest question she asked him was, "Daddy would you die for honor?" (That's a quote from the movie) Now that's deep, how can you explain about that to a child? And the best question she's asked me is, "Where's her mommy?" Actually if you notice in all or most of the disney stories - Cinderella, Ariel, Nemo, Jasmine etc.... the mom is noticably absent (or MIA for various reasons). Well sometimes I just give a simple answer like, mommy's at work.

Anywayz I thought of this today because Mulan is always on AJ's mind.  We were reading a story about "The Princess Knight" and there's a princess who grew up training to be a knight with her brothers. So in all the illustrations of her dressed in armor, fighting with a sword or riding a horse, AJ kept saying "ITs Mulan." So cute.