When we arrived at day care today, I put Pringles in the Ergo carrier so my hands would be free to help Viva out of the car and into school. While I buckled up and tucked my back fat back in, Viva frowned and said, “Mommy, I’m sad.”
“Why are you sad, sweetie?”
“Because I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay home with you.”
Awww, isn’t that adorable? Only it isn’t me she wants to stay home with. It’s Nemo.
Since Viva outgrew the sleep-all-the-time newborn phase, I have been anxiously awaiting the day when she would start watching movies with me. Family Movie Night has been a dream of ours for almost two years. We had a few false starts. Many months ago, we sat down with our movie treats to watch “Tinkerbell.” I’d shown Viva the trailer on YouTube, and she had pronounced her decision: “I want that one.”
Five minutes in, two male characters appeared, and Viva tiptoed away from the couch to the side of the TV, pinching her belly button. Classic Viva fear body language. “I don’t like that one. I want ‘Pokoyo’.”
Another time, I got a copy of “Tangled.” The opening scene has a woman with scary eyes looking at a flower. No go.
“Madagascar 2.” Or maybe three. The opening scene had some kind of mammal scurrying around in fallen leaves. Oh. The. Horror.
Our trip to the aquarium last week paved the road for her first viewing of “Finding Nemo.” Every kid who approaches the tank full of clown fish at the aquarium cries out, “Nemo!” Viva is susceptible to peer influence now, for good and ill. She can be talked into things because her friends do it (like sitting on the toilet), but she also chews up her food and sticks her tongue out at us because her buddy Barb does it and she worships Barb. Why do they never worship the kid who sits and does math in a corner? Or who is inexhaustibly well-mannered.
“Meredith always says please AND thank you, Mommy.”
Nope, it’s always, “Look what Henrik showed me!” as she jumps off the roof of the house.
I fast-forwarded the pre-credits cold open where Nemo’s mother and all of her unborn babies are eaten by a barracuda. Jesus Christ, Disney. It’s always like this with you. I realize your intent is probably to explore childen’s greatest fear in order to effect a catharsis, but enough dead mothers already.
I haven’t watched this movie in years. This weekend, I think we watched it five times. The moment she got home from day care today, “I want Nemo” was on her lips.
Be careful what you wish for. “I can’t wait until she’s old enough to watch ‘Finding Nemo’ with me” has become. “Oh, for fuck’s sake. AGAIN?!”
Just keep watching. Just keep watching. Watching, watching, watching. Watching. Watching.