Elizabeth Banks can now brag to her two boys, ages 2 and 1, that she’s a LEGO figurine. And what could be cooler than that to a little boy? Banks stars as the voice of Wyldstyle, a LEGO Master Builder and ambitious woman on a mission, in The LEGO Movie, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures. Her boys are so excited about their mom’s new gig that they call her LEGO figurine “the Mommy LEGO.” And, to them, it is.
The LEGO Movie opens in theaters February 7, 2014, but the buzz surrounding it is already in full force. My girl and I got a chance to screen the movie last week in preparation for a media event at Legoland California to interview a few stars of the film along with the writers and the director. The film is an explosion of energy, fun and overall awesomeness that carries on throughout in a world made up of LEGOs. Emmet, the unlikely hero of the film, goes through an odyssey of self-discovery that starts when he meets Wyldstyle, and she mistakes him for the hero they’ve been waiting for, based on a prophecy, to save the world.
Aside from the hilarious adventure and the awe in how-did-they-do-and-build-all-that, The LEGO Movie delivers some deep messages to kids about discovering the extraordinary parts of themselves and realizing that, yes, everything is awesome, as the way-too-catchy main song from the movie reminds us. But parents also receive some moral grounding with a huge lesson to never forget to be a kid and nothing you may build and care for is more important than building a real relationship with our child.
On that note, we sat down with Elizabeth Banks and a small group of mom bloggers at Legoland California to chat about this business of being a mom in the midst of having a professional life. Elizabeth became a mom for the first time in March of 2011 to Felix, via a surrogacy. Just a year later, her second son, Magnus, was born via gestational surrogate as well. She’s always been very open about her struggles to conceive and writes about her “mommy stuff” on her blog.
Aside from wanting to know what her kids thought of her über cool LEGO mini figurine, we also wanted her to share how she approaches helping her kids discover what’s unique and special about them, just like Wyldstyle (sorta) guides Emmet in the movie. Elizabeth Banks shared these 5 parenting tips with us, with a few hilarious anecdotes to boot … and keep it real!
1. “Regardless of what your circumstances are, unconditional love and support go a long way.”
2. Try as best as you can to “follow your kids’ lead.”
3. “Understand that they are working out how the world works all the time.”
Banks shared with us this story: “My son spilled smoothie on the table, and I could see in his body that he just wanted to put his hand in it and spread it all over. Part of me is running to get a paper towel, another part of me knows that when he touches it it’s going to feel viscous, sticky and a little cold. He doesn’t know how smoothie is going to feel when he runs his hand through it; he thinks it’s gonna feel amazing. So you gotta kinda let them get the smoothie out.”
4. “Unless their safety is involved, I don’t think “no” is that useful when they are as little as my kids are.”
She went on to share that once her older son Felix had somehow managed to fly up and land with both his feet on his baby brother’s chest. All was fine with the baby, but Elizabeth’s first instinct was to scold Felix. She put herself in his shoes and felt how sometimes she has her own instinct to pounce on someone, but she knows better. So instead of a flat out “no” at that age, she opts to divert attention.
5. “Nobody tells you how difficult (parenting) is because or else the human race would end. It’s really hard … and joyful.”
Photo credit: David Shankbone on Wikimedia Commons