She blazes in like a typhoon. A typhoon with a penguin waddle (if typhoons had legs). A typhoon with a penguin waddle with flapping arms stretched out at either side like a bird in flight. This is what one might envision when watching Abby run around our house, most likely chasing her brother. Or looking for her brother. Or terrorizing her brother. Pick one, any single or combination of these three. They are each a common occurrence betwixt Abby and Wyndham on any given day.
She adores him and sees him as pretty much the coolest person ever. He is at once the immediate subject of her charming and doting affection as well as her mischievous, and at times antagonizing, ways.
Abby’s animated walk/run/waddle is something that I just can’t get enough of. It does this pinchy twist to my chest, in the region where my heart resides. Which, as a former self-processed skeptic of true love (at least in regards to ever finding it myself) is quite the feat. It happens in the most unassuming ways — the slow, creeping and constant reaffirmation that true love in a family, even when life is bat-shit crazy (which is all the time when there are toddlers involved), is totally possible.
It happens especially when I watch the raucous sibling relationship between my toddlers develop. And as I watch them play, as they use their imaginations to create games and activities for themselves as they are inspired to do so by what they see and experience in the world around them.
A classic example of this would be how their current obsession with the movie Frozen (which we’ve seen three times) has dribbled on down into their everyday vocabulary. They’ve developed a game in fact, they call it, “Playing Frozen.” It’s pretty simple. One of them is either the snow monster or the savior and the other gets to be frozen. How it works is that whoever the hero(ine) is, that little human also switches back and forth between being a really scary, mean snow monster to the kind and loving sibling that will un-freeze their sibling with the hugs and kisses of true love. Usually a third person is called in to be the one to hug and kiss the snow monster into either being nice or disappearing, leaving the sweet sibling in its place. This game is often played outside (conveniently, in the snow and ice of our Northern Canadian backyard), where climbing snow mountains and defeating whatever foe their imaginations stir up, to get to the Frozen One, to save them. Gender has no place in this game. Abby and Wyndham take turns being Elsa and Anna, or the Snow Monster, or Olaf, or Sven. Sometimes Kristoff gets called into action, but never Hans. No one likes that guy. They often shout, “True love saved the day!” Or, “Hurry, only true love can save her/him,” to other players.
This is the first time I’ve witnessed a movie really affecting how my toddlers understand a concept — and a big one at that. The concept of love, something you feel but can’t see, is no easy topic to make one’s child understand — mostly because NO ONE has it all figured out when it comes to love. They’ve surely felt the joy and pain that comes with love, but without always understanding why. Wyndham in particular is learning about how love can also mean compassion and kindness for others.
It was on the eve of Winter Solstice, when we were gathered around the fire in the snow and ice, bundled up during our annual ceremony to celebrate the coming of the light of longer days and Festivus celebrations, that I heard Wyndham’s own personal description of what true love is. During this small gathering of family and friends, each went around in the circle sharing what they loved about the past year, what they were thankful for and what they learned — what they wanted to improve upon for the new year.
When it came to Wyndham, he asked if he could talk and, surprised, we of course said yes. Fresh on the heels of having seen Frozen for the first time, he went into a very detailed description of the relationship between princess Anna and her sister Elsa the Ice Queen. He went on to describe the gist of the movie and that in the end, he learned that true love conquers all. That’s actually what he closed his last sentence with. I mean, seriously — you can’t tell me that’s not adorable. Well, maybe you can and that’s fine, because you’re wrong anyways.
I’m not going to complain about princess culture, or movies where girls are told they talk too much and songs are sung about, “What makes the red man red?” I’m not going to let the past overshadow my kids’ experiences. Times are changing and so are movies in their messages and depiction of what a hero or heroine is. Frozen is a FANTASTIC movie. I love the snot out of that movie — and many other children’s movies. Yet, I’m still that mom who doesn’t want her daughters pining after the dream that someday her prince will come. I’m very pleased with the movie’s twist on the notion that true love conquers all, successfully subverting the fairytale status quo. Love from a sister, and as I watch before my own eyes in our little family, from a brother, too.
More Babbles From Selena…
- New Year, Saner Me: 10 Things I’m (Trying) To Do Before The Kids Wake-Up
- Holiday In Review: Our Best One Yet
- A Daddy’s Love
- 10 Things I’ll Never Regret Doing With My Kids
- 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Hope My Toddlers Make For 2014
- 20 Unique Challenges That Parents of Toddlers Face Everyday
Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here and on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Elsewhere on the Internets … ia her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve