Monday, March 24, 2014

Date Night Movie: The Incredibles

Every week the husband and I enjoy a little dinner and a movie once the children FINALLY leave us alone - UH I mean, rest their angelic little heads in bed. Usually, we will try and find a movie that is both completely new and not appropriate for tiny people. Well, this week plans changed! Upon hearing that Pixar would be releasing a second installment of the AMAZING Incredibles movie, we absolutely had to watch the first film again. After enjoying the super adventures of the exceptional Parr family once more, we had a ton to talk about! So, we decided to share that discussion with our readers. Oh yeah! I failed to mention my partner in life is also a fellow blogger. is the awesome personal blog manned (get it because he is my man.... hilarious) by the awesome guy I call : "Hey you, come get your kids before I lose my entire mind!" 

So without further adiue I present to you (yeah, you)  Kids with Children and Reid N Write's very first

Reid N Write:
We have watched The Incredibles together 500 times, it seems. I saw it when it first came out, I loved it then because it was entertaining and Dash is a star! But now, I can see the commentary and underlying themes of the film that make it pertinent to my life. There is a huge difference between now and 2004? I have a family now. Their marriage; their parenting style; the way they interact with their peers have a greater impact on me now.

Kids With Children:
I absolutely ADORE this film. I always have, but you are so right - you see it in a completely different light once you've become an adult. It isn't just a fun cartoon, there are some heavy themes that flew right over my head. Their relationship was the first thing that stood out to me this time. Marriage isn't always easy but Bob and Helen Parr ( formerly Mr. Incredible and Elastagirl) were experiencing a kind of “rough patch” if you will. When I first watched it I didn't notice. I even wanted their relationship! Now, that I have a spouse and a family of my own you notice little signs of trouble in paradise. What do you think the major issue was?

I think their marriage was lacking passion because of Bob Parr’s desire to relive or continue his role as a superhero. He couldn't find a substitution for the thrill of "the rescue". He felt as if he was being forced to behave as if he was not exceptional. This in turn created disconnect between Bob and his family.
Helen expressed similar feelings, but once her and Bob decided to be a family she expected his full commitment to the process. Helen was trying her best to express to Bob how appreciative she was of his sacrifices.

Bob was completely preoccupied with his disdain for leading a “normal” life. Listen, it is understandable that he was miserable working that crappy job as an insurance agent. His job was basically eat sh*t, deny claims to  people in need and well - die. He not only had to be average but he had to be the bad guy. 

He was carrying it. He wasn't communicating. He was not actively participating in raising the children because he was, well- depressed.Helen on the other hand, had taken to blending in simply because she was committed to protecting her family as opposed to fighting to save a world that wasn't welcoming of their gifts. She had taken on the role of maintaining  a stable home life. She had three very important lives to protect. 

 I think the main problem was their priorities were different. I think he saw himself as Mr. Incredible and she saw herself as Mrs. Bob Parr. Being a mom made Helen feel more powerful than being Elastagirl ever did. He wanted her to be who they were before and she wanted him to commit to the family they had become. 

Well, the problem with that is communication, which is common in relationships (I would assume). Bob agreed to start a family with Helen. I think its unfair that she would ever have to go back and explain to him by saying something like “Hey, Bob, you agreed to co-parent, not be a sperm donor. Tighten it up” because  that's a part of the agreement. Bob was completely ignoring his family. Him being enamored by Dash’s super speed was only interaction he had with his kids. He was being neglectful towards his children because he was associating them with the mediocrity.

Communication was a HUGE issue. I mean, Bob literally hid the fact that he was being a superhero again! He was actively participating in THAT part of his life and not giving as much dedication to his home life. This dude, starts working out and taking better care of himself - he even threw Helen a make out session or two. But he was only motivated by what made HIM happy. He never decided to improve his attitude about his life for his wife and kids. Oh! and not to mention his decision not to communicate created serious doubt for Helen. She thought he was having an affair! She had no idea what (or who) he was doing. He left his wife to draw her own conclusions. Since you can only “assume” communication is a common issue in relationships (cough) ,what aspects of Helen and Bob’s relationship can you relate to?

Well, of course I feel like a superhero all the time, but communication is always a huge thing with me. Talking out loud is awkward when it requires that I speak about myself.

 I am an observer. I talk in bursts. So, if I speak and you, my spouse  (the person I talk to and open up to most frequently) and you do not immediately understand, I feel like I have failed as a communicator. As a result, I began to assess my entire life up until that point - completely on my own. So, I understand Bob’s sentiment, but  I have to admit, that the both of us handled these situations incorrectly.

As far as communication goes, I am your polar opposite. I am a talker. I speak up immediately when I have an issue. I also am like a wild animal when it comes to protecting my family. So, I understand Helen’s stance. The “argument” scene between the two of them stands out the most to me. He was trying to get her to understand his frustrations while she was trying to help him understand her desire to protect their family from being exposed. It isn't always easy have big dreams AND  a family, but I think all your family wants is for you to acknowledge them in the process. 

Sometimes, I have blinders on and I am so focused on doing more for the world I am forgetting to include the people who are most important. Bob isn't wrong for wanting to be exceptional. I think most of us can relate to that. He just needed to realize when you put family first they will never allow to be less than your best.

You brought up a good point about Bob’s interaction with the children, or should I say lack thereof. I will say this, I do not think he was intentionally avoiding the children, I think he, as we said before, needed to give a little more. In all fairness though, he was working full time and Helen was the stay at home parent. She had taken over the responsibility of the home and the children. Now, trust me, that is no easy task, but you get more hands on time/experience dealing with  child rearing. I felt for her in her attempts to include him in the process of raising the kids, but I also “get” why he felt the need to keep his distance. I think he was holding a grudge. He expressed his desire for Dash to participate in team sports. He wanted him to be able to live up to his full potential; to have the opportunity to be great. I will admit he was being a huge brat when decided not to attend Dash’s graduation. People disagree on how to raise their children all the time, but the children should never be pawns in your quest to prove a point to your spouse.

You also made an interesting point about the difference between Bob’s relationship with his son versus his relationship with his daughter. Do you think it is one of those classic double standards? Or is it just easier for him to relate to Dash?

First, I think you’re right, his actions towards his children were under the manipulation of his subconscious. The  relationship with the kids and Helen was just a product of her being the head of the household and him being the provider and protector. He was her support in the house because she made the rules. He didn't make the rules at work or at home, he was just a pushover with the built in ability to move mountains. Not to completely fanboy out but - 

Are you about to quote Thor?

Yes, but Thor says in God of Thunder #17 (I believe) something about having the ability to move mountains and being told that you can not solve the problem makes no sense. I assume Bob feels similarly in his situation. He has nowhere to flex his muscles. He is just a pushover. Him snapping and beating the living crap out of his boss was inevitable.

Also, yes I think this is  a double standard. Dash is encouraged by his father to be the fastest because a boy would be rewarded for this.

 He never speaks of Violet’s powers because its not going to be beneficial to her to be a powerful woman. I know this is a children’s film, but it’s there. It’s written either in the subconscious of the writer or built into Bob as a character. Violet’s power was necessary first and she couldn't use it because she was taught only to suppress her ability. Dash was given encouragement by his dad. In turn, when he was called upon to use his ability he was capable. That was the manifestation of the process.

Your new found sense of feminism is kinda hot. I never thought about it that way. Perhaps, like you said that was a subconscious thing the writer did. Or maybe he based their differences off of normal stereotypes: precocious little boy vs. angst ridden, boy crazy teenager. Remember the dinner table scene? “Why isn't anyone in this family normal?!” Violet screamed. I was a teen aged girl once (shocking, I know) and being normal IS what is considered “cool”. Being different isn't something that is celebrated in your adolescence.

Either way, you get a ton of brownie points from me for trying to see things from a girl’s perspective. I would kiss you but I worry you would be thinking of Thor.

 I like it that you dig my feminism. I find it incredible that women feel the need to submit to their men, I guess that’s to play towards the average man’s need to compensation or some sort of ego stroking.

 I digress. Bob supported Dash's passion. Bob encouraged Dash to be super. Helen always had this lingering worry that that would consume him, disallowing him the opportunity to be normal. They were forced to be regular. There were consequences for them being Super. I think that’s one of the things that’s lost on Bob. You can’t push the kids to be super, because there will be consequences.

 I know one of the things we discuss when we watch the movie is the fact that everyone needs an Edna Mode. The former super-suit seamstress turned fashion maven. She was a huge supporter of supers.
Edna supported Bob and Helen's dreams and in turn was feeding her own. She is the character I am most similar to because if I am in it, I will give my all and then some for you to be your best. This is why I am very selective about the people that I allow into my life. I become invested.

 She cared enough about the people she worked with to prepare their attire in a way that was conducive to their skill-set. That’s being invested. She was the one that encouraged Helen to be see for herself what Bob was doing. She knew Bob wasn't cheating, but she wanted her to stop drowning herself in her home life enough to understand him and also stop being so dismissive of everything that wasn't her children. That’s an extremely complex role for someone that got so little screen time. "E" was the guiding light helping them repair their communication problems.

So you can relate to E, huh? My, isn't your self esteem high! I honestly thought now that I am a mother, I could relate to Helen more, but 10 years later I still see myself in Violet.

 I am insecure about my abilities. Quite often I wish I just wanted “normal” things. It seems so simple. I never want to be in a situation where I fail and my skills aren't enough. I felt her pain when she was unable create a force field to protect her mother and brother. Been there. I have on more than one occasion let fear cripple me and leave unable to get the job done.

I agree that Edna played a huge part in helping the Parr’s reclaim their position as Supers. She was aware of their abilities and had complete and total faith both their powers and the strength of their union. She wouldn't even allow them to refer to themselves as anything other than Elastagirl and Mr. Incredible in her presence! Her pushiness- er I mean, PERSISTENCE paid off big time in the end. For the Parr family AND the world.

Look at you opening up to the world. Your fear works well with my mindset that I can do absolutely anything. I am a firm believer that I am so much of a perfectionist, that I needed the nonchalant-carefree combination bestowed upon me by Autism and ADHD in order to properly function!
But, Yes, Edna was their connection to the good old days. Bob spent a large portion of his time longing for the past. Edna only wanted that part of their lives. It powered her dreams. I have a difficult time referring back to people from my past because its so much different than my current existence.

 I wish I had a Frozone- Bob's best friend and fellow Super. Someone that would be in the here and now, the present, and the future. It would be ideal. I feel like we have that. We drift into conversations frequently about the past, but we come back. I need a few friends to hangout with for when your ass decides to make friends, finally. I refuse to be the husband at home wishing they had friends because no one else can let go of the past.

 I feel pretentious even writing that, but hey, my truth right? Helen had to forget it, Bob couldn't let go of it. It was a natural conflict. Then, of course, there is the theme of time, holding on to your past is a way not maintain your youth. 

I tend to believe athletes and actors maintain their youth the longest because they manage to continue doing things that we all associate with our youth. How awesome would it be to be a superhero or create a cartoon? We would be forever young then, right?  We would all be Jane Fonda. Holding on to your youth beats the hell out of holding grudges and growing up vengeful like Buddy did though, right? He could have easily learned from his past and used it to motivate him to do something positive. Is it a difference in personalities that makes someone choose to become vengeful versus using their past to make something valuable?

I am not completely sure. Personality may play a part in how you cope with a hurtful past. Buddy felt as if he was excluded from Mr. Incredible’s valiant past. He wanted more than anything to be “Incrediboy” Mr. Incredible’s side-kick. We all know his denied request to assist his favorite hero was warranted. I mean, c’mon kid. “ You could get hurt”. Buddy over time felt like the only way he could be exceptional was to fabricate the skills of others and use his new found power to harm the very people he wanted so badly to be. 

 The past was a still motivator for him, but he was using to fuel his negativity. He felt excluded, I am sure that hurt. If you do not chose to move on from  being hurt, it can quickly manifest as rage.He wasn't given the support he begged for. So, in his situation it is less about personality and more about what your past entails. It is easy for Mr. Incredible to  look back on his past fondly; his dreams of recreating it are understandable - he was considered amazing at that point in time. Those were happy times for him. But if like Buddy, the past made you feel unhappy, unwanted and/or unimportant you want to recreate it simply to prove to whomever  hurt you that you have taken your power back. 

While I understand the desire for revenge, I know for a fact that it will not end well for you. Even if I hadn't learn that fact on my own… Buddy for sure is a suitable cautionary tale!

As I said earlier, I never noticed any of this ten years ago. I had yet to experience raising a family and/or being a part of a committed relationship. One thing about this movie has remained the same. It is a great depiction of the power of love and family. You enter the Parr's household during trying times, and you get to witness these people learning, fighting, growing and being extraordinary AS A TEAM. This movie is indeed a classic. I love it that I can enjoy it with my children and also watch for the 10,000 time over beers with my spouse. Their story is universal. When you take a spouse, when you raise children, you are deciding to give your best to a group of people. You are committing to not only your dreams and aspirations but to being a key player in the accomplishments of your loved ones. When your loved ones are exceptional, so are you. Isn't that incredible?

Seldom am I excited about the prospect of a movie sequel, but I am super stoked about seeing the Parr's on the big screen once again. I wonder what lies ahead for our favorite superhero family? Will Bob and Helen be better communicators? Does Violet feel more confident about her powers? Is Dash still participating in athletics? Will they ever find Jack Jack a new sitter?

I appreciate the help from my fellow blogger, co-parent and "LOVAH", I look forward to many more date night movies, tons more joint articles and  maybe a tiny it less of your oddly placed Thor references. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

" So What, I Don't Care!"

Remember when you were young and "So what, I don't care" meant doing dangerous, reckless, crazy things? I can recall a time in my life where not caring equaled fun. I didn't care if I missed curfew. I didn't care how many cigarettes I smoked. I for sure didn't care to whom I gave my time or, more importantly, my heart.There was an exact moment when I turned 16 that I could feel an intense force taking over my entire life. “who cares?” I did not concern myself with the feelings of others. I could care less about the news or what was happening in the world. I remember feeling like being an “adult” meant living without restrictions. Good Lord, I was a complete imbecile.

I made a ton of mistakes in my younger years. I missed out on opportunities. I made an enormous amount of life altering [bad] decisions. I gave my heart to someone who did not deserve it. Valuable time could have been spent improving who I was as person. I think to most young people believe that sounds selfish. It’s not. It is necessary in the process of becoming an adult. I think not granting yourself the time to learn who you truly are is denying the world your piece of the puzzle, and that is selfish. Yes, at 18 you are legally able buy cigarettes. Sure, at 21 you can purchase alcohol, but neither of those things prepare you for the world; a world that you have yet to REALLY experience. My immaturity told me not caring would allow me to truly experience life. I could have enjoyed what life was really about sooner had I not “cared” so little.
Today, I sat in front of my computer and just laughed at myself. I can still remember turning off my brain so I could “enjoy” myself. It is a journey; tapping into yourself. How freaking funny is that? I have to go on some quest into another dimension to find ME. One would think, “I know myself, I am standing in my own body all of the time!” I tell myself this constantly. Meanwhile, every day I wake up I feel less and less like the girl I used to be. Now I am a mother. Now I am in love; true, unconditional love. You would never catch me saying, thinking or doing 99% of the things I did 10 years ago. That person feels like a bad coming of age movie I watched late one night. It isn’t ME. That is the beauty of existence. You are changing. You are evolving. No, you aren’t going to sprout wings or a third leg but you will surely blossom- if you allow it; if you embrace it.
There are a ton of things I have convinced myself that since becoming a parent I can no longer do. “I am too old for that.” “Moms can’t do those things.” “…Maybe when the kids grow up.” I AM NOT EVEN THIRTY! And frankly, age isn’t even a factor. I am alive! I have had to deal with the fact that decisions I made in my past greatly affected my future. I have to deal with the fact that I deferred attaining my dreams. BUT they can still come to fruition. I am not done or washed up. I am allowed to care. I am allowed to want. I am allowed to aspire to be exactly who I have always wanted to become. I can know myself enough to feel confident in my skills.  I am now mature enough to not be used or mislead. You cannot disrespect or mistreat me.  I do care. I care about being happy. I care about making a difference in the world. I want my children to learn from my mistakes and successes.
My family picks on me for “feeling too much.” I cry during commercials. I get angry when I see innocent animals run over in the street. I am offended when someone else is disrespected. I like being this way. Because I know what it is like to be someone who is completely disconnected from themselves and from the rest of the world. It isn't a good feeling. I had my first child at 18. I remember the weight that came with loving something as much as I did him. It was suffocating at times. Now, I can love everyone and everything and it feels… comfortable. Now here comes the kicker. Do you want to know how I can feel this deeply and not feel like an empathetic noose is tied around my throat? Because I don’t care.

“Now she’s just screwing with us!!” 

Unknot your knickers and bear with me. I can feel the REAL "So what, I don't care" settling in as I age
I care about my safety and yours
I care about my family and yours
I care about my life and yours
I care about my dreams/goals and yours
What I do not care about is what people will think of me when I speak up for myself, my spouse, my CHILDREN (sweet Jesus) or when I speak up for anyone else on this planet who isn't able to speak for themselves or simply doesn't have enough support. I do not care what you think about my physical appearance. I don’t care about your opinions of my family. I don’t care if you are offended by my support for people loving whomever they choose. I do not care if you do not like it if I call out your hypocrisy. I do not care if you think God does not love me or vice-versa for questioning organized religion. I do not care if you are annoyed that I remind you racism, homophobia, poverty, and slavery still exists. I do not care if you choose to never read a word I write. I will continue to do it. I believe this is the “me” that I lost. I have a voice and a soul and a purpose that I am going to utilize. I am a mother, yes. I have a ton of mom-related duties on my plate. My boobs are not as perky as they used to be, unfortunately, but I will be the person I was meant to be all along-for my children. Hopefully when they are crazy teenagers and they think being reckless and saying “so what” will grant them freedom, they will know that true freedom comes from knowing exactly who you are and not caring who doesn't like it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

In Remembrance of Chickese : Mom's Best Friend

It was 4 am last Wednesday, when I heard someone at our backdoor. I jumped up! I was alone. Everyone was asleep and I was, of course, watching Babysitters Club on Netflix. (Shut up its classic television). "What should I do?" I thought. There was no time to run and get my husband. They could break in the door before that. I grabbed a weapon -the broom. I was ready for war. Suddenly, I heard an odd squeal followed by a loud bark. I looked out of the window. I could put aside the notion of fighting off super villains, it was only A ROOSTER. Yes, one of my “eclectic” neighbors is the proud owner of a full grown boy-chicken (That isn't sexist, is it). What he does not own is a farm. I mean, we barely have grass. Luckily, I was rescued by the neighbor’s dog; a sweet little pooch that plays soccer my the boys and eats their snacks every afternoon. She was protecting our house from the evil chicken. I was so grateful. I have always liked this little dog. She favored my kids over the rest of the children on our street, and early that morning she was our furry security guard. As my canine hero ran for home I thought “I have to be sure to bring her a treat and tell her thank you”. I never did.
Today, the kids came home and told me she had died. I instantly felt a sense of grief. No, this dog was not mine, but she had become a part of my children’s lives. I work from home while somehow managing (or not) to raise three little boys. Most days I am extremely overwhelmed. I pray for peace and quiet before the children even wake up in the morning. Activities like using the bathroom alone or eating while seated are faint memories of a life I no longer live. One day, while my children were out in the yard whining incessantly about their “extreme boredom”, a dog wandered onto our property. I was initially hesitant. Where did this dog come from? I went outside to survey the scene. As I opened the door I heard a roar of laughter. This dog was entertaining my children! She danced around their legs; ran relay races; she even sat on her hind legs while they ate their afternoon snack. After that day, she trotted directly into our yard as soon as my boys appeared outside. For at least 2 hours a day, their dad and I lived in a world free of complaining and moaning. This dog was a Godsend!
My youngest son is Autistic. He seldom allows anyone (man or animal) to invade his personal space. I watched the small dog approach my son differently than she had his older brothers. First she barked at him to get his attention. Once their eyes met she lowered her head to the ground and lifted just her eyes. They were completely focused on one another. She whined for him to pet her, just once though, she was being patient with him. He slowly approached and the adorable hound stayed completely still. He pet her head, before quickly pulling his hand back. She remained completely still. This process lasted a few minutes before my normally reserved child was on the ground giggling and smiling. He was enjoying the company and the affection. We took dozens of pictures while we watched in amazement as he connected with this animal. I was amazed by her intuition. Again I thought about doing something for her in return, and again, I did not.

   I like to believe that quiet doggie was trying to give me a little help. It may sound a little strange to some, but every mom needs a little assistance now and then. Mine just so happened to have four legs.  I had a mommy ally and took it for granted. She helped protect my puppies from little neighborhood bullies. She entertained them all summer long. She would even bark if they got too close to the street.  I wish I could have done something more than pet her head a few times to show her my appreciation for all she had done. I'm sure this all sounds incredibly silly, but it is not easy raising kids. And you take the help where you can get it. Recently she gave birth to two adorable pups. Those poor babies are now motherless. My heart breaks for her children. We should make sure to return the favor, and look out her pups as she did ours. She was a living, breathing creature who died too soon.  Thank you, little dog for all of your help. You will be greatly missed and forever an honorary member of my family.

"People have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love - the deepest kind of love. It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts," he said. "There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have - a wonderful world.” ― Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows