How Monsters, Inc. Changes When You Become a Parent

So, the other day, I gave EV all of our Pixar options and let her pick which one she wanted to watch. She picked up Monsters, Inc. and said, “RAWR!!” And so, she made her choice.

Monsters, Inc. was one of my favorite movies growing up. I’ve always been a huge fan of Pixar, I even dreamed of working there someday (and reaping the benefits of their cereal wall) but alas, my calling was to make tiny Pixar fans instead. Pixar seems to do really well with storytelling in a way that is entertaining for kids but also for adults. I mean, I’m really into children’s entertainment- more than most, I gather- but most people agree that most Pixar movies are just great movies in general.

After watching the film like 5 times this week (I mean, not really watching, but you know, having it on, the only way parents watch things for a few years), I have noticed a few things that are totally different now that I’ve got kids. Even more so now that EV is practically the same age as Boo, and also, like, her twin.

Boo is a creative genius

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Based on her level of speech, physical abilities, and general demeanor, I’d say Boo is about 2.5 years old. Which means her drawings are waaayyy ahead of the game. EV is starting to reign in her creative skills, but I seriously doubt she’s only a few months away from drawing cohesive creatures. Then again, kids are pretty stinkin’ amazing at learning things. Still, Boo is probably destined to be a famous artist if she can draw like that at her perceived age. Apparently, she can also write her name (as can bee seen in close-up stills of this scene). So… what’s up with that?

 Boo’s parents are either really horrible or traumatized for life

“Remember that time when little Mary disappeared and then suddenly showed up in her room like nothing happened? Yeah, that was TERRIBLE.”

That’s what I imagine Boo’s (who I guess is named Mary) parents saying to each other a few years after the shock of their toddler being M.I.A. for like 30 hours. That, or they didn’t even notice, which is pretty awful. It’s hard to imagine this scenario, since even ignorant parents would miss their kid at night, but it’s possible her home situation is just that bad. Based on her room, though, she seems well taken care of.

One thing in their favor is that Boo is independent, happy, and really expressive. The evidence would suggest she is often left with others, perhaps in a day care setting, since she never cried for Mama or Dada the whole time, but whether or not that works in their favor is uncertain. Honestly, I’m kind of surprised there weren’t any police or sobbing parents in her bedroom any of the times they tried to put her back in her world.

Either way, I weep for them.

Oh, and to address the whole “passage of time” theory (some people believe time didn’t pass the same way in the human world, therefore the night Boo returns is the same night she left), it doesn’t really hold up when you consider that Mike and Sully showed up, from the human world, just in time to save Boo from the Scream Machine. Speaking of the Scream Machine…

The Scream Machine is 1000x more terrifying

Yes, the idea of a machine that rips screams from you is pretty darn scary. As a kid, I was totally not cool with it. As a parent, that whole idea makes me want to punch a hole in the wall. When you’re a kid, you look at the world as it applies to you. When you’re a parent, you think of it as it applies to your kids.

So Randall and Mr. Waternoose are better off dead, in my mama bear mind. I’ve been through forced torture on my kid before, and all I have left to say is NO. Screw the scream shortage. I nearly cried when Boo was strapped into that thing. “What would her parents do? Omg, I would murder them all!”

Yeah, that’s what was in my mind. Pixar turned me into raging monster, and they didn’t even have to animate me.

Monsters, Inc. teaches something uncommon in the film industry

As much as I might gripe about the inconsistencies I now notice, I’ve realized something hopeful about this movie that I never had before. It teaches a very simple lesson:

Toddlers are people too.

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In movies, it seems largely ignored that toddlers are complex individuals all on their own. While most movies with a toddler character treat them only as they benefit the story of the older characters, MI doesn’t do this. Boo is not only an accurate representation of a toddler, presumably because she was modeled after and voiced by a real toddler, but she actually grows as a person in the course of the film. Her unique problems and victories are responded to by the main characters. It’s touching, really. Even Mike, the trademark “put that thing back where it came from or so help me” guy, grows to appreciate her as an individual.

Frankly, we could do with more films that treat toddlers this way. It may be easier for everyone but their parents to ignore them until they have fewer tantrums and better ideas, but they care so much more about the world than we realize. They treat everything they experience with all they got, whether good or bad, and our job is to help them figure it all out.

The compassion that Sully has for Boo is something we don’t see often in movies. The way Boo grows as a person, despite the fact that she’s a toddler, is also not often in movies. But these things happen every day. In fact, it’s my daily life. So I really appreciate it.

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Monsters, Inc. Especially after having my own little Boo.

Qualms about #nofilter

We have messed this one up good, fellow Instagrammers.

You know how, like, errrrbody uses hashtags these days? Yeah, that’s fine. But you know how, like, some people use errrrrry hashtag on the planet in one picture? That’s kinda annoying sometimes. But still, whatevs.

What we rly messed up lately is #nofilter. I am certainly not a fan of misusing hashtags, obviously. And I am absolutely positive that people use popular hashtags on purpose so that other people will look at their pictures, WHICH IS FINE, but not really when the hashtag has NOTHING to do with the picture, or perhaps, is basically a lie.

Exhibit A

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This particular hashtag is closing in on 100 million posts. And I really don’t think people understand the intention behind this one. Maybe I’m the one out of the loop here. So let me clarify. A #nofilter photo should meet these requirements:

1) There is, indeed, no Instagram filter on the picture, and
2) The picture is true to being straight from a lens, without editing OR is very minimally edited, but still true to what the subject of the photo looks like in real life.

I think most people only follow rule 1, and some just don’t pay no mind.

You see in Exhibit A, basically all the pictures are edited in some way. Pictures 3, 4, 7 and 12 are the only ones that look like they didn’t use a filter or edit, but the rest of them look at least a little edited. #1 for example. No filter? Really? They must live in a very high exposure, low contrast, warm-colored environment. Pictures 5 & 6 have a vignette, which I doubt is pure luck, pictures 9 & 10 have clearly used Instagram filters (or a comparable editing program), and picture 11 is BLACK & WHITE, which would be impressive if it weren’t edited, but it is.

I used #nofilter once. I took an impressive picture of the Angel Oak that required zero editing. I thought, “I should put #nofilter on this so people can enjoy it along with the other impressive photos that are hard to believe haven’t been edited.”

Exhibit B

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This is that picture. After I put it up, I thought, “Actually, I might enjoy looking at cool pictures.” I was disappointed. Because I saw something like Exhibit A. And because it’s so popular, all the cool pictures that do end up there, like mine, get pushed down by the others almost instantly.

Now, I certainly have misused hashtags. I’ve broken my own guidelines, and perhaps I have done so once or twice intentionally. And really, I’m not even so sure that my rule of 3 or 4 hashtags per post matters that much. I look at some businesses reaping benefits from using a TON of them, and that’s cool with me!

What I don’t get is why, if people aren’t going to follow both rules of #nofilter, it makes any difference at all. Sure, you can follow the first rule and edit the original picture into oblivion, but why? Why would anyone care?

I suggest that people start putting, like, 5 filters on their pictures and using #mofilter! Save the other one for stuff you might actually like to see without a filter.

Goodness me, I feel like I should have a whole category for my comments on social media etiquette!

My Response to this Weird Products List

So today, I ran into this list called 42 Weird and Hilarious Products That People Actually Used In The Past.

That’s a ridiculously long title, I know. But it’s not as ridiculous and some of the things on the list.

After looking at it and surviving a couple of heart attacks, I thought it would be fun to give my take on some of these “products”. For the sake of brevity, I won’t respond to all of the items on the list. Instead, I will group a few of them into collections Continue reading

Online quizzes have an enemy in me

Yes, yes, everyone with an internet connection has done one. A quiz. For entertainment, of course. What is your spirit animal? Which Doctor Who companion are you? What kind of fruit matches your personality?

It’s silly, but it’s good fun.

For everyone but myself, that is.

You see, I like to take these quizzes just like everyone else. A lot of people find that the results are surprisingly accurate, even if they might be a tiny bit contrived. Why wouldn’t it be right? You know yourself pretty well, don’t you?

Yeah, well, I like to think I do know myself, and that’s why I’m so confused when the last two dozen “quiz” results I’ve gotten are so very off. Continue reading

#Hashtagsareoverrated

Let me just explain my understanding of the whole hashtag phenomenon. One day, I began to notice that people on twitter were using the pound symbol to precede a subject, or tag, and that twitter had set it up so that all the tags would compile on a separate page. It was great for things like #funnyquotes or #momproblems, where you might be interested in looking at other people’s additions to that subject. And when a topic was “trending” or popular among twitter users, it would add some value to the participants. I mean, it’s great if you and a bunch of fellow fans can get your little known favorite band to be a trending topic!

But, hashtags have seriously devolved since their inception.

ecards-hashtags Continue reading

Why Teenagers Are Annoying

I’m not going to be rude about it. The use of the word “annoying” is not meant to be rude, it’s meant to be factual. Teens, I’m not here to tell you how to act, unless you want to appear more mature to your adult counterparts, but really, you don’t have to. Teenagers being “annoying” is really quite normal. Most of us have been there, so we don’t blame you. Much. Continue reading

Why Early Pregnancy is turning Me into a Toddler

So, ever since I moved to Charleston, I have found that my habits are slowly devolving to that of a toddler. This has been especially true since I found out that I’m newly pregnant, and I have this sinking feeling that it’s going to continue.

This is what I mean.

– I require a midday nap.
– I never feel like doing chores.
– I am cranky and cry over spilled milk.
– I am super picky about what I eat, which is mostly: pizza, macaroni & cheese, and graham crackers.
– All I ever want to do is cuddle and watch TV.

I realized that it’s getting worse when, the other day, I looked at my plate and said “I’m done.” Then Jimmy promptly grabbed it from me to clean it off while I stayed curled up on the couch. He didn’t even realize that I didn’t hand it to him, it was so second-nature.

All I can say is I look forward to the nesting stage, when cleaning is fun or something. For now, I’ll do my best to be undeserving of a sippy cup.