Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are - Review

So, we've read the book, today we went to see the movie. I've seen a few reviews of Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers' interpretation of Maurice Sendak's classic book but here's ours.

It starts with a crashing thump on an out of focus camera. Then you see life through a ten year old's eyes. It's fun being ten. It's great to have no cares in the world. Life's a one sided snowball fight. Except when life becomes far from fun and other people's cares take over yours. And your igloo gets trampled on. You really see Eggers' influence here. The first ten minutes try to make you cry, and probably would have succeeded if it wasn't for a 9 month old blowing a raspberry as Karen O's music kicked in.

If you've seen the monsters on the trailer you'll know that they are believable both as puppets and real monsters. They act and live the way an adult imagination would want them to. I went with Aidan who was too young to judge if this worked for children. But I had his 3 year old cousin in mind and then thought of a ten year old like Max. Would he like it? Basically, the film makers could learn from good pantomine; entertaining adults who take their children to be entertained. This is a childlike film for adults who loved being children so much, even though they now pay taxes, a little piece of them wants to be running around like a maniac until the end-of-lunchtime bell goes.

It's about hope and hopelessness, family and family break-ups, building relationships and letting people down, lying and truth finding. While the adults who take their kids should be dreaming about what life could be like if it wasn't for responsibility, they will probably be worrying if their children are enjoying it.

Aidan loved the chases and fast music but there wasn't enough, for him or older children too. He entertained himself, though. He climbed the steps of the movie theater.

It's fun then serious and not at all as scary as I expected but definitely a wasted opportunity for the kids. Like me at school when I was Max's age, it could do better.

Moral of the story: If you want the best viewing, don't take the kids. Read the book to them and when they are old enough they can take themselves.

Driving home

"Oh no," I muttered.
"He's not, is he?" Erin looked worried.

We were only 40 minutes into our 5 hour trip home and This American Life was waking Aidan up at least half an hour early. We'd timed the trip home so the boy would take a nap straight away when he got in the car. That gave Erin and I some us time. We could choose what to do. We could chat. We could listen to music. We could daydream. We could discuss the finer points of life or joke around. We actually chose to listen to NPR. Wrong decision. There was a great report on Obama's health care reforms which took our interest and we settled in for the hour long program. Again, wrong decision. Aidan likes hearing people speak. He likes it so much he wakes up half an hour early to hear them.

As soon as we noticed, the radio volume was rapidly turned down. I don't actually remember the next 20 minutes of driving except knowing that the only time I looked in the rear view mirror was to check out whether or not there were two little eyes open or closed. They were always open. He may have been letting out the noise of going back to sleep but showed no bodily signs.

Why worry? You might wonder. Well, he's usually fine for a couple of hours in the car but the tailend of trips can be harrowing. At least if he gets an hour of sleep we know the terror of the end of the journey can be managed.

We know the end can be bad which makes for anxiety in the middle as you worry if he's just going to break down.

Thankfully as he's becoming more used to travelling in a car he's getting better. Sunday's trip home was rather fun. Erin popped in to the back seat and entertained him with toys, food, snapping the hood of his car seat up and down and just generally making him giggle until we had a pit stop for both the car and us.

Next came a big test for me. Erin said she'd drive the rest if the way. I'd never been in control of the back seat at the end of the journey before and was petrified. This was made worse by the goal of keeping him awake as well as not crying.

Luckily we found a new game. Those who believe that adults carry millions of germs in their mouths will not like it but we had fun. Aidan would pass his dummy from his mouth by his hands to my mouth. I'd then suck away, which he found hilarious, then give him back. That passed on a good fifteen minutes. Then with the radio as our backing music Erin and I sang to him and got him home, got him in bed and that was the end of a succesful trip home.

We could finally relax to the state we originally felt when we first put the radio on.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eugsters Farm

Last weekend we did the fall pumpkin pick. With hot apple cider in our bellies on the coldest sunny day I have encountered we went on a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Brrr.

I want this one.

We need to get Ade his own gloves.

After the pumpkin pick Erin took Aidan off me. While I sat next to them silently thinking I was dying a cold painful death, Aidan was flirting like a crazy fool. He was next to two girls who were around 8 and 10 and they gave him the attention and giggles he needed to keep himself warm and smiling. I do wonder what he's going to be like as a teenager.

The pumpkin has the top two, he has the bottom two.

All aboard the pumpkin train

Will we ever get a good photo with S and A?

We think Aidan and Sophie are the cutest cousins. But they just can't take a photo together.


Sophie looks great on her own.

And with her dad.

But at least one of them squirms when they're together in front of a camera. Not even Great-grandma Jane can control them.

Sitting on the dock of a lake

At grandma's in late September

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sleepclimbing 2

Yesterday I cheated and he went to sleep in the car. But today we were back battling the climbing. He got to 8 times and only took 20 minutes but that's 15 longer than when he wasn't so stubbornly adventurous.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Aidan's now crawling and climbing everywhere. It's cute and fun but some things are getting a bit worrying. The first worry is when he's on a bed or raised surface. We have to be on Constant lookout for him. Then there's the corners of tables and shelves where he might bang his head if he falls while climbing on them - he's even taken to taking off the corner guards we have on the television unit. But our biggest worry at the moment is his nap time climbing.

He's not sleepclimbing but when we put him down for his lunchtime nap he immediately gets up. This might have been worsened by me reading to him - The BFG - recently while he plays before he sleeps. But the time between being put down and actually sleeping is increasing.

We've now decided to keep going to him when he gets up and put him back down. The theory is that in a few days he'll know not to climb up while sleeping- thank you Baby Whisperer. I put him down, walk out of the room and wait for him to rise.

Here's how today has gone.

1st 4 times - Up straight away.

7 th - Gives me a cheeky grin. This is fun, apparently.

10th - Still fun.

12th - Cries when he's put down.

15th - He's slowing down.

16th - Takes a while to get up and his blanket is on his head.

18th - He's tiring but very dedicated to the cause.

18 and a half - the battling is being won by dad.

The gap between 19 and 24 takes ten minutes and he's half trying to get to sleep and half climbing.

Then there's ten more trips in (20 more minutes) to put his dummy in and calm him as he cries uncontrollably.

After just over an hour he's asleep. At the opposite end of the bed from where I last placed him.

In the Baby Whisperer the first time she did this for a family it took 240 times to get the little tyke to sleep. Then it was reduced quite quickly. Ours is a tenth of that figure and seems like a lot. Exhausting.