08 June 2012

The Continuing (and Apparently Never-ending) Adventures of Lightning McQueen

Have you seen Cars 2? I have. A lot.

No, really. A lot. Though, let me rephrase that. I’ve seen parts of Cars 2 many times. Many, many times. I’ve seen parts of it only once. There are still other parts that I have never seen. Because the Doozer has devised a completely new (and honestly, whack job) manner in which to view a movie.

In pieces. Out of order. The climactic showdown, followed by the first race. The end of Act 1 and then the beginning of Act 3. The part with the bomb. And the part with the bomb again. It’s like a Dadaist reimagining of a Pixar movie. And it’s bizarre.

But there’s something I’ve learned. Kids fixate. Kids obsess. Kids develop deep, abiding affections for routine and repetition. They like what they like and they like it a lot. And they must experience it over and over and over again.

Is it possible to have the Beatles ruined for you? I recently asked the wife, after the Doozer forced us to hear the one-two punch of “Drive My Car” and “Ticket to Ride” for something like the zillionth time. Wait, sorry, “Ticket to Ride” and then “Drive My Car.” That’s the correct order. According to our son.

The weirdest part about the Doozer's narrow and oft-repeated playlist? No matter how many times I hear “Here Comes Your Man,” I still can't figure out all the words Frank Black is singing. What is he saying?

Of course, just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of the routine, it changes. You put the songs in the order you think he wants to hear them, you set up the London sequence of Cars 2, and the kid changes things up on you. And then seems to question your decision, as though what you have done is crazy. It’s like he’s just discovered the concept of changing one’s mind and now that’s his new favorite thing.

I mean, I get it. I have my own favorites, songs on repeat on my stereo. And lots of favorite movie scenes (when they try to rob Alfred Molina in Boogie Nights; when Gwyneth Paltrow gets off the Green Line bus in The Royal Tenenbaums; when Indiana Jones chases down that truck in Raiders of the Lost Ark—that’s a good one). But here’s the difference: I watch the entire movie that surrounds them. In order. Usually.

So I must count it as a minor victory in parenting when I convinced the Doozer that the Pixies have recorded songs other than “Here Comes Your Man.” And that we can listen to those ones, too. Although I’m sure I will still never learn all the words.

And no matter how many times I see it, I still don’t get what’s going on in Cars 2.

He’s trying to mess with me, isn’t he?

At least he’s into movies. That’s something. It’s easy to complain about the absurdity and unpredictability of life with children. But it’s nice to know that our interests might actually intersect at some point.

And so the education continues. For both of us.

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