We were at the park the other day, when sudden and unexpected rumbles of thunder just started to rudely throw their weight around above us, causing some children to scream and run for cover, and the mums to look moderately concerned about the chances of an impending soaking. No rain appeared, but the rapidly increasing decibels were of massive concern to my eldest child, being the quiet and sensitive one that he is. The youngest of course saw this as an ample opportunity to pick out the weak and vulnerable and terrorise them further/eat worms, whatever the main things are he likes to do to amuse himself.
The eldest, firmly in the land of ‘WHY?’ at the moment, hit me with the question: ‘Why do we have thunder?’ I may have known the answer to this at one point in my life, possibly memorised to regurgitate for SATS at school perhaps, but nowadays, with no real interest in the weather, other than whether I can get my washing dry, or which extras I need to pack to keep us all dry/warm on a trip out, I haven’t got a clue. He wouldn’t be interested in a scientific explanation anyway-he’s 3-a few lines in and he would’ve pointed over my shoulder shouting ‘mummy, I can see that cats bumhole,’ or something poo/wee/pants related. So I just said the first thing that came into my head: ‘The lightning says something to the thunder, and the thunder answers back.’ Check. Me. Out! I had just quoted a Julie Andrews film! Was I turning into a Hollywood/Disney parent?! When people think of the epitome of the perfect parenting figure, another Julie Andrews favourite comes to mind-Mary Poppins. Could I finally be turning into this amazing, has-the-answers-to-everything, super groomed, all singing parent I had always dreamed of being?
Well, maybe I’m actually better than this… Let’s really think about it. In The Sound Of Music, Maria is sent to look after 7 kids as a punishment for her total lack of commitment to the cause, and rule breaking, at the nunnery. The nuns knew this was going to be a tough gig, and I bet they thought that looking after 7 of them would definitely have her running back and begging to take that vow of chastity. I became a parent because I was a romanticist, not a rule breaker-I already have the upper hand one of Hollywood’s mother figure icons! Maria then engages the children in activities she has been strictly forbidden to let them take part in, and encourages them to consistently lie to their father about it. In a surely misguided attempt at becoming BFF’s, she also covers for Liesl when she is found sneaking back in through a window after having snuck down a drainpipe to snog, and perform pirouetting split leaps around a glass gazebo, with a Nazi sympathiser.
She endangers the lives of the children by taking them on a boat trip with no life rings on board, and no prior strategy as to how she would single handedly rescue them all should the boat sink/upturn. We don’t even know if she has gathered information on whether all of them can swim. Not content with corrupting the children to totally rebel against their Father’s every core value, when The Captain finally finds happiness with another woman after years of misery over losing his first wife-Maria is having none of this. She makes swoony eyes at him over a grotesque puppet show, trying desperately to catch his attention with her vocal yodelling gymnastics. When this fails, she finally seduces him at a party, in full view of all the other guests, and his fiancée. Some seriously questionable life lessons here Maria, don’t you think?! Ok, so she has a mini wobble of consciousness about this, and runs back to the nuns, where she still can’t commit to the cause, but only gets the guy for sure, when the baroness leaves The Captain, having witnessed the Laendler Of Seduction between him and Maria, and leaves to maintain her dignity.
Mary Poppins: Ok, this Disney parenting favourite is clearly into two things-witchcraft, and drugs. She floats in, out of nowhere, and nobody questions who she is and where she came from-clearly she has spent years honing the skills of the occult, and is a certified witch. Her skills of bribery are that blatant, that nobody has ever questioned the cutesy song made up about them-‘A Spoon Full Of Sugar Helps The Medicine Go Down.’ Right, so she doesn’t bother to hide the fact she is bribing the children, and goes straight in for the hard stuff when doing it-she offers pure sugar on a spoon as a reward for doing what she wants!! She doesn’t even hide it in a biscuit, or any other snack that might look good in public to onlookers, but is really laden with the sugar hard stuff-she offers pure sugar. Such are her skills, nobody has ever questioned this.
She too is no stranger to endangering the children’s lives, by letting them run around on rooftops with a hoard of unruly tap dancing and can-canning chimney sweeps, and let’s not mention her weird relationship with Bert-how the hell do they know each other? My ultimate conspiracy theory is that the elusive ‘spoonful of sugar’ she is offering to help the ‘medicine’ go down, isn’t actually sugar at all. It appears probable that it is actually either a) a hallucinatory drug causing the children to think they can jump into paintings, and meet men who can float on the ceiling, where she can have a good witchy laugh at them while they’re high, or b) a sedative so that the children just sleep all day while she puts her feet up reading Witch Weekly and getting sloshed, and the children just dream the entire trippy events of the film while they are out for the count.
So there you have it-if these are the finest in Hollywood/Disney parenting figures the world has to offer, I think it’s actually me who is Practically Perfect In Every Way!!
Thanks for reading!