Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

New Moon Mania

My daughter banned me from seeing New Moon with her and her buddy. Unequivocally, no question, mom not welcome. 

I get it—my daughter is differentiating, and that’s okay. Necessary, in fact. But dang, the mania around these movies is so fun. And funny. I couldn’t help feeling like I was missing out. Last year I took Leah and another friend to Twilight—back when she would be seen with me—and the best part was watching them stamp their feet on the floor in anticipation as the opening credits rolled.

This year, I had to content myself with the movie lobby, which, when I arrived back from my various errands, contained no shortage of activity. I was there for a 6:00pm pickup and the place was flooded with people queuing for the 7:30 show, and others arriving for the 8:00 show. With Fandango tickets in hand, mind you. Sheesh. (The 3:40 matinee seemed like a good time to go—the girls only waited half an hour in the theater and easily got seats together.)

One group of women ranging in age from about 45 to 10 were dressed in Team Edward shirts. A couple of cute teen-age girls wore black sweat pants with “La Push” across their bums in bright red letters. I’m guessing this is the most press La Push will ever get.

Me, I had to content myself with the latest Star Trek movie just released on DVD. Which, honestly, is good enough for me. I’ll take hotties on the Enterprise any day. But maybe, just maybe, when Eclipse comes out in June, Leah won’t mind if I go with her. Maybe if I offer to sit in the back? 

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Movie Conflicts

 **Warning: this entry contains movie plot summary.

 So, here we are on a rainy afternoon, the perfect kind of day to go see a movie with my kids in the theater, but no one can agree on what to watch. Or rather, the kids can’t. Ty and I think Star Trek would be fun, but Leah doesn’t like sci-fi, so she decides she’ll invite a friend to the mall while we go to the movie (at the mall). Alas, no friends are to be found. So Ty decides he’ll play with a friend instead while Leah and I go see The Proposal. Again, no friends. The obvious solution is we all go together, my preference anyway, but what to see?

This is how a nine-year-old boy ends up at a PG-13 chick flick.

I’m not opposed to him seeing The Proposal, necessarily (an updated version of Green Card). He’s seen Mama Mia and Baby Mama and Tootsie. But when we run into three different neighborhood families here to see Up, I feel a little sheepish. “We’re seeing The Proposal,” I admit, and they all chuckle. And when I notice, in the theater, the audience is comprised almost solely of adult women, with a couple guys hiding in the back, I feel self conscious. My kids are the only kids here, and Ty is the size of a seven-year-old. I know nothing about this movie except Leah wants to see it and the preview on YouTube was funny.

But when the lights go down and the movie rolls, we settle in and start to laugh. The plot? A magazine editor, played by Sandra Bullock, is the boss from hell who takes her bossiness to new levels when she orders her underling male secretary, played by Ryan Reynolds, to marry her so she can retain her work visa and thus her job (she’s Canadian).

“I feel sorry for that guy,” Ty stage whispers. He gets it. Not that Bullock is subtle. So far, so good, though—nothing Ty can’t handle.

When they head to Alaska for a weekend with his parents, the movie gets funnier. Ty’s favorite quote? “You touch my ass again, I’ll cut your balls off in your sleep.” (The assistant is sort of helping Bullock climb down a ladder in stilettos, and, well, but he’s really a sweetie and that’s obvious to all and he’s just getting a little revenge. He deserves it with all he’s put up with.)

How is it, Ty wants to know, that those little body scrub cloths can cover up Bullock’s nether region so effectively, when in real life you really can’t cover up nearly so easily. (She’s wet from the shower and trying to escape an invasive pesky puppy, while the underling has taken his clothes off to change and neither knows the other is in the room. They literally collide, to Ty’s wide-eyed delight. But you don’t really see anything except naked profiles—okay, yes, full body profiles, but no boobs whatsoever.)

And then there’s the male stripper at the local Sitka bar who’s not much of a dancer but does take it off down to his black Spandex undershorts. (But he is pathetic after all, and it’s totally supposed to be funny and, anyway, I’m not sure Ty knows what a stripper is, although I think he did get the dance moves.)

Um, yeah.

On the other hand, what’s so bad about a boy watching two people fall in love (because of course they do) through a series of comic errors, even if there are naked bodies? Personally, I’d rather he watch a little kissing than tank after tank getting blown to smithereens? Hey, maybe I’m grooming a sensitive boy who will happily head off to chick flicks with his girlfriend someday and actually enjoy them, no eye rolling involved. She’ll thank me, don’t you think?

Still, I feel self conscious again when the lights go up and we all exit the movie together, Ty the shortest audience member by about two feet. As we clear the mall and stride toward our car in the rain, Ty trotting next to me, he says, “That was really funny, Mom. Totally inappropriate, but really funny.”

Thanks, Ty. Way to rub it in, buddy.

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The West End and Twilight

So that eye roll I mentioned? Didn’t last long.

The Twilight questions started just outside of Port Angeles. “Do you think mushroom ravioli is a big seller now on the menu?” “How far is it from Forks to Port Angeles? Two hours, seriously? I can’t believe Bella would drive that far for a dress?” “Do you think this is the area where she almost got attacked?” 

We actually drove around Port Angeles, at Leah’s request, to look for the restaurant, Bella Italia, where Bella and Edward ate mushroom ravioli (we never did find it, but Curt has earned himself a new respect for having once eaten there long before Bella did).

And when we got to Forks, we discovered our motel stood directly in front of Forks High School (can you hear the sighs of envy?). The sign featured in the movie could be seen from our bathroom window. If you’re not familiar with this series, it’s the story of a high school girl who moves to podunk Forks to live with her dad, where she meets a mysterious boy and falls in love. Turns out he’s a vampire. And her soulmate. I think the soulmate aspect, perfect love, if you will, is the main reason the books are such a hit (with women as much as girls, maybe even more). I admit it, I have read all the books.

Hall of Mosses trailThe majority of our weekend was not about Twilight—we visited the Hoh Rain Forest and several beaches—but it’s sure hard to avoid the craze in Forks. Even in the Hoh. We ran into a group of German teenagers, whom we later saw posing in front of the Welcome to Forks sign for photos, and the ranger at the visitors’ center told us the park is seeing a whole new kind of visitor, “Twi-hards” who arrive in Forks to commune with Edward and Bella landmarks, only to learn there is also a national park nearby with a unique rain forest. The publicity has been good for the park.

And Twilight is everywhere, even where you don’t expect it. When we were exiting a Mexican restaurant (which had no apparent tie to the series), we heard an incoming dad say to his kids, “Did you know Edward and Bella had dinner here?” I think every espresso drink in town has a Twilight-themed name (Twilight Tea, Eclipse Energizer…)

Bella's truckEnter the new Dazzled by Twilight store, and you will be overrun. We were, anyway, but it turns out we got there fifteen minutes before the tour left and the store was jammed. That’s right, tour. The store runs tours several times a day for $39 a head (and the tours are full!), taking visitors around to see all the landmarks featured in Meyers’ books, such as the Cullen house, Bella’s house, the police station, and the hospital. These weren’t featured in the movie because the movie was shot in Oregon, but they are real places that Meyers visited and used to base her descriptions on. You can also take a self-tour with a brochure from the chamber of commerce. We did neither, but on a little drive we saw the house the Cullen house was based on, a quaint Bed and Breakfast, and we did pose with Bella’s truck. My idea.

Second BeachIf you haven’t been to the Hoh, I highly recommend it. And the beaches are spectacular. I particularly loved Second Beach, near La Push (where vampires, incidentally, are not allowed). It’s wild and pristine with all the sand our more northern beaches lack. The kids loved it.

We also drove to Neah Bay and hiked the boardwalk trail to Cape Flattery, but this drive is a push for kids. Ours did it, but Leah wasn’t feeling too well after all the twists and turns. It is beautiful, though, and cool to say we’ve been to the northwestern tip of the continental United States.

vampire signAnd it’s kind of fun—amusing, at any rate—to watch the Twilight frenzy in Forks, which, by the way, is still just a little logging town. If you’ve got a tweener or a teen who’s interested, I think the peninsula is worth the trip, especially if she hasn’t seen the Hoh.

By the way, there really is a Forks Outfitters (Bella worked there), and it’s a pretty cool store.  


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Twilight Craze

Last week I took two tween-age girls—my daughter and a friend of hers—to see Twilight. If you’re not aware of the craze, this is the movie based on Twilight the book, the first in a series of four set in the little town of Forks, Washington. (The setting itself has lots of locals reading the books.)

In a nutshell, the series is the story of a high school girl who arrives in Forks to live with her police chief dad and falls in love with a mysterious boy who turns out to be a vampire. But there’s tons of rollercoaster plot, too, to keep you reading.

I think I can honestly say this is the first time I have participated in—witnessed, rather—a tween/teen girl craze at work. I’m too young for the Beatles, and somehow Cheap Trick didn’t quite do it (although I will say my sister did her share of secret swooning to Andy Gibb). And Harry Potter just wasn’t the same thing.

It was quite the eventful afternoon. Even though we’d bought tickets on Fandango, we had to wait in a long line, and once in the theatre, we were hard-pressed to get seats together (we did). The energy was palpable as we waited through the many previews for the first scene of Twilight. As the credits began to roll, Leah’s friend practically clapped her hands in anticipation, her feet thrumming on the floor. “It’s really starting,” she stage whispered, “I can’t believe it!” She could barely contain herself.

Here’s the thing: it’s not just young girls all aflutter. Their mothers are, too. Myself included. Well, not aflutter exactly…  But I had read the books over the summer, initially sort of as a preview for Leah to see if she might be interested in them, and then I got utterly hooked, and I read them all because I had to find out what happened in the end, they’re that engaging. Leah staunchly refused to pick them up, but then she went off to middle school and discovered half the school had read them and her interest was piqued. Now she’s hooked too.

I’m not sure how much Leah, at 11, understands of the romance, but I know older girls, and their mothers, are drawn to Edward, the boy vampire, who is, according to the books, drop dead gorgeous (sorry, no pun intended). But more importantly, and the girls get this, he cares deeply for Bella. Other words come to mind, words like respect, value, and honor. He’s openly old-fashioned—how can you not be when you hail from the early part of the twentieth century?—and I think it’s his chivalrous qualities that have the female population captivated. The best part, in most mothers’ minds anyway, is he doesn’t pressure Bella to have sex. Just the opposite, in fact. Stephenie Meyer, the author, has clearly struck a chord, because it’s pretty much what women are talking about, whether because of their teen girls or their own secret high school regrets, I’m not sure. 

With this story taking teens by storm, both girls and boys, I’m starting to wonder if it might set the tone for our youngsters not yet in high school, or even those already there. Will we be reading articles in the paper about new teen habits? I don’t consider myself as old-fashioned as Edward, but recently I’ve decided if that message can come from a hot boy…well, I’m all for it.

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