Tag Archives: Disney

How to flirt like a 4-year-old

1 Oct

Tonight my 4-year-old gave me a master class in how to flirt. She was good. I’ve been married for 7 years and with my husband for 18 years in total so maybe I’m just out of practice but, boy, was she good. This evening we entertained a tall, dark and handsome plumber. And one of us was wearing a nightie (hell no, not the plumber!).

She was slick. She was girlie. She giggled QUITE A LOT. There was no self-consciousness, just utter self-confidence. He was on her territory. He was Playdoh in her hands.

How did she do it? Being cute and blonde isn’t enough. Looking like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth helps but you’ve got to have tactics. Here’s how to reduce a grown man with tattoos to talking in a silly voice:

  1. Tell him your name (first name, middle names, surname). Tell him that you’ve been to ballet. Tell him that you have a brother (don’t mention that your brother is only 18-months-old).
  2. Show what excellent marriage material you are by offering to mop the floor for him. (And in doing so reinforce outdated gender stereotypes. Shame on you, daughter of mine.)
  3. Take him on a tour of the house under the pretence of looking at radiators. Giggle when he asks why your radiator isn’t pink. Show him your Playmobil.
  4. Whilst he has both hands busy with his phone, and with no observance of personal space, gently toy with the key fob attached to his belt (whilst your mother tries to bat you away from said keys without indulging in any toying herself).

They say that dogs and children and babe magnets. If I was single I’d be hitting the town with my daughter and letting her do all the hard work. She’s not learnt all this from me so I’m led to wonder where the nelly she has acquired the skills. Have I been whinging about the much flaunted feminine wiles of the Disney princesses for all this time when in fact they’re just demonstrating what comes naturally? I’d hate this to be true – especially when it doesn’t get you any money knocked off the bill.

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The crack police

10 Apr

Call it what you will – intergluteal cleft, vertical gluteal crease, bicycle park, builder’s bum – we’ve all got one: a bum crack (or butt or ass crack, if you will). There isn’t a pleasant name for it. As a meeting point for the buttocks, it doesn’t have a specific purpose other than perhaps as a quasi pair of velvet curtains to drape the least pleasant exit point in our body. Such is the personal nature of the bum crack, we tend to keep them covered up. Even the skimpiest of thongs gives a nod to the sanctity of the bum crack.

Of course bum cracks do occasionally make a bid for freedom and unless the offending crack is hairy and sweaty this generally raises a giggle rather than disgust. I assumed this was a universal reaction. On a recent trip to the US, however, I was amazed to discover the existence of what I can only call the Crack Police. Upon arriving at one of the Disney parks, poor Mr C&P was taken aside by a security guard:

“Excuse me sir, but I … errr … thought I should … errr … let you know that you are showing your … errr …crack. You might want to … you know … just in case … you know.”

He was obviously embarrassed but clearly not embarrassed enough to stop him pulling someone aside and having a serious word. Is showing your bum crack down there in the Disney Rulebook alongside not taking Mickey’s name in vain and not mentioning Donald’s speech impediment? And “just in case” of what? The mind boggles.

An amusing one-off? Well, no. It seems there is something in the American psyche that finds bum cracks enormously troublesome. A few days after the above incident, Mr C&P was carrying our daughter on his shoulders when we heard quickening footsteps behind us. I turned to see an elderly lady signalling to us and I expected her to be clutching a dropped hat or toy. But, no, she was an undercover officer from the Crack Police:

“Your little girl is showing her bum crack. I wanted to tell you just in case people … you know …”

Just in case of what??! In case 1 cm of her crack ends up in a photo on a dodgy hard drive? Hell’s bells – some perspective please! Just as Mr C&P was made to feel like a wannabe flasher, I somehow felt a bad mother. My daughter should be wearing industrial trousers pulled up under her armpits and fastened with a padlock. I’d not packed these – I’d only packed skimpy summer stuff for the baking heat. Bad BAD mother.

Florida is one of the most conservative states in the US. Topless sunbathing is illegal so maybe showing an inch of crack is perceived to be the start of a slippery slope to whipping your boobs out in the local 7-Eleven. If anyone can shed any light on this ‘interesting cultural difference’ that would be cracking.

People watching Disney style

26 Mar

There are moments at Disney World when one half of a family will be left to ponder the Disney dream. You’ll find yourself sharing a seat on a wall with the claustrophobes, the adrenaline averse, those prone to motion sickness, the tired and the downright disillusioned. But you won’t class yourself alongside these people. No siree, you’re the regular, normally fun-lovin’ guy who has a child asleep, a child who doesn’t meet a ride’s height restrictions or who refuses to queue for an hour for a five minute spin in a giant teacup. Straws have been drawn to see which family member must sacrifice their turn. You drew the short straw and you alone must deal with whatever and whoever have been left in your care. Fear not for there is plenty to do while you wait. Here are my suggestions for games to fritter away the time, all of which can be played comfortably from a seated position whilst feeding your face with a Mickey ice cream:

Who is dressed most inappropriately for the hot weather? Top points go to thick tights and all-over nylon. Look out for the ‘fashion conscious’ as there are points aplenty to be scored here.

The worst tattoo award. There will be plenty to choose from. Remember, you’re at Disney and dolphins are popular (dare I say common?) so only score one point. Bonus points go to badly executed tattoos of babies and children.

Pin the tail on the couples about to kill each other. After a magical Disney day, which ones will be taking advantage of the $99 divorce you’ve seen advertised on the roadside?

Spot the child most likely to throw a tantrum of Cinderella’s Castle proportions when they don’t get to meet Rapunzel. Sometimes this one can be a little too close to home …

Spot the child wearing the most polyester. Because, yes, in the Magic Kingdom it is okay to dress your child as their favourite Disney character in 90 degree heat and not bring a change of clothes. Note that it’s not good gamesmanship to play this in a thunderstorm as the static generated makes the spot too easy.

Guess the combined weight of the family. The weight of any mobility scooters must not be included. Really, you’ll be spoilt for choice with this one.

As the name of one saccharine ride at the Magic Kingdom states “It’s a small world”, and at Disney World you’ll find a microcosm of the world’s good, bad and ugly. If you enjoy people watching then this is truly the place ‘Where Dreams Come True’.

If you’d like some super (and proper and practical!) advice on a trip to Disney World visit SAHMlovingit’s Beginner’s Guide to Orlando and Walt Disney World.

Tiny waists and rubber dresses

27 Sep

I think I may be turning into a boring old fart, tutting at the length of skirts and preparing to lock up my daughter. What made the polyester in my cardigan crackle this week was (yet again) the Disney idea of the female form. Yawn! Yawn! It’s all fantasy, get over it, I hear some cry, but my 3-year-old revels in the princess fantasy and I don’t want her to grow up thinking that this is normal or indeed desirable:

They made me feel quite ill (although not as ill as they look). As the words “what kind of role model are they?” fell out of my mouth my husband looked at me like I’d whipped off my bra,  strung it up and was holding a match to it. According to him the dolls are built like Twiglets for a practical reason – they are dressing up dolls and thus it needs to be easy for grubby fingers to get their rubber dresses on and off. Re-read that last sentence and yes it does sound like Snow White and Cinderella are putting food on the table by working the gentlemen’s clubs.

But now I’m sullying these perfectly innocent toys which were, I admit, brought into the house by mummy and daddy (well, daddy) as a birthday gift from our 6-month-old son to his big sister. My daughter loves playing with them and I’m sure they are having no immediate impact on her psyche. She equally enjoys playing with the Playmobil fire engine we bought her and I’ve not been fretting about the absence of a firewoman in the playset (tut, tut).

What worries me is the cumulative effect of all the tiny-waisted princesses my daughter will grow up with, whether they be Sleeping Beauty or Cheryl Cole. I’ve never wanted her to be enchanted by everything pink and glittery but that’s what has happened as more and more things spread around the house like a sparkly fungus. It’s the fascinating debate about whether it’s nature or nurture – do girls naturally gravitate towards ‘girlie’ things whilst their brothers pick up a spanner and stride towards the Meccano? Is there anything parents can do to prevent the mighty advance of nature?

I’m still ‘in the right mind’ to write to Disney and wage a one-woman campaign to get a couple of stone added to their cast of skinny minnies. (If they were really that skinny would they have boobs THAT BIG?) Oh god, maybe I’m just a jealous hag and if I can’t have a figure like that then I’ll be damned if Tinkerbell can. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest of them all?” “Well, my lady – with your thirty-something’s wrinkles, cake addiction and baby belly – they are.”

You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, tra la la laa

25 Jun

It’s been some time since the last C&P post. I blame the dribbling, vomiting and farting baby #2 who arrived exactly three months ago. (He’s gorgeous by the way – the adjectives there were just for effect.) Postpartum hormones have left me liable to cry at most things from the cutesy to the darned right evil. Being responsible for little people has made me more sensitive to what can be a relentless and frightening world – something shared by parents the world over I’m sure. If I could buy rolls of cotton wool in toddler size then I’d be picking fluff off the playmat right now.

Last week there was one incident that made me more sad than anything else has recently. Here’s how the conversation with my two and a half year old went:

Her: Mummy, can I have some of your make-up on please?

Me: No.

Her: [through sobs] But I won’t be beautiful!

Me: Oh sweetheart, but you ARE beautiful.

Her: [still sobbing] I’m not beautiful. Without make-up other children will say I look like a boy.

After calming the sobs with cuddles and plenty of reassurance I was left wondering how on earth my little girl could have got this into her head and what kind of society do we live in that could have a girl thinking this from such an early age. I do recall on occasion telling her that I put on make-up to ‘make me look beautiful’ – an off the cuff remark but is this what has stuck in her head? (What I haven’t explained to her is that a 34-year-old who hasn’t taken care of herself and wasn’t blessed with natural beauty needs a little help whereas a two-year-old doesn’t.) She doesn’t watch any grown-up TV. We never have a copy of Glamour in the house. I can’t believe that exposure to a class of two-year-olds at nursery has put this in her head. Do they chat foundation and lipstick over the sand tray? Paint their nails when they should be painting something impressive for ma and pa’s fridge?

The sexualisation of children has been a hot topic recently what with a new crackdown on inappropriate marketing aimed at children and criticisms of a children’s beauty parlour opening in Brentwood, Essex. Even David Cameron has managed to speak a few words of sense about it. These (including David Cameron) are things I can help my daughter to avoid (and let’s not forget my son, the pressure on boys shouldn’t be underestimated). I can’t protect her from everything though and influences can come from seemingly innocuous places. Today we watched Disney’s Pocahontas – like most Disney heroines and princesses she has a tiny waist, an enviable bust and luscious hair. She’s beautiful, yes, but she ain’t a real woman (well, Pocahontas is but you get my drift). My girl would love to be a princess. How long before she starts to cut out the chocolate buttons to try to be one?

Two pieces of advice I got stood out. “Show her pictures of Pauline Prescott, Jodie Marsh etc – that should scare her off make-up” – my friend Jennifer is spot on, that would be enough to scare anyone. Another friend recommended dressing my daughter in pretty dresses to make her feel beautiful. This is less clear-cut. Wouldn’t that just be reinforcing the external messages? To be beautiful you must have a pretty dress, pretty make-up, pretty hair. I feel a vicious circle coming on …

To be honest, I can’t see my daughter ever wanting to burn a bra. Equally, I hope she never aspires to be Jordan. If she doesn’t feel ‘beautiful’ then I will do all I can to help her with that. But lightning strike me down if I ever start with her nails and hair rather than her self-esteem.

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