I love many of the Disney films. I’m yet to declare an absolute favourite, but Aladdin is definitely a contender. It has an interesting story, fun characters, great songs, doesn’t revolve around a princess (despite Jasmine being one of “the” Disney princesses), has an amazing colour scheme and score, and features Robin Williams (may he rest in peace). I love that Aladdin’s journey from rags to riches is underpinned by the lessons he learns about being true to oneself, and being honest with others. It’s a great lesson to learn, and a great one to share with my son. When he’s old enough, hopefully he will read further into the film’s dialogue than ‘Right here, direct from the lamp. Right here for your very much wish-fulfillment. Thank you.’.
However, this is not the main reason I chose to show my son this movie at 6 months of age. I know there is a debate, and a plethora of studies and literature, on small children and screen time. I am not going to get into that here. All I will say on the matter is that I believe that there is such thing as too much TV (or computer, Playstation, what-have-you) at any age, while at the same time needing a way to calm my sometimes quite distressed child. Enter Aladdin, my diamond in the rough.
“Diamond in the rough”
Someone (or something) that has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them (or it) truly stand out from the crowd.
The phrase is metaphorical and relates to the fact that naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance, and that their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process.
~ Urban Dictionary ~
One day, when J was about 6 months old, during one of the developmental leaps babies and toddlers experience, I was at my wit’s end (‘Awk! Wit’s end!’). He wouldn’t sleep, he wouldn’t stop crying, he didn’t want his solids, he’d only settle on the boob. Most of the time, I would just feed him whenever he wanted, as I’d been doing since he was born, having soon realised that he did not think three-hourly feeds suited him, thank you very much. But, today … it was just one of those days. I was dirty (‘I’m not a street rat. And I don’t have fleas!’), exhausted (‘Who disturbs my slumber??’), hungry (‘One jump, ahead of the bread line!’). I felt like crap, and just couldn’t function anymore without five minutes of respite. Suddenly, I had brainwave: Aladdin! My little man loves music. When he was in utero, he’d wiggle and somersault whenever we listened to CDs in the car, and even when I sang along to a movie or my karaoke app on my phone. I’d gone to see Aladdin the Musical twice during my pregnancy – once with Christian, and once with Mum.
Both times, I felt J moving around during the songs. In particular, he seemed drawn to Friend like me. (Sidebar: the actor who played the Genie in the Australian production – who, incidentally, was the same one from the Broadway show – was FABULOUS.) I thought J might also like the movie, so I put on the DVD.
At first, he seemed merely curious when the trademark Disney castle appeared, pre-movie. Then, from the first notes of Arabian nights, he was mesmerised. For twenty minutes, he watched without so much as a peep. I ate some leftovers and had the quickest shower ever, for fear of renewed waterworks. He didn’t even notice I’d not been there. When he heard me coming back in, he turned to look at me, smiled, and turned back to watch the Genie get rid of the crick in his neck. I could not believe it. And, then, I could (‘I think I’m gonna have a heart attack and die from not surprise!’). Because that’s part of the magic of Disney – the ability to transport the viewer, young or old, into a whole new world. I have a collection of Disney films, accumulated over the years for two reasons: because I love the movies, and because I wanted to have them on hand to share with my future children. I hadn’t imagined doing so until J was at least a couple of years old. But, when you have an inconsolable child, you do what you must to calm them down.
Now, whenever he has one of those moments where nothing helps, I pop in the film and he happily watches. I even bought the soundtrack to calm him down in the car. You know what? It not only works, he even sings along! ‘Aaaaaah bwa bwa bwa!’ The things I love about the actual story, I can share with him when he’s older. But, for now, I’m loving the calm and entertainment my little man gets out of watching Aladdin. All I gotta do is rub that lamp and I get my three wishes: a shower, food, and a happy baby.
I’ll be back with more things I love about Disney soon. And, in case you’re thinking I’m watching through rose-coloured glasses, I take a more critical look at the films in my upcoming series Disney (Over)Analysed. But, for now, I’ll hand over to the lovely E.L.Lane for next week’s post!
Mini Mummi Blogger 🌺
Mini Mummi Blogger is a first time mummy to a beautiful baby boy. Currently on maternity leave, she is looking to put her writing/publishing experience to good use through her blog, helping other mummies navigate through the wealth of often conflicting (and, sometimes, even discouraging) information out there about pregnancy and motherhood. She believes that every mummy knows what’s best for her own baby – even first time mums!
This week, we hear from E. L. Lane, sharing various memories of Disney World, and…