Over Thanksgiving last year, we visited my parents in California, and also went on a lovely family trip to Disneyland, which surprisingly didn’t suck like I thought it would. During our visit, Frozen had just come out, so the four of us – me, Sona, Kavya, and her Daadi-ma, went to watch it at the movie theater in Fresno, California. Kavya immediately fell in love with the movie and we stayed seated until they switched the lights back on and we were the only ones still sitting in the room. Then Kavya turned to us and said, “let’s watch another one,” like we were at home watching television.
When we came back home to Jersey City in December, we were excited that WORD bookstore finally opened, and during one of our outings there, Kavya saw her friend from class, who had also just seen the film. They discovered they’re both obsessed with Frozen and ended up both leaving with identical Frozen books much too complicated for them to read. One day, they had a really excited conversation when they both brought these books to school. I didn’t have to teach until noon, so I read Kavya’s book to everyone sitting at her table, and then her friend wanted me to read her book. “This is the exact same book,” I said. “I was there when your dad bought it for you.” Her response is to move the book closer to me and Kavya says, “My Papa is silly,” because I’m clearly too thick to get it. So I read the SAME book that I just read to the same students sitting at the table, while they continue to messily eat their breakfast.
It’s been at least a month since she’s brought her book to school and then last week, Kavya decides she wants to bring it in the morning. We get there and another friend has brought the new Frozen music cd, which just came out, and another friend has a lunchbox. This last friend’s contribution is crap and doesn’t help with anything, but I refrain from saying so when she brings it up. One of her teachers is coerced into agreeing to set aside class time to read Kavya’s book to the class and also play the music the other girl brought.
I’m convinced the leap pad we bought Kavya must have email or text messaging that these girls are using to coordinate this impromptu Frozen party. When I pick her up from school, or if we’re out to the grocery, she’ll belt out “Let it Go!” at the top of her lungs, and will even act out some of the parts to the song. And the obsession just took an even steeper turn with her cousin from California, who is a year older than her, finally watching Frozen. Now, when Kavya asks me to tell her a Frozen bedtime story, I can’t wing it. And there is hell to pay if I jumble up names, or change any of the narrative elements. Apparently, dragons can’t exist in Arrendale, despite it being the perfect name of a place you’d see a dragon! She might not know how to read entire words or sentences, but she has that entire book memorized.
On Saturday, even my father-in-law got in on the Frozen action when he picked us up for the weekend. He’s never seen the film or listened to the songs, but that didn’t stop him from belting out the words, “Let it Go” along with Kavya and Sona in the car – not that he had much of a choice.
There are many parents who are equally, if not more obsessed with these songs than their kids are, with plenty of youtube videos featuring parents energetically singing in cars or lip synching. Like the awesome couple and their really bored daughter above.
We are not those parents. And Kavya doesn’t understand the draw of not really singing. For Christmas, she got all sorts of Frozen gifts, like an Elsa doll, a coloring book, a 3D jigsaw puzzle, and a dress. Now that it’s being released on DVD, and more of her friends have discovered the film, I know we’re going to be hearing much more about Frozen around here. And that’s okay with me, even if me singing, “Reindeers are better than people,” does get drowned out by Mama and Daughter singing the other songs. But seriously, why is that song only 30 seconds? Fine, it’s not as dramatic, or revealing of the psychological liberation as “Let it Go,” and it doesn’t progress the plot or setup the catalyst the way, “Love is an Open Door,” does, but it’s so damn funny: a duet between a reindeer and an ice distributor, who sings both roles (how do you top that???).
What was I saying? Oh yes, I am not the sort of parent who gets obsessed about these sorts of things . . .