One day this past summer, I was stricken with an acute case of MID -- known to the psychiatric community as Mommy Inferiority Disorder. Unlike most mental illnesses, MID is communicable; I myself contracted it after visiting a friend whose child flawlessly performed a piano sonatina for my benefit. Said child is also tri-lingual, gorgeous, and unfailingly polite.
I returned home from this visit to find my own spawn sitting slack-jawed in front of the TV, playing Nintendo.
"Hi guys!" I said. They didn't bother to look up, although my son did flick his wrist like he was brushing away a fly.
"Hello!" I repeated. "Not now," said my daughter. "Sonic just reached level 5 and we don't want to blow it."
This marked the precise onset of MID. I yanked the Nintendo power cord from it's player. After the kids finally stopped crying, they confronted me.
"Whatdja do that for?" asked my son.
"Because playing too many video games turns your brain into mashed potatoes."
"Really?" asked my daughter."Seriously?"
"Oh, yeah. Totally." I sniffed her head. "Smells like gravy."
After the second round of crying subsided, I announced that we were going to do something fun. Something productive. Something creative. "Let's make a movie!" I said.
It got off to a good start. We created a plot, although I had to nix my son's suggestion for an alien ambush. We created the characters out of play-doh. We grabbed some props.
And then it got ugly. First off, my idea to make a stop-animation movie proved to be over-ambitious and totally deranged. I thought it would be "fun" and "educational" for the kids to move their clay figures increments of an inch and shoot pictures of them. Over and over again. Hundreds of times.
Yes, I am batshit.
Secondly, never entrust your children with doing set work. NEVER. Props were moved before I yelled "SHOOT!" A pivotal scene where the car backs over a character and flattens him had to be shot -- and the character re-molded -- twice, as my son couldn't figure out how to press the "ON" button for the video.
Another scene required my daughter to drop a basketball onto a character. She dropped it from a standing position and missed by a good two feet. I told her to crouch, and she missed again. I told her to squat and hold the ball directly above the character, AND SO HELP ME GOD THE GIRL STILL MISSED, EVEN THOUGH THE TARGET WAS A SCANT TWELVE INCHES AWAY.
I admit, I said some inexcusable things to my children. Along the lines of: "A monkey could press that button. And I'm not talking about one of those smart Rhesus monkeys. I'm talking about a regular chimp, straight out of the jungle."
They were outraged, of course, and rightfully so. My son told me "you have a problem with your attitude" -- words I usually direct at him. Man, that karma's a bitch.
I apologized to both of them and assured them that one day I would burn in hell for my words. This seem to satisfy them. They scooted away -- literally, on their Razor scooters. Meanwhile, I got down to the business of editing the footage.
It was like slogging through wet cement in hip-boots. I called for my son and tried to convince him that dragging and clicking with software is a damn good time. He pointed, he clicked, and then he left to go play Pokemon.
By the time I was done, I was unhinged. My husband returned home to find me in my underwear doing martial arts moves in front of the mirror. Luckily I didn't punch it, like Martin Sheen did in Apocalypse Now. I just punched my husband instead.
And so here's the end result. It turned out decent, except for the fact that I seem to have the voice of an 80-year-old hillbilly woman.
Now my kids call themselves auteurs. They also run like hell whenever I suggest turning off the TV to do something "fun".