Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Can't get the music from My Neighbor Totoro out of my head

My friend Jen gave Beth a stuffed Totoro about a year ago, and it's taken us this long to sit the kid down and show her the movie. I was a little worried: Would she be scared? Would she cry at the sad parts?

Oooo. She loves it. She laughed at odd moments that I didn't think were funny at all (but which are apparently hilarious to the almost-three-year-old set), she kept asking questions about the little girls, and she wants to take a ride on a cat bus.

No surprise there. Beth adores the bus. Last Monday — the last day it was really sunny and gorgeous — we walked down to the bus stop and took the bus into Harvard Square, where we ran a few minor errands and explored bookstores. I fell in love with Curious George Goes to Wordsworth, which (for you non-Bostonians who make up most of my readership) is a darling independent children's bookstore. We bought the most recent Fancy Nancy book, and Beth is now beside herself with plans for a butterfly cake for her birthday party. She chased pigeons, and had pancakes for lunch, and the clerk at Staples told her she looked like a rock star (hooray, sparkly sunglasses!) But the bus trip was the real hit.

But Totoro...she's been talking about the movie nonstop. "Did Totoro make a loud noise? And Satsuki climbed on him, yes, and they flied up high." We may have opened up a whole new world of non-princessy movies for her.

Sarah has enjoyed it too — she's started climbing up onto our striped chair any time I turn on the TV, which I vastly prefer to her previous viewing method of dragging her doll bed directly in front of the box, climbing on it, and watching from a distance of, say, two and a half inches. (Yikes!) She's perfectly content up there, hugging her doll and watching whatever's on.

The doll. Oh, the doll. I fell in love with this plush baby doll when I saw it in the Children's Museum gift shop last fall, and Santa had to bring it for Christmas. She's been christened Baby Josie (I want to add "and the Pussycats" every time I say that) and she wears a little kimono and a diaper, along with a hospital ID bracelet. Sarah loves undressing her, though she doesn't have the coordination to get her dressed again. I frequently happen upon the little fuzzy diaper at odd places in the house. She's gotten very good at carrying Josie around with her as she toddles around the house, and last week as I was running myself a bath Sarah quite purposefully walked into the bathroom and dunked the doll in the tub. Took all day to get her dried out, including several air-only tumbles in the drier. Since then I've made daily rescues, some just inches from the water.

The walking gets steadier and more assured every day. And boy is she proud of her little mobile self! I've hardly had to entertain her at all for the last two weeks, since all she wants to do is wander around the house on her own two feet.

Really: doesn't little Mei look like Sarah? (I know, I know, Sarah doesn't have teeth yet.) But the broad face! The flat smile! The cheeks! I can't wait 'til her hair is long enough for little scrub-brush ponytails.

While I'm posting photos, I should include one of Beth at her easel. I'm still looking for the great washable Crayola tempera paint and a set of brushes, but in the meantime Beth has been having a ball with...finger paints! (Remember finger painting? For some reason it's one of my happiest childhood memories, probably because there was an occasion on which I got to finger paint with chocolate pudding.) She's so, so proud of her creations — tells me what's in each picture, and insisted on having her painting of two swimming pools taped up on the door of her room, in her ongoing crusade to make her room fancier.

As the post title says, I have "Tonari no Totoro, Totoro" running through my head, and it won't leave.


Brooke said...

Ah, welcome to the Wide World of Totoro. There have been many a day in which I couldn't get the theme song out of my head, either (although, my kids prefer the "Hey, Let's Go" song).

I love Beth's painting smock! Are those little cars? Where'd you find it?

Melissa said...

ok-don't know anything about Totoro...but I had to say that I want to finger paint with chocolate pudding!! YUM!!