Princess vs. shark

Here’s what happened to Nica last week.








I rushed Nica to the dentist. According to her, many kids in this predicament can avoid extraction of the loosened teeth, because the teeth and gums will tighten up again (really? That is incredible! Why can’t necks and boobs do that?). However, in Nica’s case, there is a hairline fracture going across the roots, so the likelihood of retightening went from Maybe, Who Knows? to You Smokin’ Crack, Mama. Still, the dentist said, there is a teeny chance that the roots could heal, so she gave us a choice: extract the teeth now, or wait to see if one or both of the teeth heal enough to leave alone.




After, Option 1


After, Option 2



We chose to wait and see. I took Nica home and explained everything (including the possible outcomes) as she ate her first of many soft meals. I must say, she took it all very well. Better than I did, that’s for sure.


Move on, Mom.


Later that day, Nica spent a lot of time playing with small Disney princess figures and some plastic sharks we got at an aquarium.


Da Sharks

Da sharks

Da Broads

Da princesses


It all started out very sweetly, with the princesses watching the sharks swim around and calling out their favorites, but soon it got ugly: The sharks, because, you know, they’re sharks, began to want to eat the princesses, and the princesses were forced to fight for their lives. Each of the princesses fought in her own style, using her individual technique. Snow White was especially lethal, thrusting her “knife hands” into the sharks’ eyes. Sure, she shouts “Boom bing!” while she does it, but it’s effective nonetheless; many a shark perished at the hands of Snow White.


Dirty Dancing

Jasmine’s technique involves confusing the shark first.


The princesses won the war against the sharks, in case you were worried. I found it really interesting that this day of all days, Nica chose as the enemy the toothiest animal ever.

Anyway, we’ll find out on Monday whether Nica will keep her teeth or if she’ll get a very premature visit from the tooth fairy. <Sigh>


Interview with the princes

Today we have a very special post. Here in the studio we have four of the Disney princes: Prince Charming from Cinderella, Prince, er, Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty and the Prince from Snow White. Welcome, princes.

Left to right: Charming, Beast, Phillip, Snow

Beast: My name is Adam, actually.

Your name is Adam? I am really thrown by that. Can I just call you Beast? Because, I gotta be honest, to me your appeal vanished completely as soon as you turned human. I was incredibly disappointed during that scene. I mourned the loss of the beast form.

Beast: Oh… kay…. (Beast and Phillip exchange a look.)

Snow White prince, I will have to call you Prince Snow, to avoid confusing you with Prince Charming.

(Snow hums, bows with a flourish.)

So, Prince Snow and Prince Charming, how do you feel about not having names? Is it at all demoralizing?

Charming: Not at all. Charming is what I’ve been called since I was a boy. I forget my real name. It might’ve been Joey.

Snow: (singing) I am a prince!

Yes, but were you born with a name?

Snow: (singing)
When I was but a babe,
They said my name was Abe,
But they lied, yes, they lied.
And then I turned one,
And they told me I was Juan,
But they lied, yes, they lied.
And then I turned two,
And they told me I was Lou,
But they—

OK, Prince Snow, we get it. No name. Fine. So, Prince Phillip, you are really the only one here who got a proper name that actually made it into the film and everything. How does that make you feel?

Phillip: Definitely makes me feel superior. Because if you look at the films, I go through the most trials. I think the Makers felt I deserved a name.

Beast: Wait a second, Phil. What do you mean, you went through the most? I don’t think so. I was cursed and turned into a monster!

Phillip: I was imprisoned by the Mistress of All Evil, had to cut through giant thorns and then fight a dragon!

Beast: I had to fight a whole mob that wanted to kill me!

Phillip: I had to fight a dragon, dude.

Beast: I died.



Phillip: Yes, and you were rescued by your lady. Oooh, aren’t you a dainty doily, saved by a girl’s kiss. And didn’t your silverware and furniture fight the mob for you?

Beast: I am not a doily! And Belle could kick Aurora’s ass. And anyway, weren’t you saved by three fairies? If it hadn’t been for them, you’d still be rotting in that prison! Maybe you are the doily.

Phillip: Come ’ere. I’ll give you a doily.

OK, fellas. Both of you are manly and heroic. Really. And both of you have great personalities. Especially you, Beast. Before you turned into a pretty boy, you were really masculine and charming in your own, rugged way.

Beast: I am still rugged.

Phillip: You wear a frilly scarf.

Charming: Gentlemen, let us be dignified. We are, after all, representing not only ourselves but our ladies as well.

Speaking of your ladies, how is married life for all of you? Any kids?

Snow: We have no children, but we have seven silly little men that we take care of. We have a devil of a time keeping them from making holes in the wall. How they like to use their pickaxes! (giggles, hums)

Charming: I would’ve liked to have children, but Cinderella gets so darned attached to birds and vermin… all kinds of animals, really. My father was so disappointed, you have no idea. Cindy keeps adopting stray animals, and she won’t allow the killing of rats or roaches. And now the whole palace smells like a kennel.

Beast: We have twins. One of them has been diagnosed with hirsutism. I’ve started a charity. It’s called Your Beast Foot Forward.

Phillip: We’ve got four kids. We had a lot of pressure from both sides of the family.

Beast: (mumbling) Papa’s boy.

Phillip: You wanna go? We can go right now. Or maybe I should be addressing Belle, who fights all your battles for you.

Beast: Oh, then should I be talking to your fairy aunties?

Phillip: Come ’ere. I’ll give you a fairy auntie.

Charming: Gentlemen. This is uncivilized, really.

Now that all of you have been married a long time, do you ever look back and think, ‘Gee, I wish we had known each other better before we married’? Whether or not you are now in happy marriages, would you say you primarily married for looks, and do you ever think your wives married you mostly for your looks and/or position? 

Charming: Oh, it is all much ado about nothing. What is wrong with a man wanting to marry a beautiful woman? And why shouldn’t a woman want to be with a man of some means and standing?

Beast: Well, some of you did not get to know your women for very long before you married, and let’s face it, if they weren’t gorgeous, you wouldn’t have married them.

Snow: I liked Snow White’s voice, too. And her white, white teeth.

Phillip: I take offense at what you’re saying, Adam. I would’ve loved Aurora no matter what she looked like.

Beast: (snorts) Yeah. Right. And you, Charming, you take the cake. All you did was dance with a beautifully dressed stranger, and you didn’t even look at her face enough to be able to identify her without her freakin’ shoe! What’s that about?

Charming: Sir, you go too far.

Beast: I can rest assured that Belle never loved me for my title, wealth or looks. Because she found me revolting at first. That is the whole point of our story, in fact; looks are deceiving, and, in the end, not very important.

Phillip: Yeah, but Belle isn’t exactly a dog. If she had been, would you have even considered marrying her?

Beast: Yes! I needed someone to love me to break that spell! I didn’t care what she looked like!

Phillip: Oh-ho! You better not let Belle hear you say that!

Charming: The fact is, Cinderella exuded an aura. It wasn’t about every little feature on her face. And I thought, ‘Glass slipper. Wow. That’s fashion-forward.’

Snow: Snow White and I spend much time singing and dancing. I am certain I made the correct choice!

Good for you, Prince Snow. Yes, I’m getting the feeling you two are perfect for each other. I mean, you almost look like siblings.

Charming, Beast, Phillip: Ew!

Sorry. So, anyway, getting back to your names—or lack thereof—and all kidding aside, do you ever feel overshadowed by the princesses? I mean, it’s clear that the stories are about them and that you are only either the goal or the means to reaching a goal. Do any of you have any opinion on the matter? 

Snow: Will you be serving lunch after this interview?

Beast: I certainly feel that Belle deserves all the credit she gets. She is a smart, strong woman, and a great role model. I, for one, don’t feel overshadowed. We have different projects going on. I’m quite busy with my charity.

Phillip: Well, right now I am so wrapped up in the kids, if I feel overshadowed, I feel overshadowed by them, you know? But that’s all right with me.

Charming: I must admit, it is difficult sometimes being known only as Cinderella’s dance partner. Since we don’t even have children, I find myself searching for more, and sometimes I feel that perhaps I am being unfair to Cindy in the high expectations I have of her. I can’t expect to find fulfillment only through her, after all.

Beast: You should start a charity. Give back a little.

Charming: Perhaps I will, Adam. Perhaps that would suit me.

This seems like a good place to end. I thank you, princes, for joining me today. You were great. Best of luck with all your pursuits. My regards to your wives. And… we’re out.


Hurricane games

Sandy blew through our town last week. We didn’t have power for a couple of days, and the kids’ colds got worse without heat, but compared to many other families’ situations in New Jersey, this was nothing, and we are grateful we got off so easy.

One of the most amazing things about children is that despite what is going on—whether it be wind and rain or the cancellation of Halloween or the loss of electricity—they are compelled to continue playing. No matter how dark the house or how scary-sounding the wind outside or how worried-looking the adults, they will scrounge up some fun and insist on merriment. So, while on one hand it is more stressful to have little ones to worry about and take care of during times of emergency, on the other it is such a blessing to have pint-size party people around and be able to hear so much [unironic, unhysterical] laughter during those times.

The blackout inspired much flashlight play, of course, and “picnics” consisting of culinary odds and ends and random junk food. The sounds of wind and rain got Nica started on some tall tales that ended up scaring her. Ham somehow didn’t even seem to notice the pitch-dark conditions; he continued playing with his toys even without a flashlight. Is he a nocturnal creature? That would explain so much.

In the afternoons, while Ham took his nap, Nica played some board games with Archie and me. Two that Nica really enjoyed were Guess Who? and the Disney version of the Pretty Pretty Princess Dress-Up Board Game, both of which Nica had recently received as birthday gifts.

The object of Guess Who? is to guess correctly the person or animal your opponent has in mind, by asking questions to try to eliminate those that are not The One. The pictures of the suspects are behind open doors, and as you eliminate suspects, you close their doors until hopefully you end up with one open door.


The game is sort of annoying to assemble and the parts are cheaply made, but once play gets going, it’s pretty fun. After a couple of games—plus one bratty preschooler display of sore-loserness and subsequent parental lecture about good sportsmanship—Nica got quite good at coming up with questions that would effectively eliminate many suspects from the running.

The Pretty Pretty Princess Dress-Up Board Game ingeniously combines standard board-game play (each person gets a piece to move around a board, a spinner tells you to move a certain number of spaces, and you do whatever the space you land on tells you to do) with a little girl’s greed for bling + her love of dressing up.


The object of the game is to be the first to wear all the pieces of jewelry in your assigned color plus the crown. We had a lot of fun playing this. At least, Nica and I did.