Thursday, July 08, 2010

Pixar, I've got a bone to pick with you

*slight spoiler alert*

Last Monday we loaded up the crew for a fun-filled day of eating out and blowing through a movie theater gift card like it was nothing. We splurged (cause it was paid for) to see Toy Story 3 in 3D. Everyone was thrilled. We looked like dorks in our Buddy Holly glasses. We ate a big lunch so as not to spend a dime on the made-of-gold-priced concessions.

It was a Moers Holiday Extravaganza!

The movie really was great, except for the part where the big, mean bear's story was revealed, and music swelled as we learned he was ABANDONED on the side of the road and easily REPLACED by another, newer bear and had remained BITTER AND ANGRY ever since and continued to be a hurt person that HURT OTHERS.

In that moment, I saw the next few days flashing before my eyes.

I purposefully had some discussions with my children who came to us through adoption the following morning, about adoption in general. I knew their hearts may be sensitive. One started to act out. At some point I do recall getting the "I HATE YOU!" and a slamming door. They came back in within about an hour and immediately told me what it was, and very clearly stated the above scene and why it hurt them so much to watch it.

And what did I do? I actually thought that might be it. I actually bopped along today, assuming the discussions we had were all that they needed.

Oh, my stupidity even amazes ME sometimes.

By dinner time, another child was in all-out, "Please notice I'm acting out!" mode. So, I did. I noticed. There was much slamming of doors and one broken glass and plenty of other things thrown around (we'll assess any more damages tomorrow). This other child could NOT come in and describe the above scene. Not even close. So, I decided to help out gently, "Honey, if you're feeling a little more calm, would you like to talk about the movie?"

Stupid, Christine. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I could see this had thrown them into Backward World. What I should have said immediately was, "I bet you really hated the part with the bear, huh?" I finally did. Much later. Michael and I finally just sat in some lawn chairs outside where they had been throwing bottles and smashing up an old toilet.

"You are starting to cross some safety lines. Would you like to have a hug?"

"No."

"Feels like maybe we are ootching toward a restraint, so you can have some touch?"

"No."

"Would you like to hold my hand?"

"No."

"Could I just make kissy faces at you?"

Boom. Totally got a smile.

More talking and finally just saying the words for them ... and we were done with the tirade. Michael shared a lot of examples of people we know who also hurt over their situation, their adoptions, their family structure. Emphasized that they is not the only one, and that they are loved, but that doesn't change the fact that their situation is very, very painful.

Then we came inside. They cleaned up the broken glass. Gave me $2 to replace it. Gave us our kisses and hugs and went to bed.

*sigh*

Now, the reality of our situation is that this movie certainly was a trigger for our kids. However, both of them verbalized how they want to see movies, even when there are themes that may take some processing for them. We are at a point in their healing where we are guiding them to do that more on their own. We are exposing them to more things and then working through it together.

So, okay. I'm not totally mad at Pixar. In fact, I'm wondering if a bunch of you have been blogging warnings about the MAJOR abandonment issues in that flick, and I had my head stuck up my butt. We would have seen it anyway, but the discussion would have started BEFORE the movie. Once we have already seen it, and the trigger has occurred, it is much more difficult to have the conversation.

Hind sight.

I've still got one more kid who may need to blow tomorrow. We'll see ...

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

33 comments:

Misty said...

surprisingly, this movie wasn't an issue with our daughter... BUT I totally see how it could be...

Annie said...

Wowee. That gives new meaning to the term "spoiler alert". Thanks for the warning.

Thank you - and I mean THANK YOU - for the great "You're acting as though you want to be restrained" script. I love it. I could have, should have used it on the 4th...might have gotten away without the restraint.

Kerrie said...

I don't know why I want movies to be more sensitive to my kids when even their teachers wonder why they might have a hard time around mother's day, but I do. I sat tense and stiff throughout Ice Age 3 worrying about how the foster care line was going to work out. Ugh. Everything has to be so complicated, doesn't it. And thanks for a couple more lines to use!

brenkachicka said...

Thanks for the warning. We have still not seen it yet. We probably will at some point. Good to be prepared.
Hope there's no blow today.

ali said...

i did pick up on the loss statement in that scene, but jack didnt want to go see it(he didnt want to miss the last day of school-goober!) so I never posted anything. his IQ is so low, i wonder if he makes the connections that mar & Rocky do. when we see the movie on DVD, it will be interesting to note his reaction, i wonder if i should have a pre conversation with him......

Little Wonder said...

I have been frustrated too by movies that speak to these issues that might trigger B, but at the same time it gives an opening for dialogue. Life is like that...throws stuff at us and we can't always control what the "stuff" is. But hopefully I can model the dialogue well enough he doesn't have to struggle forever with emotions that can't always get out properly but are triggered by something that he can verbalize.

Annie said...

Reading the comments I suddenly thought of a funny intenchange with Sergei....the easy one. He'd been here a year or so when a family friend was in "Annie". Miss Oblivious, I didn't even stop to think about what he'd make of the story until we arrived at the theatre, and I was trying to explain in "easy English" the situation. So, just as we are going in the door he "gets" it and blurts out cheerfully - "So this is about being in an orphanage like I was in?" I will never forget the stunned and horrified faces of the people next to us. Three heads turned sharply around in unison to see who said THAT!

Recovering Noah said...

Hmmmm... I wonder if that's why we've seen the return of The PeePee Princess for the last 6 days. Nandi & Eli saw it twice in a week. We took 'em and then my parents took them - and these last few days have been horrible.

Interesting......

Diana said...

The bone I have to pick with all the movie people is WHY, WHY, WHY do you think do you feel story lines such as this are entertainment? It seems like every single kids movie out there these days is build on some kind of theme of peril and great loss. I get that you need to make a story line out of something, but seriously, does it ALWAYS need to involve children being abandoned and/or hurt by the adults that are supposed to be taking care of them and then having to prove their worthiness and worth in order to be accepted again by those same stupid adults?

"Astroboy" involves BLATENT abandonment. Kid dies, dad makes robot, dad rejects robot and kicks him out because he's not his real son, kid lives like an orphan complete with scenes in which he and his unruly friends, who have precious little adult supervision, are living in a shanty shack, sleeping on the floor, and eating out of a garbage can. Of course, a few scenes later, that one adult who was SUPPOSED to be taking care of the kids turns on Astroboy and betrays him, thus revealing his evil intentions.

Madagascar 2 has the whole story build on a fantasy reunion with the lion's birth family (as well as a whole lot of highly inappropriate violence and disrespect, especially toward the old lady). Of course, once the reunion takes place, the lion then has to prove his worthiness in order to be accepted as part of the lion pride. He fails quite miserably at proving himself in ways that are acceptable to the rest of the lions and they reject him again and kick him out again. That one freaked my kids out for a week, so I know well what you may be in for with this one.

I, too, was quite stunned by the abandonment theme with Toy Story 3 as well. I didn't blog about it this time simply because I haven't had time! We had a few bumps after seeing this one, but nothing like we had with Astroboy or Madagascar 2, so I let it ride. Especially in the days following our movie experience, we talked a lot about RAD and what causes kids to get RAD and how things like that bear experienced sometimes happen to real kids and can cause them to hurt as much as the bear did. We also talked a lot with our little most RADical RADling about about how Lotsa was treating other people because he was so mad about what had happened to him. That actually was really beneficial because my son could totally see himself and his own behavior in the bear. You know, I think the thing that hurt my son the most, though, is that ***an even bigger spoiler alert than Christine shared*** in the end, the bear ends up getting thrown in the trash by all the other toys (complete rejection by society because he was "inherantly bad.") My son didn't pick up on the fact that Lotsa was later found at the dump and given a new life as a garbage truck hood ornament, where he could be "loved" in a whole knew way by his "adult" owner. But, he most certainly picked up on the fact that the bear was thrown away because of his mean behavior. He's expressed much fear since that we will eventually throw him away because he has RAD and he's bad and he's mean. :-(

Shan said...

I've been bothered by the way Hollywood types make movies too but yes, they can't be all roses I suppose.

So sorry about that hitting your kids adversely! I can totally see that being a problem. My adoptee hasn't seen it (he can't tolerate the loudness of theaters) but I don't think he can make those correlations either. I'll keep that in mind when he is able to digest such info.

Is Presh one of the one's bothered? I was adopted as a tiny baby and just don't feel I can relate to the trauma part of adoption. I guess you might be or might not be bothered if you weren't abused or neglected.

dreamingBIGdreams said...

I suddenly started noticing things in movies that I had never noticed before after we brought our kids home via adoption. I'll never look at Annie quite the same.
Thanks for your thoughts.
:)Jamie

Jess said...

been there done that! UGH! I don't let mine watch movies at all anymore, or tv really. Even stuff I don't think is a trigger is. Finding Nemo had her landed in a psyc ward. So I save movies for past her bedtime or while she's in one therapy or another so the other kids get to enjoy. She knows she can't. Doesn't even ask anymore. Disney I think is the worst!

Mei-Ling said...

I saw Toy Story 3 and loved it.

The abandonment theme didn't even register on my adoption radar. (It definitely came through even just seeing the trailer for Coraline)

But then again, I'm not a little kid, and it's easy to see how they could be triggered by this.

notoriousmle.com said...

Christine. You are not stupid, please don't talk about yourself that way! All of us see how we could've done things better in hindsight and you can't anticipate everything in the world that might arrive to shake up your children's world. Give yourself some grace!

Christine said...

notoriousmle, I always assume my humor comes through gloriously in my writing.

Hmmmm ... not so much, ey?

Hannah_Rae said...

Christine,

Thank you for the heads up. I will definitely need to have a pre-movie conversation with both boys...especially Jeremiah.

Blessings!

Hannah

Jess said...

oh just wanted to give a big do not even go there for Matilda! Not only did it cause all kinds of reminder buttons to be pushed, but my slightly MR child decided that she could use her mind and off me. Not good. So so not good!

Brenda said...

Good to know. Sorry you didn't hear about it before, but thanks for the warning.

Janera said...

Just saw Toy Story 3 and working on a blog post about it. For me, this movie was intense. Intense. And, did I mention intense? Then again, I'm an English teacher, so I've been accused of "reading things in" to everything.

Candis said...

Re: Diana's comments: "It seems like every single kids movie out there these days is build on some kind of theme of peril and great loss."

Hmmm. Let's consider Disney... starting in the 30's there was Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo, The Lion King... then there's Charlotte's Web, Babe... And last but not least, the adoption tale Meet the Robinson's.
All of these stories deal with the loss of parent(s), home and family. I know many of us adoptive parents are more sensitive to these types of films, but the themes are not new.

His Hands His Feet Today said...

Thanks for the heads up! I had read it on pluggedin.com but it's always best to hear it from another adoptive family.

Colleen said...

MORE HEADS UP!
Despicable ME! While my 8 yr old RADish loved the end ("They got 'dopted byt good daddy Mama!")
There where some overwhelming parts about the group home punishment for the girls, and part where he lets them get returned to the group home after using them for hispurposes. Later he realizes he loves them and fights for them....but R cried hard when the "CaseWorker!" came to take them back.

As an adult I could pick apart some of the other stuff (such as the fraudulent representation on the "home" study), but R was good with the ending. BUT admittedly she doesnt always put the finer points of a movie together upon intial viewing.

J. said...

see this is when I say Holy Crap Batman, I clearly had my head in the saned when we saw that movie last week, well actually I had a migrane and payed little attention to it but OH MY does hearing that your kids had issues with it make me think that perhaps last weeks blowout of RAD proportions has a little more context now.

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anacheka said...

We took my sister to see this as a reward for good behaviour and cringed at the abandonment themes. Chose to see it as another opportunity for healing but I would have liked some forewarning too!

Nobody said...

I saw the movie last night, interestingly enough, with my two bio kids (14and 16). They loved it. My oldest said, "I'm so totally getting that movie when it comes out on video." We talked about the themes, and they made some interesting points. Like how it wasn't all the toys that tossed Lotsa, it was Big Baby, and she had just found out that Lotsa had deceived her and destroyed her life. They pointed out that sad clown hadn't "gone bad"...he was just sad. And Big Baby was just a mess. Even Jessie dragged up her old abandonment issues from previous movies, yet she is a good character. They actually thought it was pretty balanced and accurate, in that some folks are damaged and they turn angry and mean, and stay that way, even when given the chance to change. Others respond to kindness and help, and though healing is slow, with the help and support of family, they grow and change. I loved that they were giving Big Baby a bottle to comfort her in the end.

I don't mind that the story is fraught with peril and loss, and that the characters must strike out in the cruel world against all odds. That's what makes it a good story. I thought the scene in the incinerator was remarkable. I loved how the "family" steeled themselves to meet their end together, comforting and upholding each other.

I haven't seen the movie with my adopted daughters yet, but I will. I may deal with some post movie behaviors, but they will most likely have more to do with overstimulation in a loud theater, and my refusal to buy overpriced popcorn. Only one of my three will introspect enough to even discover the themes of the movie, and she may or may not find them uncomfortable. The other two will just enjoy the comedy and suspense, and declare the movie "funny" or "scary" or "good". Which is not to say this is good or bad, either way. I won't try and "process" it with them unless they bring it up, or it's clear that there is a movie induced problem. Sometimes I worry that we're ruining their experiences of normal childhood by overprocessing, and making them feel different than other kids, who can just go to a movie, love it, and chat about it with their friends.

Denice said...

Just found your blog thru a friend. I have to tell you that if it is this one day blow up for ur kids then they r doing awesome in their healing. I can't even take my daughter to the movie. Any movie. So congrats on the hard work u have obviously been doing!

Jennifer said...

Do NOT go see Despictable Me.....same abandonment themes and the adopted kids were actually given back at one point and time and put in boxs that said "Box of Shame"!!!! OMG....my Rebekah would have come unglued IN the theater!!!

notoriousmle.com said...

Christine-I knew you were kidding! I just think sometimes kidding can sometimes turn into something real when repeated, you know?

*Peach* said...

I remember watching "The Jungle Book" as a 5 year old and being so sad for some reason, yet intrigued. Now I realize it was the separation theme, and in the end Mougal goes back to his village...I was reunited with my first family and it felt the same way.

Amanda said...

I see others have warned you about Despicable Me. I wish someone had warned me. My two older kiddos were just stunned by the fact that the children were given back to the mean "mommy." (ie: Woman who ran the orphanage.) The fact that the kids are returned, doesn't even seem to matter. Because we foster, they (my girls) saw it as evidence that the children who leave our home are not leaving to good places. :(

Laraf123 said...

Ok,
A) I just found your blog and YouTube videos this morning. I am in awe of your parenting.
and
B) I had a problem with the original Toy Story's portrayal of the neighbor boy and what this "children's" movie was saying about kids with behavior issues. Now I hear that #3 is upsetting children right and left. I have nothing against Disney/Pixar per se but am really troubled by the viewing choices my children will soon be faced with.

Lizze said...

I was adopted at 6 months so while I don't have the history that your little ones do, TS3 had a similar effect on me every time I watch it. It makes me sick to my stomach and my head hurts.,I can only dare to imagine what your children must be feeling. God bless you all.