Saturday, May 25, 2013

In Wonderland: Thoughts on Alice

Watching Alice

Maybe it was all of your awesome comments on my last post, or maybe it was a late morning talk with my mom and a nap while Henrietta napped, but ultimately today was better. Sam is still struggling to bounce back, spending his days in bed, for the most part. So it was all me again this afternoon. And somehow, I didn't hate it. She was giggly today. I bent and unbent my legs after our naps, and she laughed hysterically. I minced my fingers toward her nose and she laughed hysterically. I sang her little songs, and she laughed hysterically. I could get used to that.

It occurred to me that she might want to watch The Brave Little Toaster, a show I used to enjoy when I was a kid. But they didn't have it on Netflix, so we watched the old Disney version of Alice in Wonderland instead. She sat on the rug and watched it, really watched it, her face turned up to the television as if she were seven and not seven months. It's the first time I've ever put a kid's show on for her, and it was strange to watch it through her eyes, to see what it means that these movies are made for kids--bright colors, lively music, singsongy voices.

And then, when it ended, we started it over, because, why not? I sat her on my lap with a tupperware of Cheerios and it felt very peaceful and sweet to sit there with her, watching her chubby yet long fingers chase the Os around. On the second time around, Henrietta laughed at the part where Giant Alice cries Giant tears, then swims in them, and I started to think about that, about crying tears that get too big for us, so we have to swim in them. "Oh dear," says Alice. "I do wish I hadn't cried so much."

It felt good to keep thinking about Alice, to write out some thoughts, to put images and words together. Maybe it's a (prose) poem. Maybe it's nothing. At any rate, it's below.



Curtsy While You're Thinking; It Saves Time

Poor Alice. She's muddled about who she is. She's a monster; she's a weed. She's the white rabbit's Mary Anne. She's too big and then too little and too big and too little again. The world is bright and colorful and it sings for her, but it wants to tell her the rules, wants her to follow them without knowing what they are. Who are you? Who are you? They ask until she doesn't know anymore. Her dreams outpace her, menace over her; she manages to offend them. The hare celebrates nonexistence and the caterpillar blows technicolor smoke in her face. When she asks questions, it's clear she should know the answer.  I'm afraid I'm not myself, she says. I'm afraid. I'm not myself. Household objects grow eyes and legs and menacing necks. It gets dreadfully dark. And still her pinafore stays starched and white, her blue dress buttoned to the top, her hairbow in place, her diction and manners impeccable. She runs faster. Alice, wake up, she begs. Please wake up, Alice.

8 comments:

Stacy said...

The Brave Little Toaster is the BEST! When I was a kid, every time we went to the video store I wanted to rent Labyrinth or The Brave Little Toaster. This is devastating that they don't have it on Netflix. We should petition. Anyway, I'm glad your day is better today. And I am sure you are not the only one who feels that way. Often times I wonder what is wrong with me...

Unknown said...

You may find it difficult to even find the brave little toaster. It took me two years to find the original. They have all these different versions of it. We pass it around my family like a rarity.

Unknown said...

You may find it difficult to even find the brave little toaster. It took me two years to find the original. They have all these different versions of it. We pass it around my family like a rarity.

belann said...

So glad yesterday was better, and it sounded like today was even better from our texts. And, it is hard to be bored with a baby who giggles at everything you do. Those times are the best. You loved Brave Little Toaster? Who knew?

belann said...

Oh, and I love the Alice poem. Feel like Alice a lot of the time.

Amara said...

I remember being kind of scared of Alice in Wonderland. Now that I read your poem thing I don't feel so bad about that. What's scarier than not knowing who you are? Than out of control changing ? and she was LOST too! Anyway, yay for good days.

David and Melanie said...

Love you and your words. Words are your playmates, thanks for inviting me to your playdate ;)

Mike and Emily said...

Lovley, Dej!