Banana Bean has entered her first true obsession, and it is one that surprised us all. Mary Poppins. This was a movie picked from the Disney Movie Club as part of our introductory promotion, and I had loved it as a child but figured Anna was still a year or two off from really watching it. Well, I put it in the DVD player on a whim one day and it was love at first sight. Anna would watch this movie over and over literally all day, if we let her. The second she runs into the living room at any given point during the day, she begs for "Poppins!!". If we're in the car, all she wants to listen to is the Mary Poppins soundtrack.
Clever Daddy set up my phone so Anna could get phone calls from Mary Poppins. We have lots of fun with that!!
The most fun thing about this movie is that Anna truly interacts with it. She shouts "Bye Bye!" and laughs at all the nannies being blown away. She waves hello to Mary Poppins as she descends onto the steps on 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Jane and Michael are acknowledged as "fwends". Uncle Albert earns a giggle. The carousel elicits shouts of "Horse!". She even sings along to some of the songs. I have watched this movie with Anna at least a dozen times at this point and I still love every minute of it.
Well, you can only watch a movie so many times before you start to over-analyze it. Mary Poppins is such a wonderful movie and I love watching it as a parent. There are so many valuable lessons in it, so here are some from my own observations:
Daddy Matters - it's easy for a breadwinner father to get caught up in providing for his family, but no matter who is at home interacting with the children on a day-to-day basis, his affections, attention and presence are just as important. The mother in this movie is a fascinating character to watch, but it's obvious that her affections for the children aren't enough - they need their Daddy too.
Work Before Play - tidy up the proverbial nursery and you can enjoy your day with a clean conscience! The key is to get the children involved in the cleaning. It teaches them to take pride in their space and to take care of their possessions. I also love the scene where Mary Poppins sets up her room. A living space should be clean, beautiful, and functional - and apparently Mary Poppins agrees!
Have an Agenda but Go with What Life Throws at You - Mary Poppins handles interruptions in stride. Helping friends and family takes an easy precedence over errands. You never know what you might be missing if you "can't see past the end of your nose". Take a moment to stop and look around, and see what adventures might lie in store.
Find the Magic - Mary Poppins can take any ordinary chore or event and make it magical. We might not be able to transport our children into chalk drawings, but we could easily create games and fun moments out of our regular daily routines. Life is not a "looming battle to be faced and fought", so find the "spoonful of sugar" and teach your children to enjoy life while also taking care of their responsibilities.
Be Unexpected - A good majority of Jane and Michael's mischievousness is a result of boredom. Children love to be challenged and they are naturally curious. Answer their questions and show them new things. They love to be surprised so use that as a teaching tool, and they will be hungry for more!
Do What You Love and Love What You Do - I love Bert in this movie. He tackles a variety of jobs and loves every single one of them. Mr. Banks also has a genuine passion for his banking career, but it's the sole purpose for his being, to the detriment of his family. What a good lesson to show that no matter what your career path might be, find something you love but don't let it be your whole life!
Sing a Song - I am always delighted to see how much my girls love it when I sing to them. It's even one of the few things that truly calms Maddie down sometimes! We sing when we're cleaning and when we wake up and even at bedtime. And speaking of music, the soundtrack to Mary Poppins is infinitely preferable to get stuck in your head than many of the current-day kid songs. The Hot Dog song, anyone?? lol.
It's the little things that matter - Children really don't need much to keep their happiness up and their affections fed. They don't need grand gestures or elaborate entertainments. I learn this lesson time and time again when Anna is happy whether we spend the day cuddling and playing in the playroom, or going on a big day-long excursion. She just wants to spend time with me and just wants everyone to be happy. Those little pennies of attention go a long way to "feed the birds", as Mary Poppins would say.