We left off in April, with visions of Sugarplum fairies dancing in my aching head due to Buzzy’s infatuation with The Nutcracker Suite. I had to do something to make the music die. But what? People who say that toddlers should be ‘redirected’ from unwanted behavior have not met my daughter. Buzzy is easily the most persistent person I know, including the man who calls every week asking if I want to receive daily delivery of the Washington Post and then feigns surprise when I threaten to cancel my Sunday subscription if he calls one more time, precarious state of the newspaper industry be damned.
I hatched my plan. She’s persistent, yes, but she’s also still shorter than me. One day, the Nutcracker DVD and CD mysteriously got lost high up on top of the TV. The next time “screen time” rolled around, I knew I had to distract her with something that had all of her favorite things: children in the cast, dancing, singing, and brown paper packages tied up with string. You guessed it. I pulled out the big guns: The Sound of Music. It had it all (plus some disturbing stuff about the Third Reich that we sidestep by simply skipping from song to song.)
Given Buzzy’s history, I was prepared for her to embrace the new show. But the degree of her passion exceeded my expectations. First, she pretended to be Gretel and sang “So Long, Farewell” as she scooted backwards up our staircase on the way to bed. Then, she sang and scooted every time she went up our staircase. Then, every time she went up any stairs at all. I had to pick her up to avoid being trampled. You may have seen us at the mall? I was the mother with a toddler who was writhing in her arms and shrieking, “I’m Little Gretel. I’M LITTLE GRETEL.”
By late May, we had the stair situation under control, but Buzzy branched out. She stopped responding to her own name, insisting we call her “Gretel.” (“’Gret’ is my nickname,” she sweetly informed me.) She renamed us, as well. Greg, of course, became “Captain.” I am “‘ Fromine’ Maria.” Rosie, the baby, is “Marta.” (Marta in the movie is actually older than Gretel, but Buzzy overlooked the age discrepancy—presumably because Gretel has more lines).
My and Marta’s names usually fall by the wayside, but Buzzy has simply stopped calling Greg “Daddy” altogether. She races to the door when he gets home yelling, "The Captain is home!" The Captain seems tickled by his new moniker. She calls him “Captain” to everyone else, too, prompting one new acquaintance to ask me in which branch of the military Buzzy’s father served.
While hearing Buzzy try to yodel is always entertaining, I don’t know how many more times I can take her trying to hit the high note in “Do Ray Mi.” I’m also worried we might get a visit from child services. As I left the house last week, I heard the babysitter ask Buzzy, “Um, exactly how often do you watch The Sound of Music?” Buzzy replied airily, “Oh, I see it when the Captain is home.” The truth is that she watches a couple of scenes a week, at most—although the CD is usually on in the car. My goal is to be ready with a new movie the day she eyes her curtains and goes for the safety scissors.