The other day I did something wildly spontaneous, relatively speaking. I popped out for some basic supplies and passed a cinema. I used to love going to the cinema in the olden days (pre-parent). I used to go straight from work and would use Monday’s half price ticket offer to justify seeing two movies, one after another. I love the escapism that film offers, it wouldn’t take long before my thoughts were cleansed of work and I was being taken to another place. I would volunteer each year for the Melbourne International Film Festival, selling tickets and showing people to their seats in return for a festival pass. This was my Golden Ticket and I would pour through the Festival Program picking out the most mind bending selection I could manage, making sure that like any good lolly bag I had a little bit of everything. That night the cinema, a cinema I walk past quite happily most days, beckoned me – “come in dear boy and make your self at home, its been too long”. I didn’t need to be asked twice.
The Hobbit was about to start. I have fond memories of my Dad reading The Hobbit to me when I was a wee lad. Imagine what a book like that does when paired with the rich imagination of a little boy? I paid the man his money, turned my nose up at the popcorn and scoured the cinema for the perfect seat. I will gladly sit in the corner of the room, 2 foot from the screen, craning my neck in a most unhealthy fashion if it means I don’t have to endure a close encounter with a pack of cinema binge eaters. I’m a mild-mannered chap capable of smiling politely at all manner of provocations, but people who go to the cinema on some sort of culinary expedition irk me. I can condone a single purchase of popcorn, icecream or lollies, that’s fine but if you want a three course Nacho, Hotdog, Icecream extravaganza then go to a bad restaurant. If I am stuck near a pack of cinema suckers, crunchers and slurpers I struggle to focus on the film and tend to fantasise instead about the different ways I could use their confectionary to torture them, you can do a lot of damage with a choc-top if you know what you’re doing.
Fortunately the cinema was full of like minded individuals and my psychotic tendencies went untroubled. I normally plump for a bit of gritty social realism over dwarves and wizards but I was just happy to be back in a cinema. Half way through the film, the character of Gollum was introduced. For anyone who doesn’t know Gollum started out life as Smeagol, a simple man of simple pleasures (is there any other type?) who became corrupted by the evil powers of the One Ring he found whilst out fishing one day. The ring twisted his mind and body into something unrecognisably evil. He had to have the ring at all costs.
A funny thing started happening, Gollum reminded me of someone I knew, I had that nagging feeling where you can’t quite place where you know someone from. Let’s see what we have; referring to himself in the first person, jagged little teeth, appalling table manners, thinning hair, nappy like garment, split personality disorder, part crawl/part walk, values a single object above all else and will harm anyone who tries to come between them – it was Max and his dummy! Just like Gollum Max refers to himself in the first person “Maxy’s precious”, just like Gollum Max has jagged little teeth, thinning hair, wears a nappy, has schizophrenic tendencies, has a hybrid walk/crawl going on, lacks table etiquette and will gladly scratch your eyes out if you try to separate him from his precious, his dummy.
I suppose that makes me a hairy footed, little bodied, Hobbit creature doing his best to part Gollum from his Precious. Not very cool but it will have to do. Max has always had a dummy to go to sleep. We nearly weaned him off it at about 8 months but a 25 hour flight to England showed us it had its charms. He is given his Precious just before bed but the power of his Precious seems to be gaining a stronger pull over poor little Max recently. He gives it up with increasing reluctance each morning, he is often caught trying to engineer a lasso out of his blanket to snaffle his Precious back through the bars of his cot and to try to handle it yourself will see him lash out with violent intent.
Far be it from me to actually read any of the literature on weaning little ones off their precious, I was hoping someone out there, someone with Gandalf like wisdom might have some pearls, before Middle Earth (our house) is doomed forever. Now that we’ve established I am in fact a massive nerd I am off to assemble my Star Wars figurines into piles of Friend, Enemy and Lover, come here Leia.