Written by Emily
A few days ago Sylvie, my 2yo, collapsed on the kitchen floor. With a red face and hot wet tears lining her cheeks, she wailed, “I want too much! I just want too much!” A limit of three M&Ms was an insufferable indignity that she was simply unwilling to consider.
“I want too much!”
Her fury calmed, but she stayed facedown on the floor for a few minutes. We all walked around her. Eventually she got up and played with the dollhouse. It escaped her that her tantrum resulted in zero M&Ms, but I wasn’t going to remind her.
When I retold the story at dinner that night, the entire scene made me think of the movie Seven. Maybe Sylvie forgot about the M&Ms because while she was in the throes of her fit, I played the gluttony scene from the film, so she could reassess her desire for “too much”. No. I did not.
I did however imagine myself in a children’s version of that film, a version with no heinous crimes but several Brad Pitt cameos. In my movie, the mom would be forced to conjure up behavioral strategies to inspire her children to ignore their most innate and learned desires: the seven deadly sins. We’ll call the movie Seven, but we could also call it Everyday, the Movie.
I am not in a position to know what it means to have teenagers, which seems like a no-brainer here, instead the child version would involve a mother in the kitchen preparing a meal. Clawing at her legs like a cat at a scratching post is a toddler screaming her name over and over and over again, lusting for her mother’s undivided attention. When the mother looks down at the child, the little dear looks at her blankly having completely forgotten what she needed. This scene continues on repeat in perpetuity or until the child is a teenager who prefers her room to do angsty, lusty, teenage things.
See introduction and multiply it by a self-serve ice cream shop with a toppings bar. To add a real ironic twist, the next scene will show the same child taking her mother’s anti-gluttony message to heart at the dinner table with a complete refusal to stomach a single thing on her plate.
Picture this: a parent in a hurry to grab a few things at the grocery store, inadvertently passes a toy section she didn’t even know existed. The child, who had just been calmed by a pretzel stick, sees the toys and nearly hurls herself out of the shopping cart to grab every over-priced item on the shelves including several toys the parent is sure she just dropped off at Goodwill after a toy purge.
Insert iPad, iPhone, iAnything here. Cue a parent trying to get a child’s attention. Add the sounds of crickets chirping in response. End scene.
Parent removes iProduct from child’s hand.
The camera pans to show-and-tell near the holidays: a.k.a. free advertising for corporate America. In the next scene, a cacophony of children’s voices sound in the school parking lot at pick-up, “I want! I want! I want!”
The setting is the community pool. Two mothers foolishly assume that this is the year they will finish a pool-side conversation. Instead, the women are attacked by “Mommy, look what I can do! Mom, look! Check out what I can do now! Look! Look! Look! Isn’t that awesome?!” The children are like birds in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, and the mothers are mere victims of their pride.
I’m going to keep flushing out the details before I pitch it to a major movie producer. I’m just not sure the world is ready for this kind of graphic horror.