Well, so much for freakish tales of our trip to Washington, D. C. I went there expecting horrific adventures that would curl your hair and I got nothing but a weekend of spit up and sleepless nights curled around the baby. Not much different from being home. Figures.
However, I do not approach my blog empty-handed today. There have been recent developments in the Madden household sure to make you laugh, even as they make me wince. I’m talking about Cassandra’s continuing fascination with Disney princesses. She grows more and more obsessed by the hour. While watching cartoons with me on Friday afternoon, she saw an ad for the new Light-Up Little Mermaid doll and promptly declared, “Mommy, I need that doll.”
“No, honey. You don’t need that doll,” I explained. “You want that doll.”
“Uh-huh,” she said, bobbing her head in complete agreement. “I need that doll.”
What she also needs, she told me later that night, is the poofy white wedding gown Ariel wears when she marries her darling prince. Here’s how that discussion went.
Cassie: “Mommy, I NEED Ariel’s white dress!”
Me: “You mean the big poofy froo-froo gown she wears at the end of the movie?”
Cassie: “Yeah, that one. I need a dress just like that.”
Me, pointing to my wedding portrait above the fireplace: “Just like the one Mommy’s wearing in that picture up there, with the nine foot train and floor length veil?”
Cassie, nodding emphatically: “Yeah! That’s it!”
Me: “And do you need a big party to go with that dress, honey, complete with a rented ballroom, two hundred guests, a sit down dinner, mediocre disc jockey, and a seven-tiered cake?”
Cassie, dancing with excitement: “Uh-huh! Uh-huh!”
Me: “And an open bar where a bunch of disgruntled bridesmaids wearing ugly teal dresses complain about the huge butt bows you stuck them with?”
Cassie, doing her best Tom Cruise imitation on the couch: “Yeah! That’s it Mommy!”
Me, going in for the kill: “And do you need ice sculptures to go with all that?”
Cassie, eyes growing big as dinner plates: “Ice sculptures, Mommy?”
Me: “That’s right, baby doll. Ice sculptures of you and your prince.”
Cassie: “YES!! ICE SCULPTURES! I NEED ICE SCUPLTURES!”
Me, pointing to her father: “Then you need to talk to that man right over there, because he’s paying for it.”
Of course, the upshot of my little bit of fun is that I screwed myself because Michael now claims he can no longer afford to buy me anything as he is too busy saving up for Cassie’s future wedding.
But back to the subject at hand. Cassie continues to immerse herself in the imaginary world of Ariel and friends. She’s seen the movie enough times now that she can act out entire scenes. Sometimes she’ll do the scene on her own, but most often she likes to assign various roles to others while she plays Ariel. Michael is usually Eric, the prince. Sam gets to be Flounder, Ariel’s little fish friend. And as for me, her beloved mother? Why I get to be Ursula, the bloated sea hag from the Black Lagoon.
I don’t know why, but whenever Cassie decides I must act out a movie with her, I always play the role of the villain. If we’re doing Beauty and the Beast, I have to be Gaston, the big baboon disguised as a virile hunter. If we’re doing Pocahontas, I have to play ugly old Governor Radcliffe (even though I do not have a mustache!). If the movie is Cinderella, I have to play both step sisters and the wicked step mother, plus the stinking cat too on certain days. It’s like my daughter thinks I’m evil, and I don’t know why.
Quit laughing. I can hear you.
I tried to convince Cassie to let me be someone cool, like Sebastian, the singing crab. I even put on my best Jamaican accent and did the whole song and dance routine for “Under The Sea.” No dice. “You be URSULA!” she insisted.
So I’m stuck playing Ursula, she of the skanky bleached hair with the multitudes of blubbery black tentacles trailing from her tookus. One day I hope my daughter will look back and realize what a hero her mother truly was, to spend all day staying at home, taking care of her, changing her diapers and wiping her stinky little behind. I hope she’ll realize that I was a good sport, a mom who was willing to play an oozing scumbag squid woman just so her little girl could act out her fantasies of being an over-hyped, over-marketed, and over-rated mermaid. I hope she’ll appreciate all that I’ve sacrificed for her (namely my dignity). Until that day arrives, I’ll just keep hauling my ugly squid-butt after her, playing up the villain to the best of my abilities. Feh! I hate being typecast.
For today’s artwork, I’m revisiting a sketch I did earlier last month. I really liked the figure, so I’ve gone back and added some background this time. I still haven’t worked out all the details. That window on the right side bothers me. I think I may take it out and replace it with a balcony instead. I’m going to keep playing with it until I get it right, then put it on my to-do list for digital painting. I’ve been reading a great book on digital painting for manga, so I’m hoping to put into practice all the techniques I’ve read about when I finally get to sit down with this image.
The Beautiful Bed – pencil sketch, 11 October 2006