As most little girls do at some point in this post-2013 world, my three-year-old daughter, Arlie, has entered the “Frozen” obsession part of her development.
The transition into this stage of her life, which I’m praying will end sooner rather than later, has been fascinating to watch and painful to endure. Every day begins with a performance of “Let it Go” or “Show Yourself” or “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” or “Lost in the Woods.” Every day ends with a performance of one or more of those same songs. Sometimes, as Arlie’s mother tucks her in at night, she’ll whisper, “sing me a lullaby,” and when Mandy inevitably attempts to lay the groundwork for turning our child into a music snob by singing something like Steely Dan’s “Black Cow,” Arlie will cut her off and gently demand she sing something from the popular Disney movie or its recently-released sequel.
The books I read Arlie at night are “Frozen” themed.
The pillow upon which she lays her head is “Frozen” themed.
The toys to which she clutches at night are “Frozen” themed.
The clothes she demands to wear each and every day are “Frozen” themed.
My slow descent into madness is “Frozen” themed.
I myself am no stranger to the siren song of nerdy obsessions. I’ve slept beneath Ninja Turtles sheets and read Star Wars novels. I’ve contemplated (am contemplating) Godzilla tattoos and plastered my walls with Spider-Man posters. I’ve played “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” from beginning to end more than a half-dozen times. I know what it’s like to love a piece of pop culture wholeheartedly.
So in a way, I find my daughter’s unceasing love for Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf endearing, even as I contemplate shoving pencils into my ears as she belts “Into the Unknown” … not the entire song, just the words “Into the Unknown” … at the top of her little lungs for thirty-seventh time in the last forty-two seconds.
The family just returned from a trip to Walt Disney World, where Arlie’s obsession was allowed to reach its pinnacle. If Disney knows one thing, it’s how to exploit a child’s love for their properties. Every store we visited in that sprawling place featured at the very least a handful of “Frozen”-related merchandise – stuffed Olafs or plastic Annas or glitter-splashed dresses that transform little girls into ice queens. And Arlie wanted them all, because that’s what fans do with the properties they love. They collect.
“I don’t have a Sven stuffy,” Arlie whined as we passed a rack filled with plush renditions of the cartoon reindeer, all but throwing the plush Anna and Elsa we’d already mortgaged our house to buy her to the ground.
Mandy and I reminded her of the toys she’d already received … not to mention the replica of Elsa’s dress she’d worn all week. (That was an investment; it’ll need to pull double duty as her prom dress. I also expect her to get married in it.)
But those things were of the past, and the collector’s mentality is strictly forward-thinking. It’s about what you have, certainly. But it’s just as much about what you don’t have. And Arlie did not have a Sven stuffy.
She still doesn’t, by the way. We only have so many organs we can sell.
Anyway, I don’t know when this obsession will end. Maybe never. All I know is, there are a lot of people who are going to have to make good on years of grandstanding, because Hell is “Frozen.”