On Seeking Frobriety.

It’s something I know I need to do.

For myself. For my family. For our ability to continue to function as normal human beings.

We need space between us and Frozen.

We need to admit that we are powerless over Let it Go and that our lives have become unmanageable with frozen fractals all around.

We need to realize that Frozen is a power greater than ourselves. And that is dangerous. So we need to find a power greater than Frozen. And there is only one. An act of true love – no wait.

We need to turn our will and our lives over to God for His help in fighting the curse of Do You Want to Build a Snowman being stuck on endless repeat in our heads like a Lamb Chops song on Crystal Meth.

This guy? Represents the monster that Froddiction can become.

Frozen Addiction

And it’s time we get Frober.

We started with baby steps.

When the kids would ask to listen to the soundtrack in the car, I would say….no.

It’s Mommy’s turn to pick the music.

This, of course, was met with wails of shock and terror, beggings, DTs, and inconsolable depression.

I would turn my music up louder to drown out the children in their time of suffering.

They would sing over the top, constantly cranking up their volume, shrieking with the ferocity previously only reached by Idina Menzel.

“CONCEAL, DON’T FEEL, DON’T LET THEM KNOW!!! WELL NOW THEY KNOW!!!!!!”

 

The eldest child began questioning my judgment with a desperate whimper in her tone, “But Mommy. Why would you do this to us?”

“We need a day without Frozen.”

She gasped, and sounding just like Elsa upon finding out that Arendelle was frozen over, said, “What?! I don’t remember a day without Frozen!!”

“I know, honey. I know. I need you to trust me that I know what is best for you.”

But my efforts can do little against the power of Frozaholism. Because once it has eaten its way into your children’s souls, no one can truly escape – not them, not you, not the cat.

Every night, after putting Ali to bed, we hear her belting the entire soundtrack word for word and frightfully out of tune, most assuredly standing atop her bed with her arms out and injuring her vocal cords beyond repair.

And Noah. Noah’s favorite song is the intro song, and he knows every syllable, and mutters them in perfect pitch under his breath in a continuous loop.

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s eating lunch…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s sitting on the toilet…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s riding in the car…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s watching Thomas the Train at the insistence of his Father…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While I’m trying to talk on the phone…

“NA NA NA HEYA NA…. HA HEYA AH NA AH…NA HEYA HEYA NA YA OH AH AH NA HEYA OH NO AH NA!!!!!!”

 

We will continue our journey to recovery, but one of those steps is admitting powerlessness. It’s true – I don’t know what is to become of our family.

Will we be able to find the right kind of help to free us from this gripping Froddiction?

Will we achieve a day of Frobriety?

Will my children grow up thinking that all Snowmen like warm hugs?

It’s impossible to know for certain. Because once it lives inside their soul, it’s impossible to truly detoxify. Which is why if you drive by our house on any random day, you’ll most likely see this:

The Mystery of Fred.

Fred came into our lives at lunchtime on the last day of February.

We were having one of our many recent picnics in the front yard, enjoying the benefits of living in Alabama (early, lovely Spring), when he ran purposefully up the street, into our yard, caught Ali’s attention, then immediately rolled over to invite her to pet him.

It was love at first sight.

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For both of them.

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After Ali’s 72-hour ownership of Sam the Cat almost a year ago, she’s been melancholy about her extreme need for another cat.

And Fred seemed willing to comply.

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Fred was an immediate puzzle for me to figure out. He seemed well-fed, tame, groomed, flea and infection-free, yet hungry.

He had no collar, but he was clearly used to children.

He seemed pretty happy to be an outdoor cat, but didn’t pass up the opportunity to attempt entry when the opportunity arose.

He was also quite hypo-allergenic, a fact I much appreciated.

But the MYSTERY.

Where did he come from?

How did he know my daughter needed him?

And, most importantly, how long would he stick around?

I reluctantly checked Craig’s List for Lost Cat listings, as well as watching out for signs in the neighborhood, but Fred seems to be wholly unlisted.

After having several neighbors all corroborate my suspicions that he was male (and one going so far as to say he was a neutered male, thank goodness,) Ali gave him the name of Fred, because apparently she likes strong, one-syllable male names for the felines in her life.

Fred immediately set up shop. With Sheldon-Like Analysis, he tried out each of our porch chairs and swing to find the optimal resting spot, then quickly made it clear that this one was Fred’s Spot.

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He would disappear sometimes, but normally could be found on our porch.

He happily endured the children, both mine and the neighbor’s, taking part in their games and being the utmost of a gentleman.

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He became a regular attender of our picnics,

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Didn’t mind at all that Ali pampered him with treats,

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And posed willingly for her finger-laden photography.

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He even followed Ali up her favorite climbing trees.

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Noah, however, was not as convinced of Fred’s Goodness.

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Because, he explained, “Gramamma has a cat and her cat is mean.”

(He’s right.)

Whether Noah had a fry, a car, or his favorite brick (yes brick), if he saw Fred within 1000 feet, he would yell out,

“No Fred! Don’t take my fry! Mooooommmmmy!!! Fred is trying to take my fry!!”

“No Fred! Don’t take my car! Mooooommmmmy!!! Fred is trying to take my car!!”

“No Fred! Don’t take my brick! Mooooommmmmy!!! Fred is trying to take my brick!!”

Because apparently my Mom’s cat also has a problem with stealing bricks?

But Fred didn’t care.

 

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As Noah thawed, he would work up the courage to run up to Fred, pet him, then run away, squealing with adrenaline.

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And Fred didn’t flinch.

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Fred also has human qualities, picking up food with his paw and eating it like a man – or at least when I rudely fed him straight out of the can.

Fred

(He usually gets dry cat food. But they give you one free can with every bag in hopes that your cat becomes a foodie and demands it.)

Ali proved herself to be quite the responsible pet owner in the most meticulous of ways. She fed Fred. She fretted over Fred when he went off on adventure. And she rarely let him eat a meal alone.

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Or unfettered.

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Even though Fred managed to daily throw his food bowl off the porch and somewhere in the far reaches of the yard, Ali would dutifully find him another bowl or retrieve and wash his thrown bowls. One morning we woke up and found that four bowls had been retrieved and put in front of the door. We immediately assumed that Fred was especially hungry that day and wanted us to know it. Then later realized that Chris had cleaned up the yard the night before.

Fred seems to be friends with the neighbor’s cat, as well – she steals his food, but he follows her around. In fact, we watched her tromp across the street and down into the storm drain. Fred watched too, then took off to follow.

I don’t know what they were doing in that storm drain, but whatever it was I’m glad they took it to a private place.

He’s recently acquired the habit of napping in my lap on sunny afternoons, and I often stare at the top of his head and wonder what secrets he holds.

Who owned you?

What made you leave?

What kids loved you enough to make you so comfortable with my little people?

Where do you go when you disappear for 24 hours at a time?

Will you leave my daughter one day, too? Once a leaver, always a leaver. And I don’t want any heartbreakers hanging around.

And so, I pet him a little harder, begging him with my fingernails to stay forever. For her sake.

Although I cannot seem to come up with a reasonable explanation for Fred’s very purposeful adoption of Ali, she did.

“Mommy, I think I figured out why Fred came here. I think his old owners had a picture of me and Fred saw it and scratched at it and scratched at it every day. And then one day he just had to set off to look for me until he found me, because he knew I was supposed to be his owner.”

And really, who can argue with that?

When Sharing Corrupts.

Ali has a sharing problem.

Her problem is unlike her brother’s sharing problem, which prompted him to sit atop four Hot Wheels like an overprotective mother bird on a nest of eggs for an hour because the little girl across the street was visiting and there was a slight possibility of her having interest in said cars.

No, Ali’s sharing problem is quite the opposite.

Oversharing.

Her problem is unlike my oversharing problem, where I tell you things you had no desire to know. Ever. In your entire life.

No. Her oversharing problem is unique.

They have an economy in Kid’s Church. It includes a currency and a store full of delightful treats. Scooters are the main bill – each Scooter is worth one…Scooter. There are other bills that are worth more than one Scooter, but I’ve only seen those on rare occasions and am uncertain as to the terminology surrounding said treasures.

Scooter, the namesake of the bills, is according to Ali, a real talking creature of unknown genome.

“He’s kinda like a dog…but not a dog. I guess he’s like a monster, but he’s nicer. But he’s definitely not a puppet.”

Ali is Scooter Rich, despite the fact that she’s sharing, readily and often, with many of her friends and random stranger kids that wander into Kid’s Church. Which sounds great and awesome and generous and kind-hearted. But it has created some uncomfortable situations.

Like that Sunday she bribed her favorite male friend with Scooters to convince him to listen to her dream about him.

“But Mommy, last time I dreamed about him, he didn’t want to hear it!”

When said friend was asked by his mother in a rather startled voice, “What did you say when Ali offered to pay you to converse with her?”, he answered, “I said, ‘well, Now you’re talkin’!!’”

Needless to say, we and his parents had several reasons to feel alarm with regards to this new development.

And then there was my other friend, who discovered that her daughter was strung out on a regular stipend from Ali. She had legitimate concerns that Ali was fostering a sense of entitlement into her previously economically innocent seven-year-old.

Generosity. A confusing issue indeed. Made even more perplexing by rumors that Scooter-Sharing might possibly be illegal.

Parenting is tricky, guys.

So I emailed Ali’s Children’s Pastor to dig for wisdom.

Dear Pastor,

I need to discuss a matter with you that has come to my attention, and hopefully receive in return your deep and grand insight into the issue at hand.

My daughter seems to have a Scooter sharing problem. She also seems to have an uncanny ability to amass fortunes of said Scooters, thereby fueling her sharing addictions.

(The latter may be my genetic fault, as I was also uncannily talented at saving funds as a child, never sure how it came to be that I had such grand fortunes compared to my destitute and begging brother.)

I call it a problem because I have recently come into the knowledge that Scooter Sharing may possibly be not be allowed. This knowledge came via a parent via a kid via a kid via a kid, so its credibility is admittedly under scrutiny. But whether it is true or whether it isn’t, Ali’s Scooter Sharing Habits have caused some awkward feelings with other Kid’s Church Parents.

Such as the time that Ali paid {unnamed male} to listen to her dream about him. Which he readily accepted, though on prior occasions when Ali had dreamed about him he had flatly refused to hear the details of said dreams. Needless to say, {unnamed male’s} parents weren’t too keen on the idea of their son accepting a cash-equivalent bribe in exchange for being willing to converse with another human being.

And today, when {unnamed parent} found out that {unnamed female} might have been getting weekly Scooters from Ali for quite some time, leading her to worry that her own daughter now has a future of Government Handouts and Welfare Babies.

So, I would like to find out from the Horse’s Mouth (you being the Horse in this scenario – my apologies) – is Scooter Sharing unlawful? Because my daughter is a rule-follower to the core, and will be devastated to learn that she has been actively and repeatedly participating in serial rule-breaking. However, if it is, I will surely tell her as it might possibly be her loophole out of a life of awkward generosity.

If, however, it is not unlawful and you have no offense toward my daughter for her hyper-generosity, do you have any discerning words for me as I parent Ali through the minefield of a giver’s heart? I want to encourage generosity (which is the only thing I have done thus far), but without her using it as bribery or a plea for affection, and therefore becoming a character-depraving issue for Ali or her Scooter Recipients.

I eagerly await your Pastoral Wisdom.

Sincerely yours,

Rachel

It took him a couple of days to get back to me, clearly because the issue required a thought level deep in nature.

Rachel,

I have come off the mountain and have a few things to say.

1. I have never uttered a “No Share” policy as it relates to Scooters. To be honest I had no idea this was happening so the thought of telling kids not to share hadn’t crossed my mind. Scooters seem to be a commodity and kids freely giving them up is quite surprising. I know siblings have gone in together to get something they would share but not across families.

2. If you feel it would be a help {to make an} amendment to our Kid’s Church bylaws to make sharing outside of families {disallowed}, I would be happy to take this up with Scooter. And I speak with much certainty when I say that I think he will see the reality of the situation and make the right call. Though he is made of fur and sometimes it seems to skew his judgment.

3. I think helping Ali see that Scooters are a way to reward kids for 1) their participation in Kids Church, 2) weekly doing their daily news and 3) a way for me to reward good behavior. So to have a Scooter spent to hear one’s dreams would go against the spirit of what the Scooters are for.

I hope these are helpful thoughts. Please let me know how I can further assist.

I felt it only right to respond with the faint suspicion that had been floating around in the back of my mind.

Thank you for your thoughts on this matter. I am positive that you and Scooter will make the right decisions, and I shall continue to shepherd Ali on my end with regards to proper and improper sharing.

I will also continue to investigate the inexplicable reason as to why she has so many Scooters to begin with – I believe she has a current account balance of at least 9, and she’s sharing every week. Perhaps if her moral code allows her to use Scooters to bribe boys into listening to her dreams, her moral code also allows her to run a Black Market Smuggling Scheme. I recommend that Scooter check his books and vaults for evidence of embezzlement and fraud as soon as possible.

The investigation is ongoing. So please don’t tell Ali about this post.

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