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March 08, 2006

In The Words of Willy Wonka...

Once a week, the girls are allowed to watch a movie, a whole movie. This is a highly anticipated event, possibly more by me than by them, since it buys me two uninterrupted hours, if I can excuse myself for exposing a two year-old to the Wicked Witch of the West's flying monkeys and risk teaching my four year-old Veruca Salt's tricks of the brat trade . Which brings me to their favorite movie -- Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, the one from the 70s with Gene Wilder.

If you can get past the 20 second boat-in-the-tunnel scene where a centipede crawls across a man's face and a chicken is beheaded, and forgive the directors for including it, it's a helluva movie. Not only is it dripping with entertainment value, it also offers a lexicon for parenting that kids instantly understand.

Here's what I mean:

1. All sentences that start with "I want..." are forbodden in our house. All I need say is "Hey, how did Veruca get in here...?"

2. Augustis Galooping, a new verb I am officially putting into circulation, is a reminder to adults and children alike to "save some room for later." When said with a German accent, this is the lightest possible way to communicate that someone is behaving piggishly.

3. Wonka's mysterious reminders have taken on a mythic feeling for me -- the kind of feeling you don't second guess or talk back to. My favorite, just edging out "You should never ever doubt what no one is sure about," is "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." I find these bring out the bouncy teenage babysitter in me when I've slipped into Military Mom.