Monday, October 30, 2006

How to watch The Wizard of Oz with a not-quite-4-year-old

I undertook the watching of The Wizard of Oz with my not-quite-4-year-old spontaneously, as it happened to be on television just when television-viewing seemed like an appropriate thing to be doing, but I recommend against it; indeed, this activity calls for careful preparation, and to that end, I give you a sort of study guide, a list of questions you may wish to consider and devise potential answers for before embarking on the experience. This list is by no means exhaustive, but a little preparation may enhance your viewing pleasure. Be sure to be fully rested when you do choose to engage in this activity; it can be exhausting.

Why is it so windy?
Where does wind come from?
Is she dead?
Where's the farm?
Why does the house fall on the witch?
Where's the witch? You said there'd be a witch?
Why are you singing, Mommy?
Where's the witch?
Is that the witch?
Is that the witch there?
Is she a witch?
Why does the witch look like a princess?
Why is the (other) witch's face green?
Where'd the witch go?
Why are you singing again, Mommy?
Is that a witch?
What's a scarecrow?
Where's the witch?
(Note that talking trees do not elicit any questions from your not-quite-4-year-old.)
Is that a robot?
Do robots have hearts?
Why don't robots have hearts?
Why is the lion walking on two legs?
Where's the witch?
Why are they falling asleep?
C'est quoi "poppy" en fran├žais?
Why isn't the scarecrow falling asleep?
Are they dead?
How does the princess make it snow?
Why is everything green?
What's a wizard? Is that the wizard?
Why is there so much fire in the wizard's room?
Is Dorothy going home? Why can't she go home?
Why does she want to go home?
Where's the witch?
Why do the monkeys have wings?
Why does the witch have monkeys? Can we have a monkey?
Can I have a monkey if I'm a witch?
Why are the monkey's taking the little dog?
Where are they taking Dorothy?
Where's the witch?
Why don't the monkeys take the lion? Don't monkeys like lions?
Why is the witch mean?
Why does she want the shoes?
Where'd the witch go?
Why does the witch set the scarecrow on fire?
Why did Dorothy throw water on the witch?
Why is the witch melting?
Why does water make the witch melt?
Will I melt if you throw water on me? Why not?
Do I have to take a bath?

The climactic witch-melting scene will be essentially the end of your viewing experience, as the television-watching activity must now be replaced with scene reenactment.

The scene can be reenacted with two people (Dorothy and the witch), but ideally a third will play the scarecrow. Imagination is ok, but props are better: something to serve as a broom (like a broom) and something to serve as a water receptacle (we used a hat, but a pail will do nicely). It's important to take turns so that your not-quite-4-year-old can experience the thrill of each of these important elements: 1. being set on fire, 2. throwing water, 3. melting. Repeatedly.

Be prepared for follow-up questions and clarifications in the ensuing days.

All usual pretend-play scenarios will be suspended indefinitely as witch-melting scene reenactment is perfected. Scene reenactment can be incorporated into bathtime, but script improvisations should be avoided till their (psycho)logical implications have been tested in a dry and nonvolatile environment.
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