Because she doesn't get to watch the movie all that much, we have to play Ariel. For this, she must put on her mermaid costume (a hand-me-down from her cousin Devin). She then directs me in how to act out the movie for her. Yes, for her. I play prince Eric. The first time we did this, I asked what I thought was a fair question. "What do they do?" She looked at me like I was too stupid to live and said, "They marry." I then floated what I thought was another fair question. "How do they do that?" She sighed at me. I was kneeling on the floor next to her for this conversation. She looped her arms loosely around my neck, turned her face toward an invisible camera and smiled serenely into the distance.
That's getting married? Okay, fair enough. Plenty of time later to layer in the complexities of that situation.
Okay that was phase one. Getting married as Ariel. Now in phase two, we have to act out actual scenes from the movie. And Sammie-the-bamster has her daddy's 20 carat brain. There's no telling how many songs, movie scenes and kid books she has floating around in there word-for-word. Her favorite scene is the fight scene toward the end in which Prince Eric and King Trident fight Ursula the Evil Witch. I was shocked to learn that I had to play all three of these characters.
"Well, who are you?" I asked. Foolishly, I thought we could share the burden here.
"I'm Ariel," she said. And truly, she was the only one of us wearing a mermaid dress. So, there I was, standing in the living room, fighting myself and myself to the death, while my four-year-old daughter lolled on the couch and made archly critical comments about my performance.
"Not like that!" she shouted. "Don't say it like that. You're not doing it right." I am going to go ahead and admit here that my evil laugh lacked verve, and that my Prince Eric fight moves were somewhat limp and half-hearted. But finally, I'd had enough of the peanut gallery and I turned to her and said, "Well, am I at least hitting my marks?" I thought this comment to be pretty clever and dry.
The thing I discovered is that when Sammie knows she's being mocked but doesn't quite know what's going on, she does this: She flips her hair with one hand and says, "Whatever, blah, blah, blah."
And so she trumped me yet again.