Friday, February 22, 2013

Pizza Night, Movie Night

Another Friday is here.  Fridays are special in my family.  We call them “Friday night, Pizza night.”  So long as the four of us are all home and there are no parties, practices or other activities we have pizza and a movie.  Kids want predictability and routine, even if they seem to butt their heads against it sometimes.  But the reality of this routine…our kids love it.  In fact, our daughter will try to rearrange potential sleepovers to protect the sanctity of our Friday nights. 

Most often we just grab a couple pre-made pizza crusts and top them.  Sometimes we will use the dough from Trader Joe’s and once we made it from scratch.  No matter the crust option, the kids often participate one way or the other…topping, kneading, mixing…pizza is easy for the kids to jump in and out as they like.  Sadly, their favorite…no…their only toppings are ham and pineapple.  I am horrified and offended and really struggle to allow such a thing in my house.  I’ve tried to explain to them that a true pizza, as defined by the EU and Italy under its Guaranteed Traditional Speciality laws, doesn’t allow pineapple on pizza but they just ignore me.  Do they not care about the law?  What kind of kids am I raising here!?

Alas…the pizza goes into the oven and the next step of our tradition begins.  The kids curl up on the couch and start a movie.  This is one element that sees variety.  Sometimes they each pick a movie and we watch half of each and finish them on Saturday.  Sometimes they agree, then pigs fly over the house, and we watch just one.  My favorite nights are when we, the parents, pick the movie and we get to watch what I consider Special Event movies.  These have been Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, James and the Giant Peach, The Secret World of Arriety and most recently, The Sandlot.  And I have them queued up for the next few years… The Dark Crystal, Spirited Away, Willow, Bridge to Terabithia, and so on. 

I’ve noticed that watching these movies with the kids is really interesting.  If we are watching Scooby-Doo or The Power Rangers they simply stare, speechless, motionless for hours it seems.  Not a peep.  But when we watch these richer, more complex movies…the ones we watched as kids and never forgot…they can’t go five minutes without a question or a thought.  The level of engagement is all-together different.  This speaks volumes for why these movies stuck with us all these years.  And frequently the kids ask to watch these again the next day.  The first time we all watched The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Labyrinth, and The Neverending Story  they must have each been seen by the kids six times in a single weekend.   The same cannot be said of the Power Rangers.   

As for the adults… sometimes we sauté some veggies and top a pizza, sometimes we just have cheese and crackers, some salad and a couple glasses of wine.  Sometimes we sit with the kids and sometimes we have to retreat to the dining room.  But we love the Special Event movies and nobody enjoyed The Sandlot more than my baseball-crazed wife.

Now if I can just find a movie that explains the atrocity of pineapple on pizza!         
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