For my daughter, “The Wizard of Oz” is not a movie about a little girl. It’s a movie about a little black dog that goes over the rainbow and encounters a couple of witches, a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion. Throughout the movie the little dog tries to have fun and enjoy himself, but a little girl in a blue dress keeps picking him up, putting him in mortal danger, and basically doing everything she can to ruin his little canine vacation.
Shortly after renting the movie from the library it was clear that my daughter was in love. She was enthralled by the magical land she observed on the TV screen. I was feeling a little nostalgic for my own childhood so this made me smile a bit. Actually, it made me ecstatically happy and turned me into a goofy, giggling mother with very definite plans. I imagined my family dressing up as character’s from the movie. My daughter could be the lion, I could be the scarecrow, and Jim could be Dorothy. I even started looking for the costume pattern’s online. It was going to be a GREAT Halloween this year. Who could resist an adorable little lion and a bearded Dorothy? Then, in a fit of unbridled enthusiasm I went out and purchased the movie AND little, ruby red slippers for my daughter to wear. I mistakenly thought she identified with Dorothy, but I should have known better. Soon it would be very clear which character had earned her loyalty and utter devotion.
At first we didn’t know what she wanted. She kept asking for “Arf-Arf” and we thought she wanted her little, red dog. We handed it to her repeatedly and watched her bow to the ground in frustration. With all the fits thrown over this miscommunication we started trying to put the clues together. She was pointing to the TV and saying, “T. Arf-Arf?” Finally the wizard gave me a brain and some courage so I got her three videos down from the TV cabinet: Elmo, Oz and Pooh and asked her, “Which one is Arf-Arf?” That’s when she pointed to “The Wizard of Oz” and began smiling and clapping with excitement. I told her the name of the movie and she nodded very seriously in approval and said, “Boz. Arf-Arf.” That’s when I realized the movie was, for her, all about the dog.
To each her own I guess. I am just praying I can find a Toto costume pattern before next Halloween. I can just picture Jim dressed up like Dorothy walking our dog-daughter down the road while I, dressed up as the scarecrow, fall all over myself and toss moldy hay into the wind.