A morning out to see Disney Africa’s showcase

On Thursday, it was time for the annual Disney Africa showcase. This is one of my favorite events every year. Sure, there are amazing game launches throughout the year, and an overseas trip for work is amazing, but staying local and doing the local event scene, Disney Africa has this down to an art. The Venue in Melrose is ideal for it – big enough to accommodate everyone without feeling too crowded or too empty. Plus, there is great food and a cool brand showing their stuff. It was to be my first morning out without Harley for more than half an hour or an hour.

Leading up to it, I was so nervous. Harley has been super clingy lately – it’s about the right timing for her to have intense separation anxiety as she understands that we are separate people now and wants me to always be around her. We play lots of peekaboo, and I always tell her that even when I go away, I always come back. I’ve been doing everything I can to try and help her understand this, but I’m not too sure it’s actually working just yet.

I dropped Harley off with her awesome Aunt Kelly. I filled the nappy bag with everything I could imagine she might need – obviously tons of nappies, wipes and cream, but also plenty of toys and even Panado in case her teeth were bothering her. I was nervous to go, but also excited for a morning off. I need more time for myself, a scarce (read: non-existent) thing these days. I wished Kelly luck, told her to call if she needed anything, and off I went.

It was wonderful being out. First up, check out this lovely food they gave us.

I’m convinced the Joburg Disney showcase is better than those coastal ones!

A photo posted by Zoe Hawkins (@moonstormer) on

But it’s about way more than catering, so I was amped to sit down and watch the presentation. As we settled in, I got a picture from Kelly – Harley was napping. Yay! I could relax and enjoy myself. Which I did.

As usual, there were a few things that I wanted to hear about, but also a variety of surprises. Counterfeit Cat looks hilarious and like a lot of fun. It’s definitely something that I can see Harley enjoying watching, and Dean sitting right next to her laughing at all the jokes. Starring a lazy house cat and an alien who dresses as a cat, it’s just outlandish enough to be quirky and funny and strangely heartwarming, too.

Speaking of heartwarming, Queen of Katwe was not on my radar at all until the showcase. Then they showed us this trailer and I was moved almost to tears – this is exactly the kind of story that makes me sob. Plus, it’s got some great female characters, smart women playing chess, and an African vibe. Sounds ideal for the type of stuff I want Harley to be exposed to as she grows up.

The other surprise? The new live action Beauty and the Beast. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I saw so many animations that were fantastic that were later followed up by live action movies that were terrible. However, it seems that Disney has finally figured out how to make incredible live action films, probably because the technology has caught up. The Jungle Book, The BFG, and now Beauty and the Beast. It’s still a ways away, but we saw an excellent animation test with Mrs Potts and Chip. Here’s the teaser trailer that people went mad for when it was originally released.

Finally, I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy when I saw it, but it didn’t blow my mind the way so many people raved about it. But Volume 2? It looks so much better, probably because the characters don’t need to be introduced, but can actually be explored in more depth. Plus, Baby Groot is quite possibly the best and most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. I had already decided that I wanted to cosplay Harley as Groot in a pot for rAge this year, but now I’m even more sure of it. I am Groot!

The event did run a bit long, though, and apparently Kelly had a really rough time with Harley. Despite sending me that peaceful, sleeping picture, Harley actually screamed the rest of the time. Sure, she took a 30 minute nap, but otherwise was a demon.

I felt so bad. I felt bad for Kelly – I know she was excited to babysit and instead was stuck with an awful experience. So much for Harley making her broody, I think she was a bit shocked at just how hysterical and inconsolable a baby can become. I felt bad for Harley, too. She obviously wanted her mommy, and I was nowhere to be found. My poor little baby. And I felt sorry for myself. I love my baby, and I’m happy to spend tons of time with her every day. But I liked the idea that sometimes I could have a break, sometimes we could be apart. It seems we’re not quite at that point yet. Poor baby, poor Aunty Kelly, poor mommy.

And there’s the part that’s so hard, the part that isn’t said. Kelly was nice to me about it, but I could see on her face that she was shocked. Does she now think that I’m a bad mommy because my kid was upset to be without me? I know in my heart of hearts that it’s the opposite – if our relationship weren’t functional she wouldn’t even care if I were gone, wouldn’t be comforted by my return. It almost felt like a judgement against me, like a “good” baby wouldn’t have been upset to be without her mommy for the morning. That a good mommy would have a baby who could stay with other people without crying or screaming. Why do we feel so responsible when our babies get upset, when our babies aren’t a breeze for other people? Why do we apologize for their tears? It’s not that Kelly was judging me, but I end up blaming myself anyway. Silly mommy.


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