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Mozart Mania

October 09, 2007

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Can frugal people really spend forty five euros on chocolate, packaged in Mozart wrappings of every kind? Yes indeed, we got carried away, but again it was the time for it and usually we live so cheaply that we can handle a big splurge now and again. It really was worth it just to see the delight in Mozart's eyes as she excitedly filled her basket!

One thing that Mozart really misses from her parties at home is the California  tradition (which originated in Mexico) of a pinata. If you are not familiar with that tradition, it is a papier mache figure filled with candy (and sometimes a few small toys). Kids get blindfolded and hit it with a stick until it breaks and then all go wild gathering up all the candy. So, as her birthday approached she kept asking for a pinata this year.

We have not seen any pinatas in Europe and in Spain birthdays seem like much smaller events than at home. We considered the possibility of making our own small one as a project, but decided that was more than we parents wanted to deal with. Luckily all the special Mozart candy in Salzburg seemed to be a good second choice and anything that makes the genius of the real Mozart a sweeter experience for a kid seemed like a good thing.

“How many ways can you package chocolate?” is what came to mind when DaVinci looked at all the items for sale, but Mozart just drooled in happy delight. It really was the disney-style of merchandising and could be called “Mickey-Mozart” I suppose. It was kind of fascinating in its own right.

I do have mixed feeling about the over indulgence, as that is one of the reasons we took this trip, I hoped to escape some of the over commercialism of an American upbringing today. I was appalled that before two years of age, my baby who saw no TV and lived in a pristinely rural environment, was already aware of the disney princesses and who the powder puff girls were and longed for them. It is interesting reading to see how much effort and focus group testing has gone into marketing to children and it works!

Just by not having room we have done a lot in getting rid of stuff and keeping things to a minimum, but my child still has too many toys and too many clothes and loves to shop. Her eyes still light up for a happy meal and that silly M sign. I think we have made some improvements though and she can and does make toys out of nothing. Living in the first world we will never escape commercialism and perhaps in not many places on the planet, but we have enjoyed braking free from some of the worst of it.

On the other hand, I remember from my own childhood, the joy, abundance and powerful feeling of having a whole huge bag full of candy on Halloween or huge basketful with super large chocolate bunny on Easter. It seems one of the joys of childhood, thus my mixed feeling. As a parent of one “only” long prayed for child, we battle with this conflict of how and when to indulge and how to teach good values, educate about marketing and thoughtfulness about all choices.

Mozart likes the idea of the abundance of candy I think, more than the actual candy. She never eats much of her Halloween candy, goodies in her Christmas stocking, Easter candy and she sure won't eat all of this. We will have it for months, used a little at a time after dinner for dessert until we all get sick of it and end up throwing it away. Feeling abundant seems a positive experience.

There is nothing like a kid in a candy store and she happily gathered it all in her little basket. It is several weeks later now and we still have not even opened up the violin, but how could we resist one of her instruments in a violin shaped package with a picture of Mozart on it? She loved the things that came in tin packages like hearts and will get use out of them for some time as she loves such things. She especially loved a tin lunch bucket with Mozart and wife on it filled with chocolate and already has plans to take it for lunch time at school in Spain. There are these candy stores all over Salzburg and each museum has there own section. We even saw a car decorated fully with this Mozart candy theme!

Yes, we went a little crazy, but sometimes you just have to do that and a birthday celebration for a brand new seven year old nicknamed Mozart, seemed as good a time as any. They did look pretty cute piled on that red velvet couch with her presents in our Magic Flute room and added more festive charm and kid decadence! Rare crazy splurges add a little spice to life and travel  sometimes.


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