London - The two toddlers stand face-to-face in the infant-school playground. And although they’re strangers, a flicker of something odd passes between them. It’s like static electricity, a silent recognition of some sort. A freaky telepathic moment is occurring in front of me and makes the hair on my arms stand up.
‘You be Anna and I’ll be Elsa,’ commands my small daughter Mabel. Then they start singing loudly in unison: ‘Let it go... the cold never bothered me anyway,’ they chorus.
They are only three and they’ve never exchanged a word before now, but they speak the universal language of Frozen, Disney’s biggest grossing movie EVER. Frozen: the musical epidemic sweeping the nation, relentlessly gathering up every child under 16, male or female, in its cult-like grip.
Like the plot of a particularly dark episode of Doctor Who, I swear the ‘Frozen virus’ has been sent from another planet to take over the minds of our children.
Flashback to our half-term in Cornwall. We’re walking across the clifftops one sunny afternoon, a huge group of families walking towards us. All four of my offspring (aged three to 11) are singing Let It Go, the film’s power ballad. The children of the approaching family are singing it too.
The strangers stop momentarily face-to-face to complete a crescendo of the chorus. And we walk on as if nothing unusual has happened, so accustomed are we now to this extraordinary song, on a soundtrack album which knocked Beyonce off the top of the U.S. Billboard chart, and remained at No 1 for a record NINE weeks.
For the past four months this movie has ruled our lives, outstripping Shrek, Toy Story and the Lion King in Candy family popularity. But what has surprised me most is my youngest’s absolute devotion to it. Peppa Pig I salute you, but you’re history now, babe.
Princess Holly, of Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, you may be a magical, pink fairy princess with wings but Frozen has got two princesses and one of them has badass ice powers that my toddler desires more than she desires a bath of marshmallows in chocolate sauce.
In fact, if I offered to buy her a pony she’d shun it in favour of the blue Princess Elsa dress which, I reckon, would now cost me more than a pony because versions of it change hands for a fortune on eBay. I feel more guilty about failing to get her this than I do about being a working mom, and you all know how guilty I feel about that - having mentioned it here every two minutes for the past five years.
The unstoppable march of Frozen - the fifth highest-grossing movie in box-office history - has spawned a series of YouTube parodies, one of which is especially funny. The worn-out mom’s version of Let It Go ends with the brilliant line ‘their screams never bothered me anyway’.
I thought the children would tire of Frozen (they made my ears bleed singing the soundtrack on our eight-hour journey to Cornwall) but they haven’t. The obsession shows no signs of abating. Long, academic (boring) pieces have been written in the broadsheets about the feminist credentials of Frozen, which seem to be based around the non-pink dress and the lack of a love story.
Columnists far more intelligent than I have questioned Frozen’s meaning at length. Is it a battle hymn for children who feel different but overcome their differences? Is it about growing up and the quest for independence?
Who cares, I say, just answer me this: how the hell do you stop them singing it? I thought those interactive, tyrannical electronic pets, Furbys, were torture, but Frozen is another level of parental abuse.
Do You Want To Build A Snowman?, Fixer Upper and For The First Time In Forever are songs that wake me in the night and which I now hum in meetings. Please make it stop.
I hate musicals, so the adoration of Frozen by my nearest and dearest is the ultimate test of patience and mother-love. But I don’t know if I can go on with it in my life for much longer.
On Mabel’s birthday we gave her Elsa and Olaf the Snowman-themed gifts. She almost burst with joy, glowing with happiness like the Ready Brek kids as she opened them. I can’t take that feeling away from her or stop her holding her palm in my face like Princess Elsa and pretending to freeze me when I annoy her.
So what do I do? Ear plugs? Wine with my breakfast? Or worse still, do I just give in and sing along? - Daily Mail
* LORRAINE Candy is editor-in-chief of ELLE.