Thursday, July 9, 2009

Up, up, and sobs

Perhaps it's the conservative old-fashioned Waldorf upbringing or the multitude of articles my mom sent me when my kids were newborns about the ill effects of media on our children, but I'm pretty protective about what my kids watch. Sure, my kids see a bit of tv and movies and have a few minutes each week on the computer, after all, it is a modern world, but I'm very careful and selective so I don't damage their young impressionable innocent minds. I try not to judge others that are more free and less censured with media around their children, but sometimes, well, I cringe and bite my tongue so I don't go into some holier than thou lecture. I never want to be one of those moms. Yikes.

After a week full of fabulous playdates at our home, we need to get out but I don't have it in me for much effort. After a terribly stressful morning trying to get an impossible last minute report done for my managers, and a fort filled home that I wanted to avoid doing cleanup on, I decide that going to see the movie Up was the perfect thing to do. In my mind, we buy ticket, sit down, escape for almost two hours (no fighting, no messes, no energy), and leave with the satisfaction of enjoying a great movie like the rest of regular society. Although, major cringe here, it's PG movie, but after rave reviews from many fellow moms, I feel confident in my choice and go for it.

Big mistake. I gear up for the expected bittersweet montage of the old couple's life together, then her death. I heard EVERYONE cries at that one. It is beautiful. I wipe a few tears. My kids? Nothing. They don't even know what happened. Then the balloon house in the thunderstorm? The beginning of the end. Now, I don't know if Talia has a delayed reaction to the sad basis for the movie, but she does not stop crying and clutching my arm. SOBBING. What is she upset about? She feels scared that the little boy will never find his way back home from being so lost. She cannot be consoled. Quinn keeps asking me in an upset voice "when will this movie be over???". Brutal. Conflicting. But, ultimately I must to do the right thing for my kids and leave the movie theater.

Maybe by leaving and ending their (our) misery I can earn a few good mommy points to begin to make up for the huge deduction of bad mommy points for traumatizing my children, hopefully not for life. Thank goodness my wonderful friend Amy was home and open for a happy happy joy joy impromptu playdate and her bartender, uh hum, gracious husband, was serving fresh mojitos to help melt away the bad mojo from our dreadful movie experience.

Lesson here? There is a reason why I keep my kids away from most "kid" movies that come out - the majority of them are really geared toward adults and the lowest common denominator. My children, especially Talia, still don't like watching movies where children or animals are in peril or lost, even now that she is almost six. My mistake for thinking she grew out of that. But, I'm glad that they are not numb or desensitized to bad things that happen in movies (people/animals getting hurt is not funny!). What a good reminder that although they seem to be maturing more every day, they are still very young and need more support than ever before. Their world is getting bigger and scarier and intense. They will grow to understand that in time.

For now, they have to learn how to deal with difficult stuff and it's my task as parent to teach them coping skills, like thinking about ice cream or swimming at Grandma's or their friends when they can't stop being sad or upset. So, while I'm trying to get the very bad mommy image out of my head of traumatized children in the movie theater, I find solace in my tall glass of Merlot and my big bowl of Waffle Cone Overload ice cream, daydreaming about my brunch at the beach on Sunday. I'm slowly recovering from the guilt and being totally emotionally drained, and those goodies certainly are helping.

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