Join the fun over at Mama’s Losin’ It
This week, I’m choosing Prompt 2: A movie you probably should have previewed before letting your kids watch.
Well, after the screaming night terrors that followed our double-feature of Hellraiser II and The Exorcist, I decided maybe the Little One wasn’t ready for horror movies yet. (Totally kidding!!! I’m not THAT bad of a mom!)
Seriously, though, it has been difficult predicting what movies will scare or be too intense for the Little One (he is 5 by the way, and, if I’m being honest, a bit of a pansy). He had nightmares after watching The Rugrats Movie at school (scary trees and clowns), and his recent discovery of the joys of Tom and Jerry took a downward spiral after an episode featuring a particularly scary dog. Yet he watched all six episodes of the Star Wars movies without a single problem! (And yes, I realize Star Wars isn’t really age-appropriate, but he was really just in it for the light saber action.)
In addition, he isn’t a kid who watches a lot of TV or movies by nature. I was bound and determined that he would not be a kid obsessed with TV, and my little plan worked. (To my detriment, I’m finding now. It would be so nice to have a hour or two when he would just sit quietly and watch a movie. But I’ve made my bed and now I have to lie in it.)
But my single biggest mistake to date has been allowing him to watch Toy Story 3.
It isn’t because of nightmares.
It isn’t because of content.
It isn’t because of the insanely high price of theater tickets where a child’s ticket is only 50 cents cheaper than an adult ticket.
It is because the movie captured his imagination to a degree not unlike the Kung Fu Panda Debacle of 2008 (which resulted in karate lessons and a sprained muscle for me when I was reenacting one of the kung fu moves from the film).
The kid is obsessed with playing Toy Story. All day long, I’m forced to adopt the persona of Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl. I’ve played countless games of Stop the Shredder (where a red cape doubles as the fire of the incinerator). I’ve held and rocked a stuffed dog that is a stand-in for Big Baby. I’ve been forced to enlist in the Space Rangers and rid the house of Emperor Zurg’s minions countless times. I’ve learned to dance the salsa so I can accurately recreate the moves of Spanish Buzz. All day long, we live, eat and breathe Toy Story 3.
And with this obsession comes the need for Toy Story toys and merchandise. And if you’ve been to a store lately, you’ll know that Toy Story 3 has pretty much taken over retailing. There is Toy Story 3 everything. I’ve fought off requests for Toy Story 3 pudding, Toy Story 3 fruit snacks, a Toy Story 3 booster seat, Toy Story 3 band-aids, Toy Story 3 crackers, Toy Story 3 beach towels, Toy Story 3 pencils, Toy Story 3 bubble bath, Toy Story 3 sheets, Toy Story 3 Pez dispensers, Toy Story 3 cereal, Toy Story 3 underwear … any trip to Target or Wal-Mart is like taking a walk through a minefield. I attempt to avoid the traps, but it is useless. The kid can spot Buzz Lightyear from 2.5 miles away. His relentless requests become overwhelming, and I inevitably crack … ending up a with a cart full of Toy Story 3 merchandise I don’t remember putting in there. (No joke: On a trip to Target today, I saw Toy Story 3 apples!!! Apples!!! They were just regular apples but in a Toy Story 3 box. ENOUGH!)
So, in retrospect, I wish I’d previewed Toy Story 3 first. Then I would have seen that it was a brilliant piece of film making that would capture any child’s imagination and dominate their playtime. And I should have known that with Disney being involved, there would be an avalanche of merchandise. I should have realized that I would be reenacting Toy Story 3 for 8 hours every day and fending off requests for Toy Story 3 merchandise 24/7. It was a rookie mistake, and I won’t make it again.
Pretending that Despicable Me doesn’t exist,
P.S. Have you seen Inception yet? I dragged Mr. Jenners to see it opening weekend (I thought I’d need help understanding it), and I loved it. And for the record, I was able to follow it … although I did my homework ahead of time so I at least understood the basic premise. If you like trippy, play with your head, intelligent thrillers, I’d recommend it.