Well, we’ve still got a long ways to go before we have as many movies as books, but we’ve still managed to accumulate a nice collection.
I spent part of the morning organizing them, and the girls were just all over me–hovering. I can’t decide if the word I’m looking for is unnerving or annoying. They just wouldn’t go off and play while I had the movies out.
I have this picture of Tilly (the dog I grew up with) watching my dad and his hunting partner butcher and package a moose on our dining room table. She knew she had no rights or access to the meat on the table, but the whole time she sat, slightly forward, tightly coiled: if anything dropped it was not going to hit the floor.
That’s the best illustration I have for what happened today. The girls already had their little movie for the morning, and knew they wouldn’t get another one, but they continued to ask for and hold the movies (They asked names of people on the covers, stacked them in little pile like blocks, told me I couldn’t put stickers on them).
I was labeling the movies. We’ve “flubbed” quite a bit up till now, assuming a lack of awareness that is no longer applicable. So I wanted to go through and thoughtfully decide what ages I think a kid needs to be before they watch each of these things.
I put “w/ Adult” on a lot. I have a pocket of movies I let them watch on their own (Bob the Builder, Franklin, VeggieTales) and then I have the ones that I’ll let them watch, but only if I’m with them (a handful of these I sit in on because I want to skip a visual I don’t want them to keep– the overall story is not a problem, just “that” scene).
Then there were those that I put 9-and-up, 12-and-up, or 16-and-up, on. I reserve the right to make the ages older, since I have no idea now what my kids will be ready for then, but I want the reminder not to eek it down younger some day when I want to just sit with them (these days happened most often when I was pregnant).
Mainly because of what I explained in my Story post, I don’t object to my kids seeing movies. I just want to be firmly in control of what they’re seeing.
It was a surreal experience trying to imagine (with two little girls crawling all over me) what they might be capable of understanding (or surviving) at much older ages. Maybe that was what made their presence so frustrating– that I was trying to focus on something very serious, and a little hard to nail down, and they were persistently (but not hopefully) clambering for more.
Again it make me think of Tilly and that butchering night. It was perfectly natural of her to want that meat, and some of it would have been okay for her. Her dreams (and plans, if she could have made them herself) included a whole lot more a whole lot sooner than would have been healthy for her.
For now I’m comfortable with the handle/ management we have for our kids and movies, but if anything, the exercise reminded me how much power movies have over them, and (this was a particular red flag) how much I could miss, appropriate-wise if I don’t remind myself to be aware.
The Man in the Iron Mask (PG-13) is a powerful story, and does become mostly appropriate around that age-13 mark. But there is a scene (Do you know the one?) that I will continue to fast-forward through as long as my kids are in high school.
There have been examples like these (okay, maybe just one, I’m a little hyper-sensitive about this now) where I forgot briefly that there may be something objectionable, and said it was okay for the kids. Thankfully, it didn’t faze them, but it has made me continually aware since then, and my radar is always up now.