When I was pregnant with my first child I told everyone that I wasn’t going to let my kid watch TV. Screens rot the brain, after all. I said a lot of annoying know-it-all junk like that. But then I discovered that a movie could be a fabulous short-term babysitter while I get urgent things done like eating or peeing or answering a phone.
Before I knew it we collected a small library of movies ranging from the irritating singing princess flicks to the action packed, Kung Fu-ing jungle animals that encourage my rambunctious son to fly off the couch to punch the rocking chair.
Through all of these instant kid distracters, I’ve learned that there is a hidden danger lurking behind that screen that is far worse than rotting a brain: sometimes – OK all of the time – you will be forced to watch it with your child.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I am a big fat jerk for saying that out loud. But seriously, have you ever endured a 90-minute movie with a kid? There are constant interruptions for snacks, peeing, wanting to skip ahead or repeat a section 53 times. There are also the rapid-fire questions and unending commentary.
Still not sure what I mean? Let me break it down for you…
1) Mom! I want Frozen!
2) I put in Frozen
3) No! I don’t want the beginning I want the SOOOONG!
4) Skip to scene 5 so the kid can belt out that song.
5) AND I DON’T CARE WHAT THEY SAY SOMETHING BLAH BLAH BLAAAAH!
6) I get up to refill my coffee
7) MOM! Can I please watch the preevy-news?!
8) I explain that we are not skipping around the movie (even though I just did.)
9) Why does that snowman talk? Wait, is he the bad guy?!
10) I explain that he has to watch the movie to find out.
11) Can we call princess Elsa and invite her over?
12) MOM! Why can’t we have ELSA OVER?!
13) Mom, is that the bad guy? Or is that guy the bad guy? Where did Elsa go?
14) Repeat step 10
15) Mom, can I have a movie snack? Can I eat a bowl of snow made out of sugar?
16) I explain that we are not eating bowls of sugar. How about an apple instead?
17) Mom! I have to poop! He jumps off the couch, clutching his rear, and shuts off the TV and DVD player before he runs to the bathroom and spends 12 minutes talking about his poop.
18) OK, can we watch De-spit-able Me 2 now?
19) I roll my eyes and explain that we already have a movie in and that we are not spending the day watching movies.
20) Movie is turned back on after 9 minutes of arguing over which button is the Play button.
21) Hey! That isn’t the right part! I wanted the song again!
22) For sake of my sanity I skip to the song and put it on repeat.
23) I sneak off to the kitchen
24) MOM! WHY CAN’T ELSA COME OVER?! I WANT HER TO SEE MY BLOCKS AND LEGO’S!
25) I walk back into the room and explain that Elsa lives in Elsa land and can’t come over.
26) Mom, you pretend to be the bad guy and I will Kung-Fu you!
27) In my Mom Voice, I explain that we are not Kung Fu-ing anybody. Furthermore, I’m shutting the movie off if the kid can’t cool it.
28) Silence for 3 minutes
29) Mom, is that the bad guy? Why is he the bad guy? He should just say he is sorry so he can be the good guy.
30) Repeat step 10
This is how movie time always goes at my house. I am tempted to use earplugs but I don’t want to hurt my kid’s feelings. Movies never fail to bring out the most irritating aspect of my four year-old’s natural impulsivity. I can’t really blame him because he has to learn patience.