Friday, February 25, 2011

Fifi's Celluloid Adventure

My kids don't watch a whole lot of TV. I was pretty serious about the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation of "no screen time before age two"--at least for my first kid. You know, back when I used to think about things and make conscientious choices, as opposed to now when I am completely exhausted by having two kids. Now, I let my kids watch pretty much whatever they want as long as it doesn't involve killing, illegal trafficking, or in any way requires that I stand up.

Nonetheless, there isn't a whole lot of time for TV in our lives. And my kids have never watched anything over 30 minutes in length. But, I came to realize that most of my daughter's peers had watched full-length movies before. So, I decided maybe she would enjoy a full 90 minutes of the zombie-like state watching TV puts her in.

At some point during most weekends, my husband and I each grab a kid and split up in an attempt to give each of our kids some quality one-on-one time. I thought Fifi would love watching a movie with her mom as a way of enjoying time away from her brother. Suffice it to say, I was horribly mistaken.

Part of the problem could have been my choice of movie. I chose the hardly noticed 1997 film "The Borrowers" for one reason and one reason only: it was available at the library. Well, that, and the fact that Fifi and I had just read the original book together. I should have considered the movie was rated PG and not G. It simply was not made for little kids. But tons of little kids see tons of movies all the time that are not made for them and they live.

I set out a giant bowl of popcorn, handed Fifi a juice box and hit play. Within the first 15 seconds, and about every 15 seconds for the next 10 minutes Fifi said things like, "What's happening?" "Who's that?" "What are they doing?" "What just happened?" "Why are they doing that?" and then, as if for the first time, "What's happening?" again. Within the first 10 minutes of the movie I hit the pause button no fewer than 6 times. I tried to answer quickly or not answer at all, but it was just impossible. She didn't get what was going on. So, she was not enjoying herself and I, as you might surmise, was not exactly having a good time myself.

Finally, at about the 10 minute mark, Fifi got frightened. One of the borrowers was walking behind the walls. It was almost a little bit dark, and vaguely, barely, not really but perhaps for a four year-old, scary. She asked me to stop the movie. The end.

And so Fifi's entire cinematic experience began and ended in the amount of time it generally takes me to eat a sandwich. I guess we have to go back to filling our time with educational activities. Bor-ing!

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