We are watching the cartoon movie version of The Secret Of Nimh right now as I type this. Have I mentioned I loved this movie when I was a kid? Have I mentioned I had a friend named Jeremy in the fourth grade that reminded me of the big crow in the movie who is also named Jeremy? I mean, my friend wasn’t bird-like or clumsy or anything. He and the bird just shared the same name, which made them practically identical in my fourth grade brain.
I was also convinced I would grow up to marry Jonathon the rat. Of course, that was only if Han Solo was already married by the time I grew up (which I am pretty sure did happen). I mean, Harrison Ford was already an adult when I was just a small child. In full disclosure, Harrison Ford was my virtual boyfriend in the fourth grade, long before virtual even existed, or at least, back then, we just referred to it as “in my imagination.” I guess you could say I had a thing for older men…and possibly for rats.
Anyway, as I was saying, we are watching the movie for probably the 30th time. I am thinking maybe we should have commemorated this moment with a party or something. Watching a kids movie 30 times seems like it should be recognized and awarded in some way. Instead, Tiny-Small is drinking milk and screaming what I imagine are mispronounced swear words at the mean cat and the mean owl. She yells at the tractor when it comes to destroy sick Timothy’s home. She yells at the TV screen and fake cries when sick Timothy is so sick he can barely take his medicine. It’s like she’s watching football, only better.
It’s occurred to me that while other people are allowing their 2.5 year old children to watch pleasant things on TV like Barney and Sesame Street, I am introducing my daughter to violence and villains. Her favorite movies are pretty scary. She loves The Wizard Of Oz, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Shrek, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. There are witches and mean men and murderous foxes at every turn. It’s pretty horrific what I have subjected my daughter to. I think I am forcing her to relive my own childhood with me. I know there must be newer, more politically correct, age appropriate movies out there, but they just seem so boring. I don’t recognize the titles and they don’t seem to ever be in the $5 movie bin at Wal-Mart.
The other day when my mom and I went to Wal-Mart looking for some flannel, so she could finish a baby blanket, I was rummaging through the $5 movie bin and found The Dark Crystal. It was like hitting the “This is your life, Lillian Connelly” jackpot. I LOVED that movie as a child. I turned to display it with triumph, holding it in my hands like a trophy (like that monkey held up Simba in the The Lion King). My mother just scowled at me. Then this happened:
Mom: You aren’t going to get that, are you?
Me: I was thinking about it (Inside I was screaming: Yes! OF COURSE I AM!)
Mom: You can’t let Tiny-Small watch that. It’s too scary. It still gives me the creeps and I am a grown up. Those puppets are really creepy and weird.
Me: Oh, I didn’t think about that. I guess the puppets are pretty creepy.
I put the movie back into the bin. I finally took the parental high road. There will be no more creepy puppets in my daughters future until she is old enough to not be scared, which, judging from my mother’s response, might mean not until after she is in her mid to late 50’s. Sure, I could have bought the movie for a discounted $5’s and owned it like I always wanted to as a child, but at what price? I’m already on the path to buying future mental health professionals a boat or possibly a yacht. I am sure Tiny-Small will be in therapy for years because I let her watch all of the scary movies at such a young age and I let her eat at McDonald’s. I think by leaving The Dark Crystal in that $5 bin I may have just gotten out of paying for that European vacation her imaginary, future therapist has probably been planning in his or her own mind for years and years now. Tiny-Small has gotten quite a cultural education through the TV, especially for a child who wasn’t supposed to watch any TV until after she turned three. It’s funny how things turn out sometimes, isn’t it?