I should not have given them a choice.
Why did I give them a choice?
Now they were arguing back and forth. My ears were starting to ring. I wished I could clap my hands and shout, “Svetlana! Take these two away at once!” Then a blond nanny would appear and wordlessly remove the children so I could enjoy the silence once again.
Unfortunately there is no Svetlana (I mean, there IS but she isn’t in my employment) so I had to endure the bickering.
“Okay!” I shouted and made a t for time out sign with my hands. “Okay! Here’s what’s going to happen. I’ll pick and we’ll watch the other DVD another time.”
Yes, it was movie night. We have them about once a year. Why? See above.
The choices were Honey I Shrunk The Kids and Problem Child. They were some of my favorites growing up. Natalie wanted to watch Rick Moranis shrink his children. Tommy wanted to know why the boy with red hair was holding his family members upside down on the movie cover. I went with the devil child because frankly, my kids can behave like one. Natalie was insulted that I didn’t want her DVD.
“You are mean,” she proclaimed, flopping against the couch. She buried her face in the cushion and I thought, “Finally, some quiet.”
I put in the DVD and explained to the kids there was some language that they weren’t allowed to use. Tommy nodded solemnly. Natalie still had her head in the couch. See, I let the kids watch basically whatever they want. My parents did the same. I always knew what was appropriate and what was not. I remember watching the Chucky movies when I was very young. It did not scar me. (Well, a little. I did turn my dolls away when I slept at night. Just in case.) So long as there are no elaborate sex and gory scenes (see: Game of Thrones) then it’s fair game.
So the movie started and Tommy asked, “Is the boy mean because he has red hair like the devil?”
“No. He’s mean because he wants a family,” I explained. I did not want him to believe redheads were children of the devil. This would create embarrassing situations in public. For instance, when we go to Disney World and meet Ariel, I could imagine him going, “Hey, nice seashells. By the way, is your dad the devil? I noticed you had red hair like him.”
We are not religious but Tommy has been asking all sorts of Bible questions. My knowledge is limited so I do believe I’ll be enrolling him in AWANA. They can explain Proverbs and Jesus better than I can.
I made popcorn and handed over bowls. Natalie emerged from within the couch to grab hers. She was still insulted, her eyebrows down and her lips set in a straight line. Then she perked up when she saw the little boy in the film had a bowtie. “I would like a bowtie too,” she said primly.
Then a foul word was uttered from the child actor. He said something like, “You are, you stupid d*ck!” and popcorn rolled off my children’s tongues because they couldn’t believe a pint sized human being had said such a word in front of adults.
“That boy,” Natalie said matter-of-factly. “Needs to go to his room.”
In the middle of the movie, Natalie got restless and began pelting popcorn at Tommy’s head. I’ve noticed if we aren’t watching a cartoon based film, she becomes bored. I told Natalie to stop it or go upstairs and she went, “I still want a bowtie!” Then she added, “That boy…Junior….needs a spanking.” We had gotten to the scene where the kid starts smacking his teammates with a baseball bat. (He was provoked. They said mean things about his dad. I might have done the same when I was 8.)
When the movie ended I went, “Wasn’t that nice?” because everything ended well and Damian—I mean, JUNIOR—had a dad. It was incredibly moving. Especially since the dad is played by John Ritter, may he rest in peace.
Tommy went, “Is he going to stop being bad?” Unmoved.
Natalie went, “Is the cat okay?” Unmoved. Because in the movie Junior made the cat attack his Grandpa thus making the poor feline get tiny leg casts.
I sent my children, who must have hearts of steel, to bed after that and cleaned up the popcorn bits. Maybe we’d start having movie nights more often. It hadn’t gone so bad. I only had two new stains in the carpet. That had to be a record.
“Mommy!” Natalie called and I thought, here it is, here’s the moment where she’s going to tell me how moved she was by the film. “Mommy! I still need a bowtie!”
So in the future if you happen to see my daughter with a bowtie around her neck, well, thank Problem Child.