Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Potted Wisdom

'Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift - that's why we call it the Present...'

Sounds profound, huh? I'm sure you're wondering which great philosopher wrote that. Check out 'Kung Fu Panda' and you'll see.

For yes, at the weekend I screwed up my courage and took Boy #1 on his first ever cinema visit. Not without some misgivings, I must say. And these were only further underlined when, in the morning before I took him, I had a conversation with a mummy of one of his friends who gasped in horror when I told her our plans for the next few hours.

It transpired that not only had she never taken her 4 year old to the silver screen, but she'd never taken his 7 year old brother either. All down to Control, it seems. Now, I'm the first to admit that if I buy a dvd for the Boys I normally watch it myself first, without them there. Come on, give me a break; Husband's travelling, tv is rubbish, and there are only so many times you can watch a new series of '24' without working out in advance that Jack is going to save the world in the end. Again. Ooops! Sorry, did I give it away?

Anyway, back to Control. So I freely admit to pre-vetting the Boy's dvds. I've yet to watch one that I couldn't show them, but it did give me due warning to fast forward through the opening scene of Finding Nemo. I pretend it's because Boy #2 couldn't take it, but really - it's me. I can't take it. I'm filling up right now at the thought of that poor little clown fish losing his loving mummy in such tragic circumstances. (What do you mean, it's not real?)

However Control mummy from Sunday morning then admitted that she not only fast forwards through that particular scene - and others like it in her children's favourite movies - but she cuts her own dvd's with the offending passages taken out.

Is it just me, or is that a tad over the top?

But I'm getting off the point. Boy #1 and I went where we had not gone before, and made a trek to our local Vue cinema complex to see the movie he'd been asking about since he first spotted Po the Kung Fu Panda in glorious technicolour on the side of a thousand London buses. Bearing in mind that Boy #1 worships television and would watch it until 3am everday given the opportunity, I had a sneaking suspicion this trip would be a success, and it was.

I did learn a couple of lessons, though. The first was not to get there too promptly. You know, when the programme actually starts. I sat there flinching as ads for other, scarier movies flashed up on the screen before the main picture started, whilst Boy #1 blithely ignored them. I ask you, how can the third episode of The Mummy be given the same certificate as Kung Fu Panda? But it has been, and so the ad in all it's gory glory was played out in full to a cinema full of 4 - 8 year olds.

So next time, we leave it another 10 - 15 minutes before going in to watch the feature.

The second was that taking a water pistol - an empty one, of course - to the cinema isn't such a bad idea. It gives your 4 year old something to wave at the screen when things become a little too scary and they feel the need to retaliate to the baddies. I could, of course, do without the muttered 'Freeze!' and 'Bang!'s that accompanied the gestures, but overall he kept the volume down, so I don't think anyone noticed....

(Note: before you judge, I did not buy Boy #1 the water pistol, or indeed, any gun he has in his collection. This one was handed out at the football party beforehand in the party bag. And I have long since given up trying to confiscate any weapons, since if I do so then a piece of lego, a stick, or even a rolled up napkin will apparantly do the job just as well as brightly coloured clearly toy piece of plastic. Boys. It's not like he ever actually sees these things in use. Unless, of course, C-beebies has started to run cop shows when the parent's back is turned.)

And I learned something else, too. Boy #2 and Husband were on their own fun-filled adventure that day, so for an extra treat I took Boy #1 for a pizza before the film. (It's pure coincidence that I didn't fancy walking home in the rain between the morning's football birthday party and our cinema extravaganza, and that Pizza Express have an outlet in the cinema complex. Pure coincidence). During our lunch, my son and I had the following conversation:

Boy #1: "Mama, what do teenagers do?"

Me: "Oh, well, they go to school." (I hope).

Boy #1: "No they don't!"

Me: "Don't they?" (Who have you been talking to? Their days are numbered.)

Boy #1: "I saw them. No, teenagers turn into animals."

Me: "Really?" (How observant of you at such a young age...)

Boy #1: "Yes, and then they tell other people what to do. And wave sticks."

Me: "Gosh. And how do you know this?" (This gets better and better)

Boy #1: "I saw them, I told you. On the wall. They're HUGE. In the car park. By the ant killer."

(A faint understanding starts to dawn).

Me: "Do you mean teenagers, Boy #1? Or do you mean Ancient Egyptians?" (pictured on the wall with various Jackal, snake and crocodile heads outside our local DIY store, where he and I had travelled for pesticide the previous week. They were clearly the subject of much interest)

Boy #1: "Yes, that's it. Teegiptiagers. Or something. How do you say it again?"


  1. OMG! You've got the strength of a steel ...whatever...

    I am so glad that Boy #1 passed the test with flying colours.

    I haven't been to the theater during any events that allow small children in a very long time. I'm afraid my nerves just won't take it.

    But your angel? He could come with me anytime.

  2. i think that's lovely; i think it sounds like a perfect first cinema experience. well done. though i'd agree with you about not getting there too early: with teens it's not because i'm scared of what they'll see rather what they'll demand to see next time we venture out to a movie.

  3. That first cinema experience is always a big test. The Odeon cinema here has a special screening of certain shows (think it's called Newbies) specifically for parents so they don't have to be embarassed if their children run riot!
    Love the teenager conversation too. I had a similar one with my son about when his older cousin would become a teenager:

  4. Love the teenager conversation! And he's probably pretty close to the truth without meaning to be.

    As for scary films, my mum spent hours telling me not to be scared as films aren't real and making me imagine all the make up artists and props people behind the scenes - with the ultimate effect being that I can't take most films seriously today!

  5. oh Gawd, hope your standards don't slip as fast as mine - although have to admit I NEVER pre-watched anything, I mean if it's animated, it's ok? Isn't it? But sometime, maybe once they hit Junior age? not sure, control slips. My 11 year old has started sloping off, (get this!), UNACCOMPANIED with his chum to 12As. Am expecting the knock on the door and the blue flashing light freaking the neighbours any moment now. Of course come September 10th I can go back to my slack ways of "yeah, darling, of course, off you go, back by midnight, now!!

  6. Just took all my boys to see Wall-E. The youngest has been crawling around the movies since he was 7 months!

  7. We have yet to see KFP (or "Panda, hai yah!" as he's known in our house) but I sense it's not far off.

    And I can't watch that bit of Finding Nemo either. Nor the bit in Madagascar where Alex the Lion is banished to the Wild......sob.

  8. Buns of steel, Aims. Buns of steel. I'm sure that's what you meant. (It's not true, but hey, that's the beauty of the internet...)

    Hi RM, can't wait for that development. Boy #1 thankfully knows his limitations - The Mummy has not been requested. Yet.

    Hi Tara, I'm sure they have similar showings round here, Ijust haven't been organised enough to find out about them... Must add it to my list of things to feel guilty about!

    Mud, I'm assuming you're excluding Sex in the City from your list of unbelievable films? Because as we all know, it's real life.

    Hi Milla, I'm sure it's just a matter of time. And clearly, my watching the movies 'for the Boys' is just an excuse.

    Hi Sam, actually that one was next on the list of potentials. Would you recommend it?

    Hello NH Mum. I must be very hard hearted as it didn't even occur to me fast forward through that bit of Madagascar. But I must say, when Boy #1 wanted to watch Ice Age this evening I refused. I said it was too long, but really? It was because I couldn't handle the opening scene where the baby's mum drowns. What am I like?

  9. When Nemo first came out I used to fast forward over the bit where the shark attacks Marlin and Dory - but that was mainly because I was scared.

  10. Sometimes, just sometimes, mind you, you make me nostalgic for the times when my children were little. I do get a little heart pull, just a little, I must not get sentimental about this.

  11. Thanks for the advice - we're off to see Kung Fu Panda tomorrow. No doubt I'll blog about it later in the week - we can compare experiences.

  12. GBS, you are obviously made of less sentimental stuff than me. It's just the bits about losing parents that get me. Probably for the same reason I get misty over the Andrex puppy (shouldn't it still be with it's mother so young?).

    Hi Irene, sorry, I didn't mean to spread the sentimental affliction! I suggest you don't watch Bambi any time soon though, just in case...

    Hi WM, hope you all enjoy it! Boy #1 is still talking about the Furious Five and the panda (who he endearingly calls Black Jack rather than Po), so it clearly made a good impression!


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