'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?"