Saturday, February 05, 2011

Aliens have invaded my house!

Molly loves the idea of outer space and all that our ideas and images of it in popular culture and science entail: stars, planets, aliens, and rocket ships . . .  She has even, over the past year, discussed her notion of an afterlife (though why or how she was thinking about what happens after death is beyond me): we are all going to end up in outer space at some terminal point.  There's even such a thing as a baby planet, she tells me.

Just a few days ago, out of the blue, she informed me that it's perfectly safe to go to outer space, to ride in a rocket ship, without your mother.  I agreed.

Still, I was surprised a few weeks earlier when I thought I could hear Keith reading aloud and, when I peeked around the corner, there he was, cuddled up with both girls, in his office. He was reading, My Teacher Is An Alien by Bruce Coville.  So, she had succeeded! I concluded.  Such interest and determination! Molly had finally convinced someone to read that book to her because she realized that I had been stalling. 

I did indeed stall on more than one occasion by asking her to tell me what she thought the book was about, what do the (few, black-and-white) pictures mean, etc. and then proposing some really exciting activity that could have us leave the book until another time.  I hadn't fooled her.  I just didn't think the book was appropriate for her yet I've always had a pretty liberal stance in that regard.  The target audience was 9-12 year.  It pushed the limits of my own belief that books shouldn't be off-limits.

As she and Devyn were both enjoying it nightly, calling repeatedly for "just one more chapter", I saw no reason to intervene or to object.  But I was still a little uncomfortable.

Fast forward to last week's Friday movie night.  Aliens in the Attic was the decision but I immediately grew uncomfortable with  the idea. This state was only exacerbated by almost everything said and done in the film up to the point that I, finally, convinced Molly to come upstairs with me.  I was drawing a line.

"Come on, Molly. This movie's not for you.  Let's go upstairs."

"It's fine. I'm OK."

"Molly, I'm telling you that the movie's not appropriate. I'll read a story and we'll cuddle."

"No, Mummy. The movie is just fine. Please, stop."

"Molly, the movie is NOT fine.  There is violence and . . ."

"It's not violent. I'm going to be OK."

"There's a gun!"

"It's a paintgun!"

"But it is for shooting with, so it's a weapon of violence."

"It just shoots orange stuff on somebody and it doesn't even hurt.  It's not a REAL gun."

"Molly, I'm not comfortable with you watching this and I've made my decision."

"Here," she says, getting to a standing position on the sofa. "Maybe if I cuddle in your lap, you'll feel better."

I'm holding her at this point.

"I get to make these decisions because you're only three," I speak into her copious hair.

"I'm not three! I am 3 and 3/4's!"

Well, folks.  I did win.  It wasn't lost on me that, if she could argue so well, she would probably have been just fine watching the movie.  Grey areas.  Gotta love 'em.

No comments:

Post a Comment