Monday, December 6, 2010

File Under: But That's Just Me

Something rare occurred this past Saturday night in Seattle readers. Mrs. LIAYF and I actually had a night out together.  A date night. 

We have been having trouble recently finding a sitter who Lukas knows to watch him for an evening while we get away and spend some time together.  Thankfully, we finally had some luck.  We had a nice time too taking in the new Harry Potter film on the giant screen at Seattle's Cinerama, before walking downtown to grab some hot chocolate and see the Christmas decorations.

But, other than spending some quality time with the lovely Mrs. LIAYF, there was something else that I took away from the evening.  Something that really didn't sit well with me. 

First, after the movie had ended, we witnessed a couple exiting the theater followed by what appeared to be no more than a 3 or 4 year old boy.  I had to do a double take.  Now, if you haven't seen The Deathly Hallows, I will tell you that it was perhaps the darkest, scariest movie of the Harry Potter series so far.  It was chock full of scenes filled with both frightening as well as adult content.  All of those troubling scenes made this movie a lot to process, even for a desynsitized dude like myself.

Mind you, this was not the first time we have witnessed something similar.  When we went to see the previous Potter film as well as Avatar (in IMAX 3D), there were several very young children in attendance at each of those shows.  Again, those kids were easily under 5 years old.  Like I said, we don't get out much since Lukas was born and attend very few movies in theaters. Therefore it makes me wonder if what we witnessed was common. 

On top of that, while I was waiting to get our hot chocolate Saturday night at nearly 11:00 PM, I was behind a mother and her son who may have been pushing 2 years old.  The boy was obviously tired and a bit upset, so she appeased him by buying him a rather large chocolate Santa Claus.  She gave it to him to open and eat while I stood behind and watched in amazement.

I don't like to pass judgement on people.  Honestly that is not my style, and I usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but these parenting choices I just don't understand.  If you remember, we nearly pulled the plug on Up a couple of months ago and have opted for milder movies since then. Maybe we are just parents who fall more into the conservative spectrum.

I will actually give Santa Mom more benefit because I don't know what their normal sleep routine is.  Maybe he slept in until 10:00 on Sunday, but as the father of a 3 year old I just don't see any justification for subjecting children that young to that degree of dark and frightening movie. I couldn't imagine Lukas trying to process and understand all the images he would have seen. Like I said, it didn't sit well with me.

But that's just me.

What do you think readers?  Have you seen many very young children at clearly adult movies?


triles said...

You are absolutely right on with this post. I can't stand it when young kids are in theaters watching inappropriate movies. My wife and I saw a 7 or 8 year old at No Country for Old Men-blew my mind. I also hate to see kids out way past a normal bed time. Too many parents are unwilling to suck it up and do what's best for the kid-it's a bit disheartening actually.

Juli said...

I went to the midnight opening night screening of Eclipse. Hello??? Ummm vampires and warewolves...anyway... imagine my surprise when I saw three mothers from parent pick up come out of the show when it ended... their 8 year olds in tow.

Sometimes people never fail to amaze me.

Kevin Bruce said...

OMG! We had the EXACT same thing happen with us! a couple with a 10yo (which is fine) and a 4yo (which is TERRIBLE). The first HP, maybe- beyond that? Nightmare city!

Also, when I worked at a theater in College, I saw several families with TODDLERS go into "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" then. Social Services- that's all I have to say!

Anonymous said...

Not sure I get it either, but oh well to each his own. As long as they are not disrupting my movie or my groove, oh well.

Captain Dumbass said...

I don't get that. And if it's a baby sitting issue? Wait for the DVD.

Rachael said...

There was a family in front of me at HP7 with 3 kids, and the youngest was probably 4-5 years old. I remember going to see Spiderman and a 6 year old in the row in front of me. I also remember seeing "The Longest Yard" and there being a kid in front of us and when there was a burial scene hearing her ask her Daddy what was in the box.

Look, I try not to be judgemental. Like you said, when I see people out with small children in the Wal Mart at 11:30 at night, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that's just their schedule - when my 4.5 year old was a baby, he was on our schedule and at the time since my husband worked at home we would stay up until 12 or 1 and then sleep in.

But the movie thing? I have so many problems with it. I fully admit that my kid has watched movies that some people would think are inappropriate. He does not understand killing, so when he watched X-Men, he just saw superheroes and fighting, but didn't get the other parts. When he does, we'll have to re-evaluate. But taking him to HP7 or other adult movies? First off, I think he'd be BORED. It's really not fair to force a kid to sit for over 2 hours watching something they don't understand. Secondly, it's different watching it in the theater or on a small TV at home. It's louder, more assaultive on your senses, and scarier. Thirdly, have a little respect for the other moviegoers. It is highly distracting to me when people have kids that are too young in inappropriate movies because I feel weird and embarrassed that they're in there, and I feel bad for them.

SciFi Dad said...

I saw a kid no more than four or five at the first Iron Man movie and felt the same way you did, so no I don't think it's just you. (That being said, however, my daughter is VERY sensitive and couldn't - at five - even make it through Up.)

As for the two year old out at 11pm, I'd be willing to listen to an explanation, but I doubt it would change my perspective from "totally unreasonable" to something else.

WILLIAM said...

I have three boys. The oldest is 6 and what he watches is not really appropriate for my two year old, but I could see myself in 4 to 5 years taking the family to a movie to appease the 10 year and have my 6 year old watching something that may not be appropriate. Do you know what I mean.

I agree that it is hard to overlook though, I catch myself doing the same thing.

The woman buying the chocolate, maybe that is juts their schedule. People work different shifts.

Good post.

WeaselMomma said...

I agree with you on this one man. My teens could go see Harry Potter with us, but not the younger kids. This movie was good, but dark.

Years ago, I remember seeing very small children in the theater for Jurassic Park. I just have to shake my head.

Kevin said...

I agree with you. We very rarely let our kids watch anything that isn't on PBS Kids and then it is a limited time.

My kids have a set routine. 7pm storytime and by 8pm they're alseep. Sometimes I will run out to the store after they are in bed, to get milk or whatever and I see kids that are the same age as mine still up. It's not that they are even still up, it's that they're not even home at 10pm getting ready for bed. It's 10pm, they're at Kroger, which means they are a long way from going to sleep. I don't understand.

My wife and I thought we were too selfish to ever have kids, but it has been extremely easy for us to let go of our old lives and do what is right for our kids.

Mrs. M said...

I have seen my fair share of kids out way too late and at non-little kid movies too. Kids need structure and routine, not movie night(mares).

Jack Steiner said...

I have seen this more times than I like to think of. Some people don't think that some movies aren't kid friendly.

If you don't have a babysitter don't go, it is part of being a parent. I don't get it.

Otter Thomas said...

Nothing I see parents doing anymore surprises me. So many people seem to be totally clueless. I agree with you that neither of those choices make any sense.

Anonymous said...

I don't get taking small kids to scary movies. The risk of truly scaring the kid and spoiling movies for the kid for a long time to come is large - and there's absolutely no benefit; the kid won't get the movie at all anyway.

I'm not a fanatic; I allowed the 6yo to watch Star Wars (the original series). It's just a big adventure. But I didn't take the 8 yo to Avatar, even though she really wanted to.

As for bedtime, that's more a matter of habit and tradition. Try visiting Spain; you'll see families with small children entering restaurants at 9pm or 10pm. But then, the rest of their day, social and work life is arranged accordingly. Bed time, dinner time, etc - it's really very much a cultural thing.

-DiligentDaddy said...

I was at a football game this weekend. It was 15 or so degrees, snowing, and super windy. I was about to punch myself in the face for thinking it was a good idea to come. Sitting on aluminum bleachers in that weather gave me an idea of what the boy's tongue in Christmas Story must have felt like.

As I was leaving, I saw someone with about a 6 month old, who was probably warmer than I, but still, seems ridiculous. Best case they take the child home to find a frozen poopie diaper...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately what I see some parents doing these days doesn't surprise me anymore. We have taken to screening movies before we let our little man watch them after he freaked out over a scene from Toy Story 3.

goodfather said...

Congrats on Date Night! Yay! My wife and I did Exactly The Same Thing! We've been Pottering since the very beginning, seeing the first movie at the Seattle Imax at midnight, opening night.

We shake our heads at the parents that bring in their kids, crying, to see movies that are so innapropriate it makes us cringe. Our question? If you have the frickin' (can I write frickin'?) money for the movie, can't you spend it on something (anything) else?? Seems. A. Little. Selfish.

ps, great post!

Papa K said...

First of all... Harry Potter? Really?

Anyways... I'm extremely careful on this stuff. Being the recepient of OCD bad thoughts I'm familiar with violent things that get emblazened in your brain and you can't get rid of. Kids already have an incredible spongelike memory... it doesn't take much for the nightmares to start.

I bought a Scooby Doo for Story the other day and had to turn it off after about 3 seconds bc it was too intense.