Monday, July 11, 2011

The Movies and Me

Having children changed my life.  The changes were small at first.  They started with my sleeping habits.  Prior to giving birth, I slept between 11 and 12 hours each night.  Not only that, but I slept those hours consecutively, without waking up.  That's right, folks, I'm a sleeper.  Then, I gave birth, and I was waking up every couple hours to care for my son.  Quite a shocker for my system.

Next, I gave up my curly hair.  When I was a teenager, my hair was curly. Very curly. In fact, it was so curly, that I was frequently 'accused' of having a Jerry Curl while I was in boot camp. Then, along came Gabriel. My hair went straight.  Oh, it had body, but every single curl was gone.  Two bonus children later (aren't they all bonuses after the first one?), my hair was curly again, although not quite as curly.

I also gave up watching movies.  Oh, we'd occasionally rent a movie to watch at home, but we were broke, and there were very few movies that could convince us to pay for both the price of a ticket and a babysitter.

Fast forward 13 years.  A few years ago, Hollywood got lazy.  They stopped coming up with their own ideas and started producing movies based on our favorite cartoons and comic books.  Who could resist the call of seeing their favorite super hero on the big screen.  And, really, Transformers needed to be seen on the big screen. After all, the explosions, and massive robots tumbling across the screen was worth the extra price- about once a year.

But, we still weren't taking our kids to see them. Why? Well, we can't trust the movie industry. We usually prescreen everything. The only time we haven't prescreened a movie, and didn't get advice from friends who had already seen it, we regretted it. We took the boys to see Transformers 2, and we were in for quite the surprise. We assumed it wouldn't be any worse in sexual innuendo and language than the first movie, and WE. WERE. WRONG. We, as parents, were so disappointed in the movie. It didn't need the language or sexual innuendo to make it  a great movie. It certainly didn't need it to make it a box office hit. But, thanks to all of that, it did keep it out of our home. It also means that we won't be taking the boys to see the third movie. It's too bad. We all love Transformers.

But really, this is about me, right? This is about how having children has effected my movie viewing. Yesterday, I said to Gary, "We need to go see Cowboys vs. Aliens."

Dominic said to me, "Um, it has some bad language."

Gary replied, "Mom and I, not you."

The fact is, though, Gary and I will not make it a priority to see this movie before it comes out on video. We have gone to see so many movies in the theater lately that we will skip it based on economic reasons alone. Why have we gone to see so many movies? Hollywood has been doing them right. We've been to see Thor, Green Lantern, just this summer. Why? Because we could take our kids to them. That's right. The theater got that much more money out of us, just because we were able to take our kids. And, you know what? Hollywood will get even more, because these are movies we'll buy once they are out on video.

I don't go to the movies for myself very often, anymore. It has to be something I really want to see to make it theater worthy. I usually save the theater for something my kids can watch, too. That is what having children has done to me. It has made me aware of everything. I see everything through the lens of a parent. I realize the impact of things, not only on me, but also on my children, and everyone else's children.  Having children changed me- for the better.

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