11/12/08

Kung Fu Toddler

“Kung Fu Panda” was a mistake. I realize this now. At the time I ordered it, however, I was thinking only about expanding my son’s film library beyond “Cars.” I have lost count of how many times he’s watched that movie. He’s memorized the dialogue, knows every character’s name, and owns a ridiculous amount of licensed merchandise from the movie. Personally, I would love nothing more than to smash the DVD into a million pieces and sink them to the bottom of the sea. That’s how sick I am of “Cars.”

So, anyway, there I was on Amazon.com browsing the new Family & Kid releases. A panda! Jack Black! Angelina Jolie! What could be wrong with that? We popped in the DVD as soon as it came in the mail. Well, guess what, people? It’s an entire movie about FIGHTING. It’s right there in the title, only I’d skipped over the “kung fu” part and zeroed in on the panda. So I could hardly be surprised when Miles started hurling himself around the living room, kicking and karate-chopping, shouting, “Let’s fight, Mama!” Good move, Mama.

Plus, the movie is scary. There’s this huge evil beast with fiery eyes -- a panther? A mutant cheetah? -- that busts out of prison and tries to kung-fu everyone to death. If Miles is afraid of the big tractor in “Cars,” then this character would surely scare the crap out of him. And I can hardly blame the little guy. He comes from a sensitive family. I was led out of the theater crying at my very first movie, “Cinderella,” because I couldn’t stand how the chubby mouse, Gus, was getting picked on. Have you ever seen it? It’s heart-breaking, people!

There’s a whole laundry list of questionable and/or totally inappropriate kids’ movies. Bambi’s mother dies, Mowgli is orphaned in a freak canoe accident in the jungle, Princess Fiona is forced into an arranged marriage and kidnapped by an ogre -- and don’t even get me started on Harry Potter. I was talking to a mom the other day who fears she scarred her daughter for life by letting her watch “Bridge to Terabithia.” I haven’t seen it, but apparently a kid falls off a swing and cracks their head open. Nice family programming, huh?

Now, I studied the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales for an entire semester in college, and I can tell you there’s a reason lots of kids’ stories contain dark and disturbing themes. I mean, Snow White gets poisoned, Red Riding Hood’s grandma is devoured by a wolf, and poor Hansel and Gretel nearly meet their fiery death in a witch’s oven. These tales are supposed to validate the bad thoughts that all kids naturally have, as well as illustrate in black and white terms that good is rewarded and evil is punished. Then again, there are some tales in which someone is chopped up and made into stew for no apparent reason. Those Grimm Brothers were kind of messed up.

Anyway, I don’t think “Kung Fu Panda” will make into the regular rotation. Good thing I also ordered a Curious George movie and “101 Dalmations” (the animated version). Maybe when Miles is older. As for now, I’m still editing out the guns in his “Horton Hatches an Egg” book. The hunters try to “get” Horton (not “shoot” him). So far, Miles isn’t questioning it. Remember, this is the kid who thought a squirt gun was a hairdryer.

READ O’ THE WEEK: I just finished Keeper and Kid: A Novel by Edward Hardy. It’s about a 30-something guy who inherits a 3-year-old boy. The pop culture references to Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, etc. are spot-on.

SHOUT OUT: To all my friendly commenters! It's so cool how many people find the time to leave thoughtful comments. It's great to know I'm not the only one going through something. It makes me feel like I'm connected to a larger community instead of isolated in my bathroom with a small person on a plastic potty, reading "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" for the 40 bazillionth time.

7 comments:

april said...

I need help with haircuts! Miles always has the best hair, I just spent an hour trying to cut my son's hair while he was in the tub. I got a few snips in but that's about it. How do you do it? How are you feeling these days?

~*amber*~ said...

That is an adorable picture!

My kids are slightly older and have been asking to see this too. I don't so much worry about my daughter, but I do about my elementary age son seeing it and wanting to imitate the moves. So far, I've not gotten it for them.

Mom2Miles said...

April, that's so funny you say that. Miles' hair has been an ongoing issue. His dad tried to cut it once, then we took him to a barbershop. Sometimes he's OK w/ it (if he has a lollipop) & other times he throws a complete fit. It can go either way. Lately he's been going w/ his dad to a Hair Cuttery-type place that's quick & cheap. Somehow, seeing Dad get his hair cut first makes it more appealing.

Mom2Miles said...

Thanks, Amber! The movie is fine for older kids. I was just a little shocked at the scariness factor & felt like, duh!, of course it's all about fighting. And right now my son's at the "monkey see, monkey do" age.

Kristin said...

A friend of mine reads your blog and sent me here. I love this post. Very cute and helpful. My son, who's 2 also loves "Cars". Fortunately, he also loves animals. I've recently introduced "Chicken Run" to him and he loves it. We're now watching it more than "Cars"... shocking, I know. The one thing in it that annoyed me was the main chicken yelling "SHUT UP!!!", but I don't think he's picking it up from the movie too much (since I've been caught saying it once or twice). Anyway, it's an idea if you're looking for one. Good luck!

MamaNeena said...

I was going to go buy that movie for my son. Maybe I'll look something a little...different.

Mom2Miles said...

Thanks, Kristin! I'm not familiar w/ "Chicken Run," but Miles loves animals, too, so I'll definitely look into it!

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