Bonding with my daughter as a very small child was easy for me. This is mainly because everything was new and exciting and my daughter was fascinated with anything she had never seen or experienced before. When she was little, everything was a “first” for her. My heart melted seeing that look of discovery in her eyes. That innocence and fascination with all things in the world.
Now, at 8-years-old, it is becoming harder. What she’s into changes a few times a year and is rarely something I can get on board with. Her craze at the moment…YouTube channels. These are mostly the more popular challenges, dares and DIY experiments for kids; totally harmless. Well, almost. I caught her a few weeks trying to melt crayons in the microwave! And a side message to the Sis Vs. Bro challenges; they are cute and funny, but encouraging my daughter to mix every type of food in the house into one giant bowl making nothing but a mess is not my idea of fun. But you have like a million followers, so what do I know?
She used to be very tomboy-ish like me, but has blossomed into a little lady as far as My Little Pony, any Disney Princess movie, and anything that involves cartoon characters singing for a majority of a show or movie.
Gone are the days of watching The Walking Dead together, pretty much any werewolf movie that wasn’t too graphic, and watching her “oooohhhh” and “aaaahhhh” over how monsters could be killed. I’m a horror fanatic, so this time was amazing.
Stop right there; do not judge me. Yes, I let my daughter watch so-called “scary movies.” My thought process…the world is not puppies, kittens and flowers. Monsters, in the sense of the typical three-headed shark, werewolf, or zombie, are not real, so there’s nothing to be afraid of. I taught her early that you can’t be scared of things that aren’t real and do not exist. That being said, no, I do not let her watch violent person-on-person movies. I only watch The Devil’s Rejects when she’s asleep; so you can rest a little easier at my mom choices. (More on this in an upcoming separate blog called Why I Don’t Mom Like You.)
Back to my original thought, it has been a few years since since we both liked things that were the same. Mostly it is me just tolerating things like Frozen for the hundredth time, or Moana for the fiftieth time. Both perfectly fine movies until you’ve seen them daily, or even multiple times in a day, at which point you hope Elsa accidentally freezes herself or Moana drowns just to end the movie sooner!
In a strange turn of events a few nights ago, she finished her homework early, and went to play on her tablet while I made dinner. I was going through the regular television channels, as I usually save Netflix until she goes to bed. Nothing worthwhile is on, and I settle for Jurassic World. This is certainly not the worst in this franchise, not nearly as awe-inspiring as the first, because frankly, it’s being bled a little dry. But speaking honestly…ladies, Chris Pratt is enough to have you watch this if nothing else; and that giant hamster-ball ride, that would have been awesome.
Let me get back on track, I’m being distracted by thoughts of Mr. Pratt…we’re eating dinner in the living room and she has been very quiet. I’m nibbling while I answer work emails and getting lost in catch-up work because it’s her bedtime and the nightly mom routines are done. I notice that it has been a while since I heard her talk or make any kind of general noise. I look around the laptop and she is stuck to the television. You need to appreciate the fact that absolutely NOTHING entertains my daughter for this long. She could not sit through a full-length movie if her life depended on it!
Commercial breaks and all, she has finished eating and cannot stop watching this movie! During the breaks I do explain that dinosaurs do not exist anymore and that no, these are not costumes, but CGI, only immersing in deeper conversation about all of these new words that she has not learned yet and an extremely curious mind trying to make sense of what she’s seeing. What is CGI? Why is that big dinosaur killing the other dinosaurs? What is an herbivore? What is a carnivore? What is a control room? Why don’t bullets kill dinosaurs? What if a dinosaur steps on you? Why don’t the dinosaurs kick the hamster ball and play with it? Why are their horns on their face? As any parent well knows, when a child is this curious, no matter how you answer any of the above questions, it is immediately followed by another “how” or “why” question. This could take a while.
I have to embrace this moment of shared interest, putting my laptop down, I ask her to sit with me on the couch. She leans into me and we watch the movie as it rounds the halfway point in total silence. I glance down at her from time to time to see the excitement in her eyes at something that she’s never seen before, and realize then, we have a bonding moment over something that is not Disney! My only nerdy aspect in life is that I have a fascination with dinosaurs and sharks and watch any documentary I can whenever they are on. Oh, and Shark Week, I consider that entire week a summer holiday.
Having seen Jurassic Park in theaters when I was young was amazing; some of you can attest to this. That infamous theme song, your first view of the dinosaurs in the park, the thrill of a movie like this! I knew that look on her face, pure fascination and wonder at what she was seeing. I shared these exact emotions when I saw the first movie myself.
Sadly, I had to cut this movie short as it was way past her bedtime at this point and she had school the next day. We are currently planning a “mommy-daughter” night to watch the whole thing with no commercial interruptions, while we chow down on pizza and popcorn.
She was a little excited to hear that there were four movies, but I know her, and if there aren’t dinosaurs is at least 90% of the movie, her interest will be gone (this has been proven trying to watch the Jaws movies together, as she does not yet appreciate the dialogue of the movie and is only interested in creatures in action). So this blessed night will sadly not be binge watching all of the franchise movies (okay with me, the second one nearly ruined it all for me); maybe when she’s a little older and can understand what is being said is just as important as the action scenes.
Looking forward to a quiet night next weekend with my girl, bonding over Chris Pratt and Jurassic World.