Upon my return from seeing Cars 2 last week, I've seen a slew of tweets and comments about how terribly, horribly, no good it is.
Torture! Violence! Booze references!
No, no - not the booze!
I'm the first to admit that I don't really like the first Cars movie. Actually, I walked out of the theater with Quinlan when it first came out because holy crap it was boring.
But in the most cliche' of circumstances, I had a son, who liked fast cars, and so we gave it another try.
Surprise, they all love it. Even the girls.
(I still don't get it. Plot? Wherefore art thou?)
So this time around, I was thrilled to see a little intrigue. A little story line that required some thinking. And a completely new movie that didn't rely on the first one.
And so was my near 5-year old son, who might just be the most anxious movie goer ever. Quite a risk when you take a kid on a 5 hour plane ride to go see a new movie.
Yes, he was a little nervous, particularly at the beginning which was a little like the opening of a James Bond movie - though the hot agent was a Fiat. And no sexy girls with names that could double as female body parts.
Just a strong, smart female character named Holly Shiftwell.
There was a questionable interrogation scene (or torture depending on who you ask) where a car ends up getting killed. You don't actually see it. Just flames.
I definitely noticed it though my son didn't at all.
And then there are guns and rockets, which is pretty common place around my house, since I gave up long ago on trying to stop my kid from making toy guns out of Legos or wanting the water gun pool toy.
Even Margot wanted the same Spiderman gun as her brother on our recent trip to Universal Studios.
So she has one too.
I distinctly remember a discussion amongst bloggers about kids and toy guns, with the seasoned moms of older boys probably giggling at us newbies who were "Oh hell no guns not ever no way uh uh mister" as they gently told us that it's nearly impossible to avoid.
And indeed, after my son showed no interest in most kids shows, my husband showed him an old episode of Transformers and I showed him the first Star Wars (or maybe it's the 4th? I can't keep up with all that prequel nonsense), and since then, he's been playing all sorts of rocket warrior robot missile pretend play.
And my girls have too.
For us, it's opened up the discussion about a lot of things - war, soldiers, yes, even gun safety. Not just because we're a military family. But because it's a part of life.
But a lot of it is just how kids play. How my husband played as I kid. How I played as a kid. How a lot of us played and didn't suffer harm, anxiety, or perhaps worse, a nonchalant view of violence and kids.
I think we often sell our kids short - not in what they can understand if we explain it, but what they already know.
And their astute ability to separate reality from fiction.
From a robot shooting another robot with a gigantic machine gun.
Or a talking tow truck saving his friend with a couple of rockets.
We as parents have to determine what's right for our kids based on knowing them best. But I wonder if sometimes we aren't too sensitive to what we think they won't like or be able to handle because it's too hard for us. And not necessarily for them.