Like everyone else, my husband and I anticipated watching Black Panther on the big screen. It had been a long time since we had gone out and enjoyed ourselves as a family, so we decided to take the girls along. In addition, we really wanted our oldest daughter to see women and men with her skin color uplifted, shown as Queens and Kings… people of color being shown as heroes!
Huge mistake! 5 minutes into the movie, our youngest, who was 4 months at the time, had a vocal awakening. Every scene where there was no loud music or action, my baby said “it’s my time to shine, ACTION!” I’ve never heard that little girl talk so much until that moment. I had to stand up in order to quite her down a little. That didn’t happen until I nursed her about four times and she finally fell asleep 10 minutes before the movie ended. Yes, I stood the entire movie.
While I took care of the baby, Jayla, James took care of our 6-year-old, Taniya. His journey began 15 minutes into the movie. That’s when the first request for the bathroom happened. I believe she had to go a total of five times. Mind you, she will only ask a total of one time during a kids movie.
Whenever I had the chance to sit down, maybe five minutes at a time, I spent my time saying “Taniya, there is nothing to be scared about!” “Taniya, you have to watch the movie to see what happens.” “Taniya, it’s just a movie. These people are all actors.” “You better not cry!” I won’t say which parts made her emotional in order to not spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but in the last action part of the movie, homegirl started rubbing my back and shoulder. I thought she was rubbing and loving on me because I spent the movie standing and keeping Jayla quiet, but it was really her calming herself from being afraid. I accepted it regardless because her gentle touch helped soothe both her and I.
From what we saw of the movie, James and I thoroughly enjoyed. We agreed that we would leave the girls home next time and see the movie again, ALONE. For now, we’ll only be seeing kids movies as a family.
I wasn’t embarrassed at all during the movie experience though. Jayla was actually a great baby. I just didn’t want to ruin the experience for other movie goers with her constant baby talk and occasional cry for the breast and sleep.
While I wasn’t angry with Taniya, I was slightly annoyed. I couldn’t understand her fear. I couldn’t understand how she couldn’t see the value in that movie. If you actually sit and have a conversation with my daughter, you’ll understand why it’s easy to have high expectations on her way of thinking. I tried to explain the movie a little and it’s importance for the black community. Her response was, “Mommy, I just don’t like seeing evil and death. There were people being killed or almost dying and that scares me.” In that moment I was reminded of who my daughter was and how my husband and I raise her.
We shield Taniya from a lot of things because we believe that a child should cling onto their purity (mind, body and soul) and innocence for as long as they can. We share the truth with her in pieces as she matures. Black Panther was the first movie with violence that Taniya had seen. I was being selfish when I expected her to be okay with something she never experienced. She has attended only one funeral since being born, and she was so young she doesn’t remember. At this age, my husband and I have decided that when someone dies we won’t tell her unless she asks about that individual. So at the end of the day, she doesn’t witness death unless it happens in a kids movie.
Many people may not agree with our parenting method(s), but it works for us. Some people call it sheltering the child and creating a false image of reality, but we call it letting a kid be a kid. Our daughter is highly intelligent. She doesn’t ask questions suitable for a child her age. She has always asked questions that should be asked by someone 4-6 years older than her. So we like to let Taniya think and act (be) like a child as much as possible.
Who knew that a trip to the movies would be a learning lesson for a mom and dad? Well, besides the fact that you shouldn’t bring the kids to tag along for a movie you actually want to hear and see.
It’s still Wakanda forever though!