We've all made them, right? Help a girl out here. Lie if you have to.
A week or so ago I let Bear, who is 12, see a PG-13 movie at a sleepover. "Knowing" with Nicolas Cage, to be exact. I haven't let her see many PG-13s yet, so I did the conscientious mom thing and checked online to see why it had the PG-13 rating. It looked suspenseful, with some action movie style violence, and some language (nothing she doesn't hear around here when Mom cuts herself chopping onions). I was mostly concerned about sexual content, and I didn't see any mention of that, so I gave permission.
IT SCARED THE EVER-LOVING SHIT OUT OF HER.
She later confessed that she watched half of the movie with her hands over her eyes, and the other half with her hands over her ears when it got loud. Despite this, she swore up and down when she got home that she loved it and that it was "the best movie ever." She described the plot in excruciating detail over and over again, popping out from unpacking her overnight bag to say, "Oh, yeah, there was also this part where...." I took this to mean that, though she'd been scared, it was more of the Pleasantly Freaked Out variety than the Emotionally Scarred for Life variety.
Fast forward to a few nights past, when the plot points and images had had awhile to marinate in her overactive imagination. I woke from a dead sleep with an awareness that something was off. Groggy from sleep, I wasn't able to place a finger on what was wrong until I started to sit up and heard a small voice behind me say,
"Hi, Mom. I thought I'd just lay with you guys for awhile."
I turned to see Bear lying on top of the covers between Daddy Shortbread and me. She had a Webkinz (well-known protectors against evil?) clutched to her chest. I walked her back to her room, and she seemed content to climb into her own bed with a kiss on the cheek and assurances that everything was fine. I'd been back in bed for about twenty seconds when I heard her footfalls again in the hall.
She thought she'd sleep on the couch. Was that OK? Yes. Go to sleep.
(two minutes later): No, the couch was even freakier. She was going to get a drink. Fine. You don't need to tell me. Just go to bed.
(two minutes later): Of course, it was still pretty dark in her room, and there was a strong possibility that there were floating faces in her closet. No faces in the closet, Bear. Here, I'll get you a nightlight.
(45 seconds later): Did I know that sometimes nightlights make weird shadows? Some of them look a lot like faces. Bear. You're killing me. You really are. Please, for the love of God, go to bed. I wil take personal responsibility for any and all floating faces.
The next day, as I was driving her to dance rehearsal, we passed the movie theater.
Bear: Oh, Mom, look! "Knowing" is still playing! I really want you to go see that with me. It was the best movie ever.
She was completely baffled when I told her that there was no way AT ALL ever even if she gave me a million skillion dollars that I would take her to see that movie again.