The craziness that is Harry Potter

I try really hard not to knock other people’s parenting—either here or anywhere, really—but in certain cases I just feel the need to let out my inner critic just to get a reality check. Maybe I’m completely out there. Maybe not. Perhaps you can tell me.

I, like most of the rest of the free world, went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this weekend. I would characterize myself as someone who does enjoy the Harry Potter books and movies, but I’m certainly not a fanatic. I do not dress in character garb and run out to the bookstore or the theater to be there at midnight when the latest installment is released or anything like that. In fact, I haven’t even read the sixth book yet, so I certainly won’t be one of the people intent on picking up the seventh when it’s released later this week.

(And I guess I should point out that—as with just about every other book/movie pairing that comes to mind—I think the books are far better than the movies. It goes without saying.)

So anyway, there I am at the movie. I have my overpriced popcorn and I’m waiting for the previews to start, and really, I’m just very excited to be out of the house without the kids for a few hours.

What’s that? Oh, yeah. I didn’t take my children to the movie. They’re reading the books and really loved the first couple of movies, but they won’t be seeing this current one or the previous one for quite a while. You see, I am a Very Mean Mommy.

I am the sort of Very Mean Mommy who will not allow my single-digit-aged children to see a PG-13 film.

Here’s where I get all judgy. As I sat in that theater for a 7:30 showing of a PG-13 film, I watched family after family walk in with children who appeared to be as young as three or four. And I was appalled.

Look, I know I’m old and curmudgeonly. I know (believe me, my daughter has been informing me for weeks) that plenty of people will let their elementary-aged children see PG-13 movies, Mom, geez.

But I had, er, have, I guess, two issues. First, the movie wasn’t over until close to 10:00. I know it’s summer, but that’s pretty late even for an older kid. Second, it’s a scary movie. If I’m unwilling to let my nine-year-old see it, I have to confess I was horrified to see preschoolers waltzing in to watch it.

Am I being an old fuddy-duddy? Do I get to call inappropriate parenting or is it time for me to lighten up? Does Harry Potter get a magical dispensation that preempts all traditional parenting rules? I feel like I must be missing something here.

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