We took the kids to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian last weekend. Even though it's only getting 44% on the rotten tomato meter, the kids loved it, and I didn't hate it. The best part, to me, was explaining to M. Peevie what the sexual innuendos meant.
There's sweetness, though not much sexual tension between the main character (Larry Daley, played by Ben Stiller) and his pert, adventurous sidekick, Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). There's lithping humor from Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), which your 13-going-on-14-year-old will quote for days afterward. There are Albert Einstein bobbleheads singing "That's the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it, I like it!", which your 11-year-old will giggle at for days afterward.
And there's Owen Wilson as a miniature cowboy in Daley's front chest pocket, who, after Daley embraces Earhart and smooches her, remarks, "I just got to second base." That got a chuckle from the grown-ups, and even though I was hoping she'd forget by the time we got home, M. Peevie wondered what it meant and why was it funny.
I saw it as an opportunity for some early sex ed, and over the objections of both boys ("Mom! Please don't! Not at the dinner table!"), I started in on the "touchy" subject
"M. Peevie," I said, looking at her seriously, "when a boy kisses a girl, they call it 'first base.'" I paused to watch her face screw up into a disgusted grimace.
"Yuck," she said.
"Exactly," I continued, and both A. Peevie and C. Peevie interrupted, "MOM, Puh-leeze!"
"Do you HAVE to, Mom? At the dinner table?" C. Peevie groaned.
"Yes," I insisted. "M. Peevie, when a boy touches a girl's breast, they call it 'second base.'"
"Ew!" said M. P. "Ew. Why would a boy want to touch a girl's breast?"
C. Peevie just looked me in despair. "Mom, don't," he moaned.
I felt I had to finish what I started, so I went on. "I guess maybe because they want to know what it feels like," I said, "or maybe because they like how it feels."
"Well, I'm NEVER going to let a boy touch my breast," said my breast-less eight-year-old adamantly. "It's gross."
By this time, C. Peevie's head was down on the table, and A. Peevie had started giggling hysterically. I can't remember if Mr. Peevie was even in the room, but if he was, I'm sure he was just shaking his head in awe at my parental wisdom.
"Yes, M. Peevie," I said, "It is gross when you're eight. And just so you know, most of this information is not stuff I want you to talk about with the kids at school."
That was the end of it. I'm kind of glad she didn't ask about third base and home runs. I'm sure the male Peevies are relieved, as well.
Would you have handled it differently?