I was going to write a blog called When Dads Lose Their Sense of Humor in honor of the father who went ballistic last week when I suggested that men don't always have their parenting act together. Then I realized that all dads are entitled to a certain amount of crabbiness. The guy just needs to get laid. So, I dedicate this week's blog on The Best DVDs for Sex to "Dad of 2 under 3" – and all the other hard-working, frustrated fathers out there.
No, this is not a guide to porn. (Sorry, dads, you can log off now and go back to not watching your kids.) Every wise mom knows that the key to reclaiming your sex life is cultivating a kids' DVD collection that will keep the offspring occupied long enough to … well, I said this wasn't a porn column, you know what I'm talking about.
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I've heard some parents of young children call this "Elmo sex." You thought that furry red monster was popular because kids like him? I know it seems irresponsible to use TV – not to mention a beloved Muppet – as a make-time-for-sex tool, but research shows that kids should spend no more than two to four hours a day in front of the TV. I'm talking less than two hours here. (Or, in the case of "Dad of 2 under 3," maybe two minutes?)
No, for a really good time, what is needed is the War and Peace of kiddie cinema. Short animation is out. G-rated flicks of Gone with the Wind proportions are in. TV shows just won't cut it – too many opportunities for little minds and feet to wander during commercial breaks. We're talking about long stretches of uninterrupted time. Because the worst possible thing you can think of is having your kids walk in on you while you and your spouse are having … long stretches of uninterrupted time. This happened to a friend of mine once. She told the kids she and daddy were playing "tent." I don't think I can think that quickly on my back, or in any other position for that matter. Can you? So I'm creating this age-appropriate guide that I hope will grow with your own tried-and-true movie contributions.
The toddler years: Forget Barney and cartoon shorts like Clifford, Dr. Seuss and Goodnight Moon. They'll be over before you are. The chief thing to remember when building your Elmo sex DVD collection at this age is to not include anything that will startle or scare. Any potential for terror will send them tearing into your bedroom. The Wizard of Oz, for instance. Those flying monkeys still scare the shit out of me. Finding Nemo also has interuptus potential. While you're at it, you might as well rule out most of Disney because those sick fu*ks usually kill off mom in the first act. Your only hope: Kids at this age crave repetition. They've likely seen their favorite movies 124,264,756 times. Go for the ones they're most familiar with – Pocahontas, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Peter Pan, Cinderella – to lull them into a nice, quiet stretch of time.
Ages 5-7: Scary is still out. No Bambi, and certainly no Harry Potter. Ditto for Monster House and its man-eating home and Pirates of the Caribbean, with its skeletons popping out all over the ship. Speaking from experience, even Chitty Chitty Bang Bang should be ruled out. As THE scariest movie character of all time, The Child Catcher even beats Friday the 13th's Jason and Freddy Krueger. You also don't want movies that will prompt a lot of questions or make them cry. That rules out Charlotte's Web and Born Free. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory can be creepy. (Remember the psychedelic boat trip?) That leaves Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music (sometimes all you need is that super-long song, So Long, Farewell) and The Incredible Journey (surely you don't need more than a 300-mile trek across the country?) Also high on my list for sheer length: Matilda, Babe, Cars and 101 Dalmations.
Ages 8-10: Three words: The NeverEnding Story. Some modern movies, such as Night at The Museum and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium are effective, but the true time-elapsing tools for this age are those epic movies from your own childhood. Have you noticed that all the long, great kids' movies were created in the 1980s? Maybe our parents were smarter than we thought. Star Trek: The Motion Picture runs a whopping 143 minutes. Some other favs: Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, The Goonies, The Princess Bride, Forrest Gump, Dead Poets Society, Rudy, and E.T. A cautionary tip: Scary is out because kids this age still get spooked. Stand and Deliver has those scenes with the leeches and the dead body. Pay It Forward has that awful stabbing. Even the knife fights in West Side Story sent my 9-year-old scrambling.
Tweens and teens: They have the good sense not to open a shut door, but they still have ears. Hearing your parents have sex can really mess you up, so what is needed here are movies that make a lot of noise. Transformers should be at the top of your list. Epic battles occur continuously and there is a lot of shouting. Rocky has long, loud fight scenes. Jackie Chan movies are good, too. If that's too violent for you, go for Titanic. It takes a long time for that ship to go down. If you're counting, Avatar runs 2 hours and 42 minutes. Thank you, James Cameron.