maniacal laughter, maniacal laughter!

December 5, 2011

Our mission over the weekend was to escort our offspring to his first ever in-theater movie. The concept was two-fold: A) I really really wanted to see the Muppets and B) the kid really really loves the Muppets. How could this go wrong? It seemed a brilliant combination. Kismet! Unfortunately before we went I could think of lots of ways things could go wrong and every sentence began with, "He's two..."

Among my concerns were complete lack of volume control coupled with near-constant self narration and an itchy desire to wiggle around. Imagining these things in a theater ...well that isn't so bad. Imagining it in a theater with other people there was downright cringe-inducing, at least for me. The trouble is that I'm not one of those screw-everyone-else-here kind of parents willing to just let my kid do whatever. I only like to take my kid places if he can behave like a proper human, and this was a big fat ass question mark. Fears about this? I had buckets of them.

The good news is that he was entranced with the stairs up to the theater. And the theater. And the movie. –Could you hear my sigh of relief from there? It was big. Other than shouting, "WHAT HAPPENED?!" between previews by the time the movie rolled around he was ready to sit peacefully and watch him some moopets.

Watch and learn. I will help you:

Pro tip #1- Go early. We went to the earliest showing in the hopes that there would be other kids there AND that the adults in the theater would not be angry if he yelled, "LOOK CUTE FROGGY!" repeatedly. There were other kids there and no one seemed particularly pissed about any of their kid-nonsense though we as parents did our best to keep things completely interruption-free. I'm possibly the most sympathetic mom ever to strangers' dislike of annoying children but hell, if you don't want kids there don't go see a children's movie at 10AM.

Pro tip #2- Get popcorn (or bring snacks). Even though it was 10:00 AM and we'd just had bagels we sprung for overpriced popcorn and it was the best decision ever. Not only was he in awe of the special snack, which kept him occupied, but also as soon as it would get quiet for a tender emotional moment I would start pushing popcorn into his face to keep him from shouting. Don't knock it, it works GREAT.

Pro tip #3- We sat at the bottom of the theater in the front so that Mr. Shorts could look straight out and see the screen. Smart! Brainthinking! Yes! That way he had his own seat and didn't not need a lift up on a lap. Also, easy escape in case of screaming. Dual purpose seating location.

Undesirable side effect of pro tip #3- When the movie is ten minutes too long and your kid starts climbing the railings, but you let him because at least he's being VERY QUIET, and he shushes you away and says, "Just hanging' out, MAMA," ...and then he falls down the hole between the railings and the seats. Parenting win!

I'm not a very emotional parent by a long shot but sitting in the movie theater next to my kid sharing popcorn I got a little misty. There was dust in my eye. I was leaking. OKAY I CRIED. I cried during the previews. I cried when the Disney castle came on the screen. And then I pretended I wasn't crying because that is so dumb. –But it really wasn't dumb at all, it was dreamy. There are so many things I have wanted, waited, to do together and this was one of them. We watched the Muppets and laughed and sat with our faces close together and it was totally worth it even though he fell in that hole and pooped his pants and I spent most of the time worrying about him yelling– he didn't.

The scene: It was go time and the previews were finally starting. The three of us were all set, with the Jude in the middle and popcorn for all and a secret chocolate milk in my purse for later. The lights dimmed down to nothing and he leaned in close and put his hand on my hand, eyes wide. The screen darkened. And BOOM! It was a pirate ship! A GIANT LOUD PIRATE SHIP soaring over the seas with sails unfurled and rolling clouds and fully orchestrated blaring action music and the Jude yelled out in surprise and excitement, "OH SHIT!"

...I know right?

*We continue to debate whether this was in fact oh SHIT, or the also possible oh SHIP, but because said ship/t was SO LOUD we may never know. But we laughed, oh how we laughed.
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