Happy New Year guys!
And what better way to start off the year than with a parenting story we can all relate to?
I really enjoyed Jessica’s tale of trying her hardest to accomplish a family night out at the movies with a 2-year-old… and I could feel her pain.
We tried this ourselves recently with the movie Moana and had success for what, I think, might be five critical differences:
- We didn’t pick a movie that lasted for two and a half hours.
- We picked a very kid-friendly movie. (Something we can still get away with since our kids are all 8 and under.)
- Our two-year-old is only three months away from being a three-year-old (this may have been the biggest key).
- We came armed with snacks and spaced them out strategically throughout the movie (super long-lasting snacks like suckers are key here).
- We held him on our lap during the movie and let him jump from my lap to grandpa’s in the middle of the movie.
Hope those tips help! Now, here’s Jessica’s story…
We don’t see a lot of movies at the theater in our house. With four kids, it just seems like a lot of work.
And with smart TVs and all that, it’s a breeze having our own movie nights here at home. Plus, I know the popcorn is good, there’s no line for the bathroom, and if the kids lose interest halfway through, we didn’t just blow $50.
But when the new Star Wars came out, we were all excited enough that taking everyone to the movies sounded like a really fun idea. And for our nine, seven and even the five-year-old, it totally was. But we also took the two-year-old, and I’m shaking my head even as I write that line.
Because holy crap, what were we thinking?
Actually, I remember what I was thinking. E loves Star Wars! She watches it at home with her brothers and sister.
She was BB8 for Halloween – and it was her idea. She points out Star Wars characters and toys when she spies them in stores. She’s the youngest of four, really mature and advanced for her age. And anyway, it’s a matinee. She’ll be great.
What I didn’t think about was any of the painfully obvious retrospective stuff.
She’s two. She won’t be able to sit through two and a half hours without getting bored. Watching a movie at home is different than watching it in a theater. When has it ever been a good idea to take a two-year-old to the movies?
I mean, there’s a reason we’ve never done this before.
The thing is, she did pretty well! We talked it up on the way over, and by the time we got there, she was solemnly reminding us we have to be quiet at the movies. She had a seat right between me and her oldest brother, and she got happily settled with some M&Ms for the trailers.
But then, as two-years-olds do, she started getting a little fidgety.
“Mama!” She stage-whispered, leaning over to me. I widened my eyes at her in the dark, finger to my lips. She grinned and did the same thing, before adding, “Um, I wuv you.”
She was wearing one of those little puffy coats, and before sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers, I’d never registered the crinkly little sounds it makes every single time she moves. Which she did, a lot.
It also had the serious disadvantage of turning her into a slippery little seal on that leather theater seat. I got a little worried about the people behind her as she slid around that thing like she was on a water slide, but she was too short to come up much higher than the seat back. So we dodged that issue.
At one point, she pitched face-first over the front of her seat when she tried to lean on her movable snack tray. Luckily, mom instincts kicked right in and I caught her by the back of her coat before she face-planted.
Then she discovered the buttons that moved her seat back and foot rest up, which was instantly problematic. She whirred it up and down a few times, loudly whispering to her brother to “Watch dis!” before I could get her to stop.
She snuggled in my lap for a while, and I thought we were home free – she was so still, I was sure she was falling asleep. But haha, no. Pretty soon, she was wriggling free and climbing back into her own seat.
With about an hour to go, I figured the guy to my left was close to murdering me.
I had missed most of the movie anyway, too worried that she was disturbing other moviegoers, so I picked her up and crept out, passing my husband on the way.
In the lobby, I sat on a couch while E charmed passersby with her rendition of the ABCs. I was a little resentful, but I thought I was doing a good job of hiding it.
Then E touched my hand and peered into my eyes, looking a little contrite.
I scooped her up and thanked her, telling her she didn’t need to be sorry about anything. I asked if she’d enjoyed the movie, and told her I was having fun watching her sing. She beamed and launched in again.
When the rest of the family came out, my husband asked where we had gone. Seated three seats away from E, he said he thought she had fallen asleep because she was doing so well, and hearing that made me simultaneously relieved, happy and murderous.
So the good news is she probably didn’t bother anyone at all.
But I’m chalking this up to a refresher on why it’s a bad idea to take a two-year-old to the movies if you’re planning on, you know, actually watching the movie yourself.
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