When Brighid was 18 months old, we took her to see Aladdin at the movie theater. It was her first movie, and I think the first movie for us in about 18 months. We were excited to go, see how she would be, and we were so pleased that we got through a good chunk of the movie before she became more interested in finding her way around the place in the dark.
When Eilis was two, Finding Nemo came out, and seemed like the perfect movie to take her to as her first movie. The thing was, there were no jazzy musical numbers to keep her occupied, and the timing was off. With Brighid, we tried to plan it so we arrived just as the movie started and feed her popcorn. With Eilis, we got there too early, and she ate her way through a hot dog while waiting. The popcorn wasn’t very appealing to her by that point, and about halfway through the movie, she became the kind of kid you hope the parents remove from the theater. Even though it was a kids’ movie, she was definitely not capable of behaving well enough to see the rest of the movie.
Based on those two experiences, I would have waited another year before taking Granuaile to a movie. But her father, who does not spend as much time with her as I do, decided to make a leap of faith and take her with us to the Simpsons Movie. I know she can watch a full 25 minutes of the Backyardigans, but she likes them, likes the music and dancing, and has a room full of toys surrounding her if she gets bored. I honestly did not believe we would get the whole movie in, and because of that, I put her father in charge. When she had the meltdown I felt was inevitably coming, he would be the one to take her out of the theater. I still haven’t seen all of Finding Nemo.
We arrived at the theater about 25 minutes early for the 12:10 show. I was mostly worried that this isn’t really only a kids’ movie, and we are going to have to keep her quiet while possibly being surrounded by adults. I went to the coffee bar to get my coffee, and tried to encourage Jim to go get in the popcorn line, but because we had so much time and Granuaile was wandering around the theater lobby, he decided we’d wait in line together. I got my coffee, and then we got a kids’ pack for each of the two little kids, and popcorn for the rest of us. We walked in and picked up two of the movie booster seats, and headed in to the theater. It wasn’t very crowded, but to my dismay, the people in there were a handful of senior citizens and a couple of people between Brighid’s age and my age. No kids at all. A few would eventually enter the theater, so I hoped that they would misbehave loudly enough so that when Granuaile misbehaved, she wouldn’t be noticed.
After a few rounds of the local artists’ works popping up on the screen, it was time for the previews. At this point, Jim decided he needed Twizzlers, and I told him to take Granuaile with him. This would be her last chance to get out of her seat, and I thought she might need it. They were back in no time with Twizzlers and pretzel nuggets, and the baby took her seat between Brighid and Jim.
Well, she laughed, she pointed, she got so excited over the movie and the snacks, it was adorable to watch her! She ate a little popcorn, a little candy, drank a little juice, and really enjoyed being in the theater. Of course, she’s two, so there were a couple of times where we had to remind her to use a quiet voice, but she wasn’t trying to wiggle out of her seat or pick stuff up off the floor or call to people in the back of the theater. When she did start to get a little loud with her singing, we gave her a binky, and she sat quietly until nearly the very end of the movie.
And that’s the saddest part. She got whimpery, like something was bothering her, and started to grab at her diaper. I figured she must need changing and she must be uncomfortable. Jim and Brighid took her out to change her, and she was upset to be removed from the theater. She didn’t cry or make a big fuss, but Brighid said she really didn’t want to leave. There is no changing table in the movie theater, so they had to go out to the car to change her. Unfortunately, at that point, as they were removing the old diaper, she peed before they could get the new one on, and it got all over her clothes. I just emptied her diaper bag the other day and neglected to put a clean outfit back in the bag 🙁 Because she was wet, they couldn’t bring her back in the theater, so Jim sat outside with her and they both missed the last 10 minutes of the film.
I was so proud of her. She did WAY better than I expected her to, especially for a movie with no real “kid” stuff going on. She ate her snacks, paid attention, and did so little fidgeting, I thought a couple of times she must have fallen asleep.
I worried over nothing, but I’m glad the worry didn’t keep me from having Brighid snap a picture of her sitting in the movie theater. This is my last baby, so this is the last time I’ll get to take one of my kids to their first movie. She was by far the best of the three. Let’s see if that carries over to other areas of her life 😉