Extreme Parenting: Movie Edition
If we’re Facebook friends, you may have encountered a status of mine in your newsfeed wherein I posed the following question: Would I be completely out of my mind to take [all three kids] to see Monster’s University tomorrow? The response was mixed. Some people said yes. Some (who also have three kids) said to go for it, but take snacks. One said that yes I’m out of my mind, but not for taking the kids to the movie. I considered all opinions and then decided to go for it. I mean didn’t Helen Keller proclaim that “life is a daring adventure or it’s nothing at all”? Then again, she would neither have had to see my kids act like hooligans nor hear them should the experiment go wrong, so maybe she’s not the best one to ask.
Nonetheless, I announced this morning that we’d be going to see the movie at 11:45am and like any good parent, I used Will’s and John’s excitement about the movie for it’s full value. In other words, when they showed the least sign of disobedience at any other point in the morning, I’d say, “If you do that one more time, we won’t see Monsters University.” It worked like a charm. Even still, I was scared. Particularly since, not two days ago, Will and John acted like a couple of zoo-break refugees in Target when I refused to purchase a new box of colored pencils. So 11:45 came and we sat ourselves down in the theatre to enjoy the show. And despite years of poor parenting on my part, my children behaved perfectly. Even the baby. Here are some pictures from our adventure:
Kat seemed a little scared. But she held it together.
John stared wide-eyed at the screen for pretty much the entire movie. He hasn’t been to a movie since he was about Kat’s age.
Will also remained entertained for the duration, with the exception of about two 30 second trips to the bathroom. Seriously, I never saw a kid pee so fast.
But one doesn’t achieve success alone. I employed a few parenting tools and strategies that helped me along the way. I’ll now share them with you just in case you go off your medications long enough to be crazy enough to attempt this activity:
My double stroller:
I didn’t acquire this stroller until Kat was born, but boy am I glad that I got it. John’s lightning fast mobility made it necessary for me to have a method of rolling the baby around that could also serve as a mobile penitentiary for John should he need restraint. This stroller really came in handy for my movie quest as well. For one, it helped me carry all our snacks and booster seats and diaper bags as well as the baby and John without extra hands. It also gave me the security of knowing that should the shit hit the fan, I could strap John and Kat into the misbehaving-children-getaway-car, grab Will by the hand and get us the Hell out of there. So I recommend taking a stroller if you have one.
All of the moms cheerleading me into this experience unanimously agreed that I needed to take food. I did carry food for myself, but Will had been to the movies before and knew about the snack pack, so just this once I shelled out money for each of the boys to have their little tray of popcorn with fruit snacks and a drink. This lasted them throughout the movie and engaged their attention when the movie may not have. (The movie, however, kept them interested pretty much 95% of the time.) My sister-in-law proposed a different twist on the snacks by suggesting that I carry snacks without the boys knowing and pull them out when/if they started to get restless to refocus them until the movie picked up its pace. I see the value in this and will do it next time, because there will be a next time, and next time I’ll use the money it takes to buy snacks at a theatre to buy a Porsche Boxter (because the prices are roughly equivalent). Nonetheless, take food or buy food as a time sucking activity in the event that your movie doesn’t deliver 90 minutes of attention-span captivating entertainment.
I was shocked that there was a gratuitous boob scene in Monsters University. I started to go complain to management, but then I realized that the boob was my own, it was completely hidden from public viewing, and I was using it to feed my almost five-month-old. If you’re taking a baby to a theatre, boobs are important diversions to keep that baby from crying. (That is, if you’re breastfeeding. If not, bring the boob substitute of your choice.) Some might think it’s nonsensical to bring a baby to a theatre. Nonsense, I say. The baby was the only one I was sure would behave. I knew she’d be good for at least one nap during the movie and I knew that she’d take that nap if she nursed. So the boobs came in handy. In fact, she only cried once, right when we came in because this happened:
And that was totally my fault. Fortunately the movie hadn’t started and I was able to scrape most of it back into John’s snack tray before the previews got started. To be honest, that little faux pas was the worst thing that happened in the course of the whole experience. And it was my fault. So maybe I should’ve just stayed home and let the kids go.
I also brought the diaper bag and our baby Bjorn knock off. The former to smuggle my snacks in and in the case that I had the need to change a rogue diaper, which I did. (You can change an infant behind a stroller of the ground level of a stadium-seating theatre and no one will notice. Just so you know. And before anyone freaks out, I put down the protective mat so she didn’t get any Mike & Ikes stuck to her ass.) I brought the latter just in case Kat wasn’t content with nursing and/or being held. I could have strapped her on and paced in the wings while still being five feet away from Will and John who were sitting in the second row. In the end, though, it wasn’t necessary.
So that was my experience. If you’re toying with taking your herd of young children to the movies, I say go for it. As I said on Facebook, the worst that can happen is that you have to lock everyone into the stroller and leave before the movie is over… or before it even starts, if necessary. So that’s my extreme parenting adventure for this week. I might start a series of these kinds of things: where I undertake daredevil parenting risks and report back on whether it was a stupid idea or not. We’ll see. Until next time…
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