Yesterday, we celebrated the last day of school by going to a movie. (“Cars.”) Tickets for five children and me cost somewhere around $40.00. (I could buy two DVDs at that price! I said to myself as we hurried toward the theater.)
I have recently become devoted to Fandango.com so I purchased my tickets online before we left for the theater. No line to wait in! I had no idea if the theater would be crowded at 1:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, so we arrived at 1:00 p.m.
Lucky us! The concession stand had no line, so we bellied up to the bar and I ordered: a combo (large popcorn/large drink), a small Sprite (for the two little ones to share) and a second large popcorn. My twin 13-year olds ordered and paid for their own drinks. (They love to spend their money.)
Large popcorns come with one free refill, so after paying, we traipsed over to the salt and butter-dispenser. I pulled out five brown lunchbags from my purse and divided the popcorn five ways. Then I sent one of my boys back to get the empty popcorn bag refilled.
I smuggled a bottle of water into the theater for my 8-year old who prefers water to pop. So now, everyone had a snack and a drink–and I only spent $18.00 on snacks, which was something of a thrifty miracle.
Unfortunately, we had to wait a solid fifteen minutes before the movie started. My three boys sat three rows ahead of me–one of the boy’s glasses were destroyed by a dog and he can’t see that well, so they wanted to be very close to the screen. I sat between two almost-four year olds; my daughter, who has never been to a movie, other than “Finding Nemo” when she was a year old, but that doesn’t count because I spent almost the whole movie chasing her as she toddled in the hallways outside the darkened theater and freaking out about germs.
The other three and a half year old is a movie-veteran, having seen pretty much every kid’s movie as it was released in theaters over the past two years. He sat entranced, methodically placing popcorn in his mouth and chewing without moving his eyes from the screen.
My daughter said, “I don’t want that,” and gave me her popcorn bag. She scooted back in the theater-seat and due to her small size, the bottom of the seat flipped up, bending her in half. This became her primary occupation during the whole movie. She appeared to be doing some type of weird ab exercise, the kind you see on late-night informercials. Open, closed, open, closed, open, closed, the seat flipped and flapped, back and forth, up, down, up, down.
Five minutes before the movie started, she leaned over and said, “I want to go home.” Flip, flap, flip, flap, flip, flap went her legs.
When the movie finally started, so did a baby two rows behind us. The baby squalled and I turned and scanned the rows, but didn’t spot the baby. The crying continued and I turned again and this time, I stared straight into the grim eyes of the screamer’s mother. She had a hand clamped over the unhappy baby’s hollering mouth.
My annoyance instantly turned into sympathy. I felt sorry that I had turned to shoot her a look. (My look said, “Hey, I paid fifty-eight bucks for this–get that crying kid out of here!”)
A few minutes later, I heard the weeping recede into the distance at that mother left the theater. I have no idea if she came back.
My daughter did watch the movie with interest, though her legs only sporadically stopped flapping the seat bottom up and down. She ate popcorn, she laughed at funny parts. Then, finally, she grew bored and said, “I have to pee.” I said, “No, wait.” She insisted, so I had to gather my purse and the hands of both three-year olds and crawl over two people.
She did pee and so did the little boy. We washed hands and returned to the theater, crawled over two people and settled into our seats. Then she wanted to switch seats with her little buddy. Then she wanted to sit on the other side of him. Flip, flap, flip, flap, flip. Whisper, whisper.
“I want to go home.”
She called the name of her friend over and over. He didn’t hear her, completely engrossed in the movie. I can see why his parents take him to movies all the time. He, the boy who cannot walk without leaping and kicking, sat immobile, except for one hand bringing popcorn to his mouth. I think he blinked, too.
Finally, she got his attention and had nothing to say. Flip, flap, flip.
“Mommy! I need to poop.”
I told her she did NOT, and she gave up asking. She has realized that declaring her need to vacate her bowels is a Get Out of Anywhere Free card. For instance, when she whispers that in a stage-whisper at church, I hurry her out of the pew. Because . . . well, just because. But in the movies?
I really did like the movie. I did not particularly like my movie-companion, however! She will not go to another movie anytime soon. This is a child who can barely be convinced to watch an entire television show. I won’t be paying five bucks again for her to fidget and exercise her already taut abs.
* * *
Today my 8-year old played in the final baseball tournament of the season. (Hooray!) His team took third place. This was the first game I’d seen this year–my husband normally takes him, but today, my husband took my older boys to a Mariner’s game at Safeco Field. (My husband tried to make me feel guilty about missing all the other games by launching into a chorus of “The Cat’s in the Cradle,” but I am not easily guilted.)
The funny thing is that my 8-year old could have gone to the Mariner’s game, too, but he was invited to a birthday party and he chose the party. So, I went to his baseball game and took my daughter with me.
They won the first game, and played in a second one, so he was at the field from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. When he went to the birthday party at 3:30 p.m., I took my daughter to Costco to drop off film and shop (mainly for a roast for dinner tomorrow).
She had been begging to go to “the dolly store” to get another dolly (because you can never have enough dollies when you are almost four years old). I took her to Goodwill where the doll bins were stuffed full of rejected and neglected dolls. She picked out two, played in the toy aisle as long as I could stand it and then finally, we returned home.
And that, my friends, is about as much fun as I can stand to have in one weekend. (And it’s not over yet!)
(Oh, and we aren’t quite finished with school yet–we have to wrap up History and my Reluctant Student managed to leave himself a generous helping of Spelling over the summer.)