I took my kids to the movies yesterday. Next time maybe I’ll just take them along for some kind of invasive elective surgery. Maybe I’ll get a bad sunburn first. That would be more fun.
We went a few weeks ago, I thought, and except for that pooping-pants-episode (BY A KID) and the subsequent bathroom garbage can wailing funeral for the undies involved, and the arriving 20 minutes into the movie, it was relatively painless. I did not bank on going to a movie that other people wanted to attend. We got there early and it was already full, filled with slightly hostile Overland Park mommies who had their precious Madelyns and Emmets holding entire rows hostage while they picked up pretzel and hummus cups and organic apple juices. Brynn and Toby hauled the increasingly enormous popcorn and Coke while I dragged a sulking Tristan on his leash and tried to keep R2 from faceplanting in the dark. Around and around we went, like a sick merry-go-round of rejection and frustration. Desperate, I moved everyone back to the foyer and let them eat popcorn while I tried to convince a 25 year old high school student with a badge to find us seats, since we paid dollars to sit in chairs. He suggested we split up, and I almost told him that was a great plan since clearly my 7 year old is ready to live on his own now, but instead I squeezed all 5 of us into 2 chairs and tried not to be a human grenade. Eventually he found one seat in front of us and I sent the independent ones up there, which meant they immediately turned to hang over the seat and request popcorn and candy and I realized I was being sifted.
I offered vague threats and left everybody but Tristan in there and found a manager, and then another manager and got seats at a later showing, and even upgraded to the 3D, which was great except a) I had to remove everyone from our ideal situation and b) we had to kill an hour, which is easier said than done when you have a special needs kid who has been ready to see this movie since the sun broke over the horizon. Yesterday. We walked around Target so I could practice saying no a lot of times and then it was time to go back, but our snacks (being held for us at the counter) had been thrown away.
It wasn’t so much that I wanted to cry. I was too tired to cry, and besides, I had used all my liquid with the nervous sweating. We were given free snacks, which weren’t free since I paid for the first ones and then we went to the screen but they were cleaning it, and cleaning it and cleaning it, so we had to stand outside for another 15 minutes. Some kids would get bored but mine improvised and alternated punching each other and crashing into the elderly. Tristan just sat on the floor and drank Coke, which is something I don’t let kids have, but my parenting day was over.
Finally, finally we made it in and found seats. Everybody sat down and I was almost going to breathe when Brynn tried to swipe some Coke and dropped it in a sticky fountain of horror everywhere. Sit down, maybe you’re saying. For Pete’s sake, woman, let it go. Let me explain. In the 2 and a half hours we had spent roaming like the devil, I had not had a single kernel of popcorn nor sip of God’s nectar, and I needed it. I needed it. I left them all there, except Tristan, and got a refill, prepared to fight to the death should I be questioned. Upon returning to our seats, where all of the children were intact, I realized Tristan had lost a shoe, but I didn’t care anymore. By that point Tristan could have been naked and I would have just handed him the M&Ms and averted my eyes.
I think the movie was good. Mostly I just liked the part where I sat in the darkness for a while. In the last 30 minutes Tristan told me, “I go home,” and spent the remainder of time trying to escape the theater, except for that part where he laid down on top of the spilled Coke and played with the ice and I acted like I didn’t see.
On the way home, everyone but me talked about how it was the best day ever, so I think I pulled it off. I might never be the same, but nobody knows but me, and you people, unless the screaming and rocking tips them off. Fingers crossed!