If the hairs on your arms magically rise at the thought of taking preschoolers to the movie theater, I assume you, too, have experienced those joys.
I would have guessed most parents wait to share the cinematic experience with their kids when they are in grade school, but that would be far off. I saw kids of all ages at a showing of Disney’s latest princess movie and during the previews, I even saw a mother carrying a diaper and wipes as she hauled her 4-month-young infant to the powder room to “freshen up.”
Now as my husband will attest, I am a huge Disney fan. When he married me, he married my complete Disney collection. It is no surprise my children appreciate Disney movies, often when I have to get anything done. Sound familiar? Waiting for the newest rated G princess movie took us four years, but we knew it would be a hit with the girls. We took a break from our financial planning to introduce our children to cinema on the big screen.
My husband decided to drop me off at the door to buy the tickets because we could see from the parking lot that it might be a challenge. Two days later my poor husband found a parking place and trudged our preschool-aged girls in parkas and boots through the snowy lots, dodging drivers who were trying to run over my family in their hunt for a parking space.
By the time everyone got through the doors, my family looked tired, cold, yet excited to experience something big; a new adventure.
I put on my best supportive mommy face, embraced my 3-year-old with my knees while she yelled, “Happy Birthday, Mommy!” — what she says to anyone when she excitedly greets them — and whispered to their little red noses, “It’s sold out.”
This brings me to another topic. Assigned seating at a movie theater? Uh, excuse me? Now since we hadn’t watched a movie in a big cineplex since…well, I think it was when “National Treasure” first hit the screen, we didn’t know seats were actually assigned to you. I guess when you start charging Sprint Center prices for a movie, you need to fancy it up a bit. Watch out. In the near future, they might start charging Arrowhead prices for parking.
Luckily, we were able to get superb seats for an hour later, so we packed up the limo and drove to the nearest library to run off some steam. Thankfully, in Johnson County there are almost as many libraries as drugstores, so we didn’t have to go far. We read some books, played with toys, jumped on furniture and checked out the bathroom several times.
After locating my children’s coats, shoes and socks, we traveled back to the theater just before show time. I now understand how great it is to have assigned seats if you purchase them in advance. No need to get there early. We grabbed our popcorn, which was literally the size of our 4-year-old’s torso, and watched a delightful movie filled with beautiful music and voices. The girls even got up and danced a bit. They were pretty jacked up on pink lemonade. I only missed a small portion of the movie on the bathroom excursions.
Our first movie theater experience was a family bonding moment that won’t soon be forgotten. As we drove away, I turned to see all smiling faces. Of course, we will only be able to afford to take our entire family once a year. Who knew you had to start saving money now for when they are teenagers and want to frequent the movies. I can’t imagine how much a ticket will cost in 10 years. Note to self: Find out if 529B plan considers movie tickets a qualified withdrawal.
Stacey Hatton is an Overland Park pediatric nurse and freelance writer. Her blog, which was recommended by the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, is at nursemommylaughs.com.
©2010, Hatton. All rights reserved.