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Mommy's Little Moviegoers

Yesterday was a school and work holiday in
our family, and Brian and I wanted to do something fun for the
girls. Maddie had been asking about going to see a movie for a
while, and we finally gave in and took the girls to a movie

And yes, it’s true, neither girl had ever been to see a movie
before. I know, we practically raise them Amish.

We selected Yogi Bear for their big screen debut; Tangled had been
reported (by friends who know the girls well) as being too scary,
and I couldn’t find a single witch or scary wolf in the Yogi
commercials. We told the girls right before we headed out, and let
them dress “fancy” – which means both were
wearing their “rock star” outfits. Well, almost the
full outfits: I made Cora take off her sequined cape and her crown,
and Maddie had to remove her black sequined bowler hat. Otherwise,
though, they were sparkled out and we had a couple Liberaces
walking in to the theatre.

I realized I needed to treat them like aliens visiting for the
first time, and tried to explain everything in detail.

“So we’ll go in to the movie
place to see the movie, and we won’t be the only people in
the room, ok? It’s like going to see a show, but instead of
the stage there will be a big television screen.”

“As big as our television?” Maddie asked excitedly.
“Umm, no bigger.”

When we walked into the lobby, Cora’s nose began sniffing
ferociously. “Mommy-“ sniff sniff – “I
smell popcorn! Do they have popcorn here, just like when we have
movie night?” I nodded. “Can we HAVE some?” I
nodded. Screams of joy followed.

Brian gave each girl her own ticket, which she politely offered to
the ticket-taker, just like at a live show. “Thank you so
much,” Maddie murmured, obviously royalty in the story going
on in her head. As we walked down the hallway to find our theatre,
the girls’ heads swiveled back and forth without stopping,
rubbernecking at every huge poster and refreshment stand.
“That movie looks too scary,” Maddie said
disapprovingly, tsking and shaking her head in front of a ten-foot
poster covered with scantily clad women bearing futuristic machine

Um, yeah, that’s the problem with that movie. It’s too

We got to our theatre and Brian held the door open for us all. Cora
walked in first, took a few steps, and then screamed, “Mommy!
It’s dark in here! Mommy, the lights are out! Turn them on!
It’s dark!”

Ok, so I forgot to tell them about that. And about being quiet in
the theatre.

I explained the dark-room thing, and they felt their way cautiously
up the stairs, sparkles shimmering in the floor lights. We got them
seated – “Just like a throne!” Maddie said, awed
– and I ran for popcorn.

By the time I got back the commercials were in full swing, and
Maddie said every time, “Is this the movie? What is this?
What is a commercial doing in the movie?” They then showed a
Road Runner short cartoon, and when it was over Maddie said,
“Well, that seemed short to me. Maybe the movies just feel
longer at home?” But eventually the movie started and the
girls were transported to a far-away land named Jellystone National

I’d look over during the movie and see the girls staring,
enraptured, heads going from side to side in tennis-match style as
they took in the huge screen. Afterwards, both girls applauded
during the credits, and when Brian pointed out the projection booth
Maddie yelled, “Thank you!” to the kid up there. As we
drove home we talked about the movie and I asked offhand if they
thought there were any sad parts in it. Maddie thought, and said,
“The only sad part was when the lady’s true love was
banished to another forest.” Translation – the
documentarian-cum-love-interest saw her park ranger boyfriend fired
and sent to work in another park. Clearly my kids have seen too
much Disney.

It was fun seeing the whole experience through new eyes, and
I’m glad we went, but I have to tell you, we’ve opened
Pandora’s box and there’s no shoving it all back in
now. The girls have already asked when we can go to see another
“Movie theatre movie”.

Um, spring break?


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