These are the times you probably would have been better off sticking the kids in front of the telly and opening a bottle of wine. Less tears. Literally, in my case.
We had decided to take the Bombshell, the Mop and Baldy Baby to see our first ever 3D film: the new Pixar film 'Brave'.
I was so confident of a winner weekend that I had already purchased a cool Brave diary for girls from Australia Post, ready to give to the Bombshell after all the gushing thankyous I expected for being such a good mum. [Seriously, Australia Post, whoever is in charge of your 'impulse item marketing' deserves a hefty pay rise. Every time I go in there to buy a 60c stamp I spend $20 on books and random gifts.]
We were all settled in with our boxes of popcorn and slightly daggy 3D glasses. During the adverts and previews the Bombshell kept shrieking wildly every time a star or sparkle (or car) came shooting out of the screen. I was torn between smiling indulgently at her (it was pretty cool) and wanting to hiss at her to be quiet.
|This photo now belongs to Weekend Notes.|
After about 20 minutes of previews and adverts though, the novelty was wearing off and she had started with the 'when is the movie going to start?'
'Moooovie', agreed the Mop, although she was clearly more interested in the popcorn.
Now, there is always a baddie in kids films. I get that - they are necessary for the plot. A scary witch, an evil mastermind, a fluffy teddybear.
Or an enormous, snarling, man-eating bear.
I vaguely remembered the brochure had warned that there may be 'some scary scenes'. This disclaimer was also repeated on the advertising at the cinema and at the start of the film.
But seriously? Who ever pays attention to disclaimers? Smoking causes cancer, sure, but 'parental guidance recommended?' Whatever.
Turns out my kids don't like bears.
'I'm scared, Mum,' the Bombshell told me after about 5 minutes when a giant bear ate someone's leg off.
'You'll be fine,' I told her. Nice one mum.
Not much later, there were more bears. The Bombshell buried her head in her hands, and said something to me. Her words were muffled by all the screaming from the screen.
'What?' I asked, helping myself to her popcorn.
'I want to go home,' she pleaded.
'Are you kidding, it just started. No'. Nice work, Shannon. Awesome parenting.
We made her sit there, sobbing, for an hour before I remembered that at age three my parents had taken me to see ET. I watched it from between my fingers, peeking through the gap between the seats in front of me. I had nightmares for a decade of a crusty, white alien and those guys in the big suits busting through the window.
Then I saw the Mop, standing in front of me. Peeking at the screen through the gap in between two chairs, her eyes enormous and worried, and suddenly I saw decades of nightmares about bears. Untold psychiatry bills: 'they wouldn't take me hoooooome'.
We don't even have bears in Australia but I doubted that particular argument would be worth much at 2am when trying to console a terrified preschooler.
So we cut and ran.
My husband grabbed the two older girls and led them, whimpering out of the movie. Meanwhile I had to bundle the baby back into the car seat, where she immediately started screaming, and collect all the jackets and water bottles and other accoutrements that come with taking three kids to the movies. Oh, and shovel as much popcorn in my mouth as I could. What? It cost us $13!
Then the complaints from the nearby patrons started.
'Imagine bringing a baby to the movies,' hissed the couple in front of us.
'Sit down!' came a call from two rows back.
'Waaaaaaaaaa', screamed Baldy Baby, sitting on a puddle of popcorn that the Mop had tipped in her car seat.
So I bolted, thinking of my poor, inconsolable, terrified daughters. And was confronted with...
two little girls, doing hand stands and running merrily around the foyer.
I had planned on a family dinner after the movies, but for some reason Hubby was in a less than chipper mood, so we placed an order for takeaway.
We spent the next ten minutes watching the kids ride motorbikes and pretend to shoot things in Timezone. So proud.
Always read the disclaimer. It might save you some hassles.
* I did end up writing a review of the movie for my other gig, Weekend Notes. Not quite sure how the film ends, but I can't let that stop me.