You were sitting right in front of me and I get that you probably wanted to go to the movies as badly as I did.
I get that you probably hadn’t been out of the house for weeks, or maybe months and needed the break. I share your desire to expose your child to new experiences and your willingness to teach her how to behave in public.
I’ll even give you the benefit of the doubt. Your adorable, somewhere between two and three year old curly-haired moppet might have surprised you in the past with her stellar behavior and attention span when you took her to see “Beauty and The Beast” or something else recently that was entirely kid friendly.
So you decided to bring her to a less kid-friendly show, although I’m positive you researched it before hand for adult content.
And yes, I smiled along with the rest of the audience when she cheered at exactly the right moment during the previews.
But seriously, I just have to ask. What were you thinking?
It should have been crystal clear after the first fifteen minutes of her delightful screams and joyful use of the reclining seat as a trampoline–as you tried unsuccessfully to make her sit down and be quiet–that you made a mistake. At that point I really did expect you to give up and take her out of the theater .
But you didn’t.
I’m not new to the parenting game. I had three small children at a time when going to the movies was the only chance to enjoy a beloved story on the big screen. If it was too difficult or expensive to employ a babysitter (and it frequently was), I simply did not see it. If I was lucky I might catch it a year or two later when a highly edited version was shown on television, but there was no DVD or In Demand option.
If I did take my children to see movies that were intended just for them, I waited until they were old enough to understand their behavior absolutely would have an impact on the people around them. And that it was the RIGHT thing to do, out of respect for others to sit quietly even if they didn’t want to. If they couldn’t do that, they simply didn’t go. And neither did I.
But apparently you don’t share my viewpoint on child rearing.
Trust me I’m not too old to be sensitive or fully understand your position, because I’m still there.
Decades after raising my own children, I’m now raising my grandson who is just a couple of years older than your daughter. He probably could have sat through the showing with me that night but I knew the storyline would be over his head and he would be bored. Therefore, I would have to split my focus between the movie and constant reminders for him to sit quietly. Even though I am pretty sure he would have.
But I needed the break.
I needed to be able to sit by myself for two hours without any other concerns besides getting lost in a story and holding the hand of my guy.
I was really looking forward to that movie. It had been almost a year since my husband and I had a “date night” at a time in our lives when every weekend should have been an opportunity for that.
I took a friend up on her kind offer to watch my child for me so I could really enjoy a rare night out.
I completely agree with the Broadway star who spoke out in defense of a mother of a disabled child who disrupted one of his performances. He applauded her for doing the right thing by bringing her child to an inclusive for all audiences, family friendly experience, and then for taking the bold step to leave when her child’s behavior had a negative impact on the experiences of others.
But you didn’t.
You didn’t remove your child until well over an hour had passed and I missed multiple pivotal moments of the story as I tried unsuccessfully to ignore your child’s screams and loud objections to your feeble attempts to make her behave.
Instead of following the story line I was wondering what would happen if I left the theater and asked about the management’s policy for dealing with disruptions…or perhaps requested a refund.
Parenting is hard.
And among the hardest things a parent must do is make the difficult choice to teach a child they do not get to rule the world around them while their parents (and everyone around them) helplessly stand by. In fact, this one parenting challenge is pivotal to ensuring our kids don’t grow up to be selfish brats but instead become responsible, considerate individuals who think of others first.
I will wait for the DVD to see what I missed.
Lover of reading, writing, sparkly things and whatever purrs, barks or flies. Former helicopter mom, co-dependent and enabler, I am addicted to walking, my family and my iWatch. Teacher by day and writer by night, I am clearly the one learning the most. Keeping it up until I get it right. Choosing joy one day at a time and sharing my journey so others can see why it might not be found if we don’t look for it. Thanks for stopping by!
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