Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cineaste: Take Two

Last night we took Jarrah to the movies for the second time. And I wanted to take a moment to gloat that it was an unqualified success. Ever since our flight to China, when I happened to see a trailer for it on the laptop where we were watching March of the Penguins, I've been itchin' to see Happy Feet. I love tap dancing, and I love Stevie Wonder, and throw in a cute baby penguin and it really was a trifecta of deliciousness. So we had this idea that maybe Jarrah might actually want to see it, too.

We've brought her to the movies once before to see Cars and it went okay. She demanded to wander a few times but between David and I we saw a whole movie. Now, of course, it's been several months and Jarrah has a whole lot of staring-at-screens practice under her belt. So we packed up her booster chair and a lot of snacks, and when we got to the mall, we bought her a great big colorful lollipop like you see children holding in cartoons. We knew she didn't know how to use a lollipop, but we figured, how hard could it be for the Copycat Queen?

The movie was incredibly loud, and for once I was glad. We also sat down in front, away from the serious moviegoers. So far, so good. I dashed out during the preview to get a drink for David and me, and bought Jarrah a White Cherry Icee on a whim. She likes slushees, and the lack of color was appealing in case it ended up all over her shirt.

When I returned, the movie was just starting and David whispered that Jarrah had been so enthused about the trailers that she shouted "Oh nooooo!" when they finished. I handed her the Icee, a bunch of singing penguins emerged onscreen, and we were off and running.

The movie was long for animation: 1 hour, 48 minutes. I want to brag that for at least an hour, Jarrah was a model viewer. She chewed her straw to a nub, kept her eyes on the screen, and occasionally shouted "Uh oh!" when our hero, Mumble, was faced with a particularly hairy challenge, but that didn't seem to bother anybody.

Around the hour mark, she started to fidget, so we pulled out the big gun: the lollypop. Readers, here's where we made our fatal error. First, she wanted to hold the lolly by the candy part. Then she wanted to rub the entire surface over her face, turning it blue. But the real delight came when she felt moved to "share" her lolly by reaching over and pointing it into my air space as I cowered away from the sticky, slimy surface the size of a butter plate, whispering, "No, thanks!" At one point, she accidently rubbed my retreating arm with the thing, and I gasped "Argh!" which she obviously thought was great fun, because then she wiped the lolly up and down my arm and side several times, just for the pleasure of watching me squirm and yelp. I was about to get furious but then the whole thing struck me as so absurd that I cracked up instead, so hard that I worried I was the one disturbing people.

Soon enough, we were able to divert her attention, hide the lolly, and replace it with an apple and some Cheerios, both acceptable substitutes evidently because we heard no more about it. Occasionally, she'd lean her head into one of our laps and gaze up at us, but mostly she concentrated on the screen, and that's what we all did until the last frame of the closing credits. Well, that's a slight exaggeration. Once the credits started, David and I watched them, and we let her out to dance in the aisles, much to the amusement of departing viewers.

We were really quite triumphant, I tell you. The movie was cute, rollicking good fun. David and I love going to the movies, and we're hoping that so much progress in just two visits means we are going to have a pliable convert on our hands. To make it a bit sweeter, we got in just a few days under the wire for free admission for children under two. Score!


Unknown said...

Yeah Baby! All of y'all are going to L-O-V-E love Charlotte's Web!

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous! We had to ditch less than half-way through.

I am so glad for you guys, though!