Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Best Movie I Didn't See

Four tickets to see "Bolt"on Christmas Day: $41 and change (those cheesy 3D glasses apparently give Muvico leverage to ratchet up the price.)

Spending the next hour and a half at first comforting my three year-old, who found the blasting noises and sudden darkness of the theater petrifying, and then playing with her in a deserted shopping mall plaza until Barry and Jacob emerged from the movie an hour and a half later: well, I'd say "priceless" if this were a Mastercard commercial. But I am pretty sure we paid by Visa.

I really did enjoy my evening not at the movies with Rebecca, though. Even the part when she clung to me, whimpering, "I'm scary, Mommy!" (Maybe even especially that part.)

While I shush-shushed in her ear and petted her silky, tangled curls, I realized just how rare it s, these days, that I get to comfort her like that. Sure, when she was a baby, shush-shushing, rocking, patting her back and telling her everything was okay was part of our daily repetoire. (Infancy can indeed me a scary experience; you never know when suddenly your diaper will become wet, or a painful bubble will form in your tiny tummy.)

She's a pretty tough toddler, though,; when she falls and hurts her knee, she will tell me, "Ow! Mommy, I hurt myself!" But when I offer to kiss it and make it better, she usually says, cheerfully, "No thanks!" and goes back to playing.

And Rebecca rarely is scared. This is mainly because Barry roars at and startles at our kids as part of his horsing around routine; they love it and beg him, "Scare me again, Daddy!" His impressions of enraged dinosaurs and lions hungry for a fleshy little arm or leg to nibble on have trained them to enjoy the little flutters of pretend-fear. They were the youngest and least frightened children on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disney last year. But, to be fair to Rebecca, this ride didn't show a cute white puppy-dog being zapped by lasers or a little girl's father being kidnapped by terrorist-inspired bad guys.

So this time along with Rebecca--first calming her fears, then cheerfully exploring the closed-for-Christmas Shops at Sheridan Plaza while waiting for "Bolt" to let out--was a pretty special experience.

We did a lot of window shopping; "Look! I see a Mommy!" Rebecca said, pointing at a poster of a bikini-clad woman in the window of a wax salon. "I don't think that's a Mommy, honey," I muttered under my breath. ("Unless she'd had extensive stretch mark removal surgery," I added even more quietly.) And I taught Rebecca how to spell the words "thank you" by letting her point to every letter on a trash can about nine thousand times. "Yes, that's a 'T.' Yes, that's an 'H.' Yes, that's an 'A.' This trash can is very polite."

When the boys finally finished the flick, Rebecca ran over to them and hugged them as if she hadn't seen them in weeks. Jacob was eager to tell us all about the super-powered dog and his funny animal friends. I asked Barry if the movie was any good--meaning, in parent-to-parent language, was it bearable to watch the way "Wall-E" was or was it more like "Horton Hears a Who"? He shrugged and said it wasn't too bad, adding, "Too bad you guys missed it. So what did you do, for all that time while we were in the movies?"

"Nothing," I said, "absolutely nothing. But it was a lot of fun. Sometimes it's fun to do nothing, just us girls."

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