Last night I took Nathan to see the screening of Monsters University. I received a press pass which originally gave me three extra RSVPs then a follow-up email struck it down to only one extra guest. I thought that I was going to be able to take my whole family, but since I was only allowed one child, I went with Nathan. This was no easy decision. Just because he’s seven doesn’t mean he’s any easier to handle in public. He’s still a loud, full-throttle kid who loves how his voice echoes through crowds. I don’t have a child who knits quietly in line. I have a child who spent most of our line time playing his Nintendo 3DS and narrating every move he makes with the gentle whispers of a WWF announcer bleating, “LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUUMBLE!”
After we waded through a packed crowd and I had shelled out $$$ so he could have a drink and snacks, we found some press seats. There were a few pre-movie games to get the crowd going. The announcer did a lot of “let’s make some noiiiiiise!” style crowdwork then started choosing kids. Nathan waved his hands and screamed like he was in Miss Saigon trying to get on a helicopter to get out of Vietnam before the Viet Cong take over. He wasn’t chosen for the first game and his deflated and started sulking and grunting. So when the announcer said it was time for another game, only this time for parent-child teams, I screamed so hard lest I deal with Mr. GrumpyPantsWhyDidIThinkThisWasAGoodIdeaDearGodIMakeBadDecisions. I would have thrown my panties at the announcer, but my large underwear would have unfurled over the row in front of me like those parachute games kids play and it would be a very dark day in Seattle.
Luckily, the guy chose us and I was yelling, “Hallelujarrrrr!” while shuffling this kid toward the front of the theater. The announcer lined us all up and went down the line asking us our names. He pointed the microphone at Nathan and asked him his name.
“My name’s Nathan!”
“Okay, Nathan. What’s your mom’s name?”
“Um,” he paused. “I think it’s ‘Mommy.'”
The crowd laughed and the announcer went back to the beginning of the line. The game was to make the scariest pose and after everyone had made their scary pose, the audience would vote.
The announcer went down the line. We were next to last, so I saw that none of the other teams were as awesome as we were. “Okay Nathan,” I yelled over the crowd, “when it’s our turn, I’m going to lift you up and you make the scariest face you can!” He nodded.
When it was the team right before us, the woman lifted her little daughter over her head and the crowd cheered. SHE JACKED OUR IDEA! She heard me yell to my kid and stole my idea! I didn’t have any time to mean-mug this idea thief, so when it came to us, I still raised my squiggly boy and the audience cheered weakly. We didn’t win, but got two Monsters University markers which was enough for Nathan to feel like a winner and it was enough for me to breathe a sigh of relief.
As we made our way back to the seats, I saw how place was packed and realized why the other teams had done so well, they were all part of the cheerleading squads which took up the first half the of theater. So of course, we would lose out to any of the teams that had the screaming banshee girls screeching for them. We were just two people–a boy and his mom who loved her kid so much she was willing to forsake any pride and dignity and make a fool of herself to make her son happy.
The movie itself was great. It’s a prequel but that knowledge didn’t affect enjoying this movie. I loved it. Nathan had some trouble sitting down for an hour and a half and it took a lot of work to keep him quiet during the movie. We’re still working on these things in general–the fidgeting, the overstimulation, on and and on. But I wanted him to see this because I knew he would remember the good parts of this evening.
We watch movies at home because it’s easy at home. It’s cheaper at home. I don’t have to worry about someone kicking the seat in front, or talking and saying, “IS IT OVER YET? OKAY NOW IT’S OVER. IT SOUNDS LIKE IT’S OVER.” I’m not spending $20 on a drink, trebuchet-bucket of popcorn. But I did all this because I love him. I love this monster. I love this monster so much I would do anything for him, even though some points of the evening, I wanted to either grab his hand and flee toward the car, or just run out of there by myself and bid Nathan farewell and tell him to enjoy his new family–AMC Theaters.
I told him he could have been better. He could have behaved better. But he did okay. On the way home, he said, “You’re awesome, Mommy. You’re not just awesome, you’re great! You have nice hair. I give it two thumbs up.”
Even though I wish I had heard that earlier, much earlier, I still appreciated the compliment because it was new for him to talk this way and I loved every word of it.