W's First Half-Movie

On Friday, W woke up early, and I was too tired after breakfast to go immediately on our 1 mile walk to get the paper. A week or so ago the WSJ started being delivered to the house (actually to the newspaper spot on the mailbox) rather than being delivered with the mail. Since we no longer have to wait until after 2pm to get the daily paper, I've updated our daily routine. We eat breakfast, then I put W in the stroller (both of us still in pajamas, although I cover him in a blanket), and we walk to get the paper. I usually walk all the way to the end of the street and back to make it an even 1 mile walk, but sometimes I'll just do the 1/2 mile to the mailbox and back.

But back to Friday. I was too tired to contemplate pushing the stroller even 1/2 mile uphill through gravel, so I decided to pop in a video, and The Little Mermaid was handy. I figured that would buy me 20 minutes of lying on the sofa until I could rouse myself for the morning walk. But to my surprise, W WATCHED THE ENTIRE MOVIE. Yup, all 83 minutes. I'm not sure he followed the story, but he sure liked watching the mermaids and fish and boats and all that. He was a little scared at the Sea Witch parts, so I let him sit on my lap. Otherwise, he pretty much sat in his little rocking chair and watched attentively on his own. This was the longest he'd ever watched anything. We usually don't have the TV on during the day, and he rarely lasts through an entire episode of Sesame Street before getting bored. I guess Sesame Street isn't as riveting as The Little Mermaid.

Well, "Family Day" for the Virginia Film Festival was on Saturday. I'd considered taking W to some of the events, since everything was free, but had originally decided he probably wouldn't be that into it. But once I saw him sit through AN ENTIRE DISNEY FILM I figured he might like to try doing that in the theatre. The free kids' film was Beauty and the Beast, and it was exactly the same length as The Little Mermaid (83 minutes).

We got there a little bit early, as the girl in the box office advised when I checked in there on Friday evening when we were downtown for other events. I was very cranky to see that the line stretched about a block from the theater, but we did wind up getting in and finding a decent seat. I put W in my lap so he'd be high enough to see the screen. I hadn't really paid much attention the program, but once we were there, I learned that the movie would not start right away. We listened to the local high school troupe perform a few numbers from the musical. This was fine, W seemed moderately interested, but he wasn't nearly as into this choral performance as he is into listening to local bands (rock, swing, jazz; as long as it's got a beat, W likes it). While we were waiting for all this to start, I explained to W what was coming up, and that once the singing was done the lights were going to go off, etc., so he would be prepared. I had read in a magazine that someone's kid was frightened when the lights went off in the theater the first time they went to the movies, so I figured I'd try to head that off.

W was fine as the lights went dim and the movie started. He was pretty interested in the movie for a reasonable amount of time, but then grew restless. I let him get down off my lap and stand on the floor and look around, but with nowhere to go that didn't last long. I tried sitting him in different positions on my lap, but when he just wouldn't settle down, I asked him if he was done watching the movie, and he signed that he was, so we left.

Once we got out to the hall, I checked my watch and it was 50 minutes since the program started. I suspect that if the movie had started right away, he might have made it all the way through, pulled along by the excitement of the film. But because of all the singing that happened up front, the movie had just barely finished its exposition before he started losing his focus. I hadn't seen Beauty and the Beast in many years, and I've got to say, from the part we did stay for, it was much duller than The Little Mermaid. So I'm not surprised that W didn't want to sit through it. Of course he's not going to sit through a dull movie. He doesn't even finish chewing a bite of food if something better appears on the table-- he'll actually stop chewing what's in his mouth, use his fingers to remove it, and pick up the more enticing bit of food. That's what I call living in the moment. Life is too short to even finish chewing the food in your mouth, if there is better food available. Spit out the old food and move on immediately. There would probably be fewer overweight people if everyone had that attitude.

So W went to his first movie in the theater, but I'm not sure it really counts since he didn't watch the whole movie. But I still think it was a worthwhile trip since he got to experience the whole dark-theater-surrounded-by-people thing, and he didn't freak out. He took it in stride, and seemed to enjoy himself, at least until he got bored and restless. So that was the big activity for us this weekend.

Oh, well, on Friday night we did another Film Festival event-- there was a place showing a selection of student films projected on the walls and the floor of a rented storefront downtown. I kept W in his stroller for that, but he did like watching those films. It was more of a "gallery" experience than a "movie" experience, though. They were short student films, and as you'd expect they were more "concept" pieces than plot-oriented, which is actually good for a toddler who is too young to follow a storyline. Plus some had interesting visuals, like close-ups of people's faces covered with glitter, and another had a tire painted red, white, and blue rolling through the woods and over bridges and whatnot.

T was sick this whole time, so he stayed home. Usually weekends are "family time" but W and I just continued on our regular weekday routine (mama and baby have our various activities, and only see daddy for dinner and bathtime) clear through today. Hopefully T will feel better soon, he's had an awful lot of bedrest (pretty much since Friday night), and I could use a little break myself. We've got new sitter we're trying out on Tuesday night. She is an adult, so hopefully we're back in business for being able to go to concerts and things on weeknights. Our neighbor in high school who sits W needs to be home by 9pm on school nights, so we have been pretty limited in going out since our last adult sitter moved to NC at the end of the summer. Hopefully the new girl will work out. I've got her lined up for 1x per week, perhaps more come spring when it's time to work in the yard again and we could use some daytime-sitting.