It’s been awhile since Mia and I had a movie day date. February was a busy month for all of us. With work commitments and visiting my family in Saint Louis, it wasn’t in our plan until this weekend, a month later. Ever since Mia and I saw a movie trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 3 when we watched The Grinch, I knew I wanted to take her to see it too. This morning, as per usual, we woke up, had breakfast and got ready for the day. Little did Mia know while she was eating her toast that mommy was buying movie tickets on her phone. We love that our town’s movie theater had a kid-friendly auditorium they call Screenplay, but it was always sold out anytime I got ready to buy tickets. We hit the jackpot this morning though because there were a few seats left. I immediately bought the tickets and hurried to get myself ready also.
Once I was fully dressed and ready to go, I told Mia we were going to leave the house for a couple hours and spend time together while her dad/my husband was finishing up home work for his grad class. Then, because I was too excited and couldn’t wait any longer, I told her we were going to the movies. She was shocked but incredibly pumped to go see her movie. Got her in the car and we headed to the movie theater in town. Nothing more amazing and heartfelt than hearing your daughter scream out “mommy and mia day!” from the back seat. Now, because she’s only 4 years old and isn’t yet accustomed to movie watching etiquette I had a conversation with her on the way there about what I was expecting from her and how she had to use her indoor movie voice while it was on so not to disturb everyone else in the theater. We had only ever watched kid movies in the regular auditorium which this advice was heavily ingrained to her. This is still new to the both of us and I still get anxious bringing a toddler places where being quiet is preferred, but we are both learning as we go. And like any parent taking their kiddos to places, you always have other tricks in your back pocket to ensure a successful day, wherever that place is.
Little did I know how life changing this Screenplay auditorium was. I mean… kiddos get to play in their indoor playground 30 minutes before the movie starts. 30 whole minutes of play time. Let me repeat that for you… 30 MINUTES OF PLAY TIME. That’s plenty of time to get my mommy jitters out and for the little one to also get her extra energy out! When Mia realized what all was in this auditorium she was in shock and had already forgotten all about the kid’s combo meal we ordered at the concession stand. And she looooooves her popcorn! Before we could even get to our reserved seats (yes – reserved seats are also life changing people!) she headed straight to the play area near the front of the theater. I had to stealthily put my bag, her jacket and kid’s combo meal down on our seats and head straight for the play area. At first glance, there was a theater attendant supervising everything in sight. There was also a sign for parents to read indicating that everything covering the play area required kiddos to have their parents or guardian supervising them as well and noting that shoes are off limits in these areas, socks required. Phew! Glad Mia decided to wear socks today (ha!). You could either place the kiddos shoes on your seats or in the handy dandy shelving they offer near the play area. Another bonus? they had a clock counting down the 30 minutes kiddos had to play. I personally enjoyed the dance party portion of this count down as they played teen pop songs I recognized and also liked.
You could find play area toys everywhere so really 30 minutes wouldn’t feel like a life time. Mia personally loved the light blocks and kept building them up for her to slide down and knock down. She wasn’t into the giant slides which are located on the very left side of the play area. I thought they were more for older kiddos anyway so I was okay with this choice. There were a couple of little kiddos Mia’s age in the play area as well but they were very much independent, like my kiddo (not sure if that’s an only child thing or what). I kept updating Mia on the time countdown to get her mentally prepared for the movie to begin. Finally, the time came for everyone to get back to their seats. The music turned off and the lights were dimmed down. Mia discovered the button functions which reclined her seat as well as the heated seat component. This part I had to remind her over and over again not to mess with the entire movie. She had the kid’s combo on her lap and started going for the bag of fruit snacks while new movie trailers were playing. At one point she turned to me and asked if her movie was going to play. That made me giggle a bit. Such an innocent toddler she is. Finally, How To Train Your Dragon 3 started playing and the emotional mom in me held it in but was super stoked for Mia to begin watching…
Not going to lie, she didn’t focus on the movie for the entire 1 hour and 44 minutes. There were moments of disruption: kept pressing the chair recliner & heated seats button, couldn’t decide if she wanted to keep her popcorn on her seat or on mine, and at one point she told me she had to go to the bathroom which was a false alarm (she held it in for the entire thing with no accidents), needed a tissue for her nose (mommy win, I had some in my bag!) and lastly, she wanted to sit on my lap for a second. The movie did eventually end. Luckily, I had already put Mia’s shoes on before the movie started so we could get up, grab our belongings and head directly to the bathroom. We had to make another pit stop right next to the movie poster of Dumbo because Mia is super excited to see it at the end of this month, I am too.
On the drive back home Mia told me that she really liked the movie and seeing it with me and I might have cried a little. It’s fine. I’m going to hold on to these memories forever with this blog post. Any day I ever feel like a failure of a mom I’ll re-read this blog and remind myself instantly that I’m doing it right. And that she loves her mama.
Note: this was only a successful toddler and mama outing because I was super prepared for the worst. Here’s my life hack of how we both survived this movie date:
1.) We ate brunch at home so we could focus on the movie and not end up hungry.
2.) Instead of a hand bag or shoulder bag I brought a back pack so I could be hands-free.
3.) Went over movie theater etiquette en route to the movie theater as a friendly reminder of all expectations.
4.) Before heading in the Screenplay auditorium, we took a pre-movie bathroom break and reminded Mia not to go overboard with her drink during the movie so she wouldn’t miss any parts of it.
5.) Wore comfy clothes and socks (important for the play area in the auditorium).
6.) Had tissues in my bag for emergencies which came in handy today.
7.) Put her shoes back on once play time was over so leaving after the movie ended was easier.
8.) Post-movie bathroom break.
I already cannot wait for our next movie date together!