Friday, June 22, 2012

Let's Go To the Movies

I have always loved going to the movies. I can remember how excited I was when my mom would grab her "Big Purse" and fill it with contraband treats for the theater. I even remember one time my mom packed up lunches, complete with sandwiches wrapped in wax paper and Town Club pops. I've always thought it would be a blast if Abby shared my love of movies on the big screen - we could spend the summers hopping from theater to theater, and munching on popcorn. The thing is, Abby has had such a fear of big places, loud noises, and the dark that we always figured a movie theater would be torture for her. We've batted the idea around from time to time, but I've always chickened out - worried that she wouldn't be able to handle it, and not wanting to traumatize her.

Today the movie "Brave" opened in theaters, which I'm sure you knew if you have a child under the age of 14, or if you love anything Pixar creates. Since I fall into both of those categories, I've been looking forward to this. One of my friends had mentioned wanting to see it, so I was thrilled about having someone to go with - assuming that Jason wasn't really into the whole Scottish Lass meets computer animation genre. I had hoped that we could go this evening, but it didn't work out for her. Then, a couple of days ago I got a message from her letting me know that a group of friends were taking their kids to see it this afternoon, and she wondered if I could go. My first thought (and response) was, "No." Jason was swamped with work, and there was no one to watch Abby.

Yesterday as I was talking it over with Jason, I suddenly got teary. Not because I wasn't going to be able to go - that would be childish. I was upset because it seemed this was one more fun thing Abby would miss out on because of some of her struggles. After crying all over Jason he looked at me like I'd lost my mind and very simply said, "Then take her." Huh? "If it doesn't work you guys leave - it's only money."

Well, huh. He had a point.

I quickly sent a note to my friend letting her know that I'd changed my mind and that Abby and I would be joining them. Jason was right, what was I being so uptight about? Why wasn't I giving her a chance? If anytime would work to try out a movie, it would be when so many of her good buddies were going. So, from there I set about getting her ready for her first film experience.

First we talked it up big. We told her that her friends would be going and that she would get to go to the Movies!!! I also had her watch the trailer for the film several times (Thank you Youtube), and she got so into it that she took over the iPad and watched every one of them - several times. At this point she was so excited to go see Princess Merida. In fact, those were the first words out of her mouth this morning.

This trend could catch on - don't you think?
She was thrilled to see her friends. Check. She wanted to watch the redheaded princess ride her horse. Check. Now....what to do about the loud noise? I thought about that one and wondered if I should bring some headphones, but thinking that might confuse her I got out my knitting needles and some lovely bright red yarn and made her some "Magical Movie Mufflers" a.k.a. earmuffs. I told her that these were magical and that when the movie got too loud they would help make it softer. She loved her "muffers" so sound was taken care of. Check. I glossed over the whole "big dark room" thing and focused on the fact that we would get to pick big comfy chairs to sit in, and we were off.

I also happened to mention the popcorn, so when we walked in the theater she wanted to know when we'd get that great big tub. Soon she was fixed up and ready to go. As soon as we got to the open door of our theater though, she put the breaks on, but that didn't turn out to be such a problem - thanks to my great friends. They grabbed my stuff while I grabbed Abby. I carried her down the aisle while she covered her ears, but as soon as she saw the legos dancing on the screen, and the other kids in their seats, she couldn't wait to join them. I was blown away when she promptly climbed up in her booster seat, grabbed the popcorn for her lap, and started stuffing her face as she watched the previews. Was it really going to be this easy?

Too busy getting into the popcorn to look at Mom!

She took to theater movies like a natural. Sure, she was a little loud when she would try to repeat the lines the actors gave, and there was that one point when the first song of the movie played that she handed me her popcorn, climbed down from her chair and said, "I've got to dance!"- which she promptly did, but overall she was awesome. I couldn't believe it, and I have to admit I felt rather bad that I was willing to count her out because I thought she couldn't handle it.

With about 15 minutes left of the film she kept telling me to "go to the car and drive home." It seems that she had found her independent legs and had no more need of me. In the end we were able to lure her out of the theater (after she ran to the front and plopped herself down next to some poor guy that had been sitting by himself). As I told her how proud I was of her, she chatted about going to see another movie, and I promised her that we would - that maybe next time we would take Dada with us. She thought that would be great!

Once again I've learned not to underestimate my amazing little girl. It looks like I'll need to start looking around for my own version of the "Big Purse", because I hear there's some great movies coming out soon, and we've got lost time to make up for.
Finally I got her attention for a "Cheese!"
Trying out her "muffers" while the previews got going.
She didn't need them the whole movie, but periodically
she would ask for them when things got a bit loud.

It was an added bonus that the movie was in 3D. Good thing
glasses aren't a problem for Abby.


  1. That's awesome!! Love the "muffers!" We went to see Brave yesterday morning, too. It was actually a free, sensory-friendly (lower volume, some lights on) showing for families of children with special needs, sponsored by a local financial planning firm. I'm so glad it went well for you! Sammi's usually okay in the movies with the sound, but not a concerts or plays, so I've been toying with getting her a pair of sound-muffling headphones.

    1. Thanks Becca! I was so happy with how she did. The headphones sound like a great idea! We haven't found some that would work with Abby because her head is so small. I'm sure they make them for little ones, but we haven't done much research. We took her to a movie on Sunday, and when it got loud she asked for them - I think it is a comfort just to have them on, even if they don't do a whole lot to muffle the sound.

      That's great that they had a sensory friendly environment - what a great thing!