Mikes Life: Watching movies with young kids
My son was only a few weeks old, and he was lying in my lap, doing what babies at that age do, which is, well, not much, unless it’s expelling bodily fluids.
My wife came in the room and asked what we were doing. “Oh, just watching ‘Pulp Fiction,’” I said.
My wife, still running strong off of a pregnancy that lasted, in my estimation, 43 months, seemed somewhat incredulous that I would subject our son to one of the most graphic movies cinema has seen. “Relax,” I said, “it’s on TBS. Everything’s dubbed.” Just as this happened, Vincent shot Marvin in the face.
My wife did not seem pleased with my choice. The truth of the matter, though, was that Parker was not watching the movie at all but rather staring at the ceiling fan. And, even if he had stared at the movie intently, it wouldn’t really have mattered, as babies that age have all of the movie absorption of a brick. I would also like to point out that the remote control was all the way on the other side of the room, and who was I to disrupt ceiling fan starin’ time?
This memory was stirred when a friend of mine, the talented and funny Aiken Standard sports reporter Jeremy Timmerman, made a comment that he and his wife and their new baby were going to have their first movie night. They opted for “The Lorax,” a fine choice by my standards. Someone else posted that they should have gone with “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” also a fine cinematic choice.
I think it’s nice, however, that they opted for a family friendly movie, one that can forge that memory for them at least, and they can share with their son as he gets older. I, for one, will probably skip sharing with my son the fact that his first movie was “Pulp Fiction,” and I think we should all agree to keep that between us.
With both of my kids, I did make the first theater experience one that was for the memory banks. They were both about 3 when I took them. For my daughter, it was “Finding Nemo,” because nothing excites a small child like the concept of one of her parents being eaten by a barracuda.
Allie actually went to two movies when my wife was pregnant. When Allie was about the size of a strawberry, we took our nieces to see “Toy Story 2.” When she was about the size of a grapefruit, we went and saw “The Tigger Movie.” We did this because my wife turned to me one day and said, “There’s a new Winnie the Pooh movie. Let’s take Allie to see it.” I wanted to point out to her that she would not actually be able to see the movie seeing as how our daughter was inside my wife at the moment, but I wisely opted not to try and reason with a very pregnant wife and simply said, “Let’s go.”
Allie almost got to sort-of-see a third movie, “Space Cowboys.” My wife had gone in to be induced and, for whatever reason, it didn’t work, and they discharged her. It was 11 days later. Eleven. As in more than 10. You put a woman in the hospital with the expectation of leaving with a baby and then send her home for a week and a half. Not a happy woman. My wife had decided that Allie was never going to be born and would simply grow up inside her. As we were getting ready for the matinee, my wife came out of the bathroom and said, “My water broke.” I replied, “But the movie starts in 20 minutes.” I quickly responded, “Ha! Joking! Hospital. Now.” Good save, brain.
My son never got the privilege of seeing movies while my wife was pregnant, mainly because we had a 2-year-old at the time, and watching a movie with a 2-year-old is like watching one with a hyperactive Pekingese. We waited until he was 3, and I took him to see “Curious George.” When we got there, the movie was about to start. The theater was almost full, and the only seats available were in the very front row. We sat staring straight up at the screen. He lasted about 10 minutes before he climbed in my lap and watched it that way, perhaps because that was how he watched “Pulp Fiction.”
My kids have now progressed to where we can watch not just kid movies but super cool awesome action flicks, too. The last movie I took them to was “The Avengers,” which is the most superheroest movie of all time. I hope Jeremy and his family will continue to enjoy time together as a family watching movies, as it really is a great way to spend a few hours with your family. There is no doubt there will be plenty of great kid movies he can take his son to over the next few years. But he has a very small window where he can enjoy such cinematic accomplishments as “Pulp Fiction” and “T2” with his son.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama.