Leave the Baby, Take the Popcorn

movietheater

by guest blogger Renee James, humorist and blogger

Let me start by saying I had no idea. But when I googled “mommy taking baby to movies,” the search returned 240,000,000 results. (Fun Fact: When I googled “mommy reading to baby,” I got 23,500,000 hits. Shall I go on?)

Why would I google “mommy taking baby to movies”? Well, I wanted to see if the baby who cried and fussed through 15 minutes or more of Gone Girl on Saturday night was an anomaly, or if this circumstance is a fresh hell of the 21st century. Turns out it’s the latter.

Can we take just a few seconds to examine this? A mother, a baby—more than likely a firstborn, with all the attendant awe and fascination that makes every single moment of new parenthood precious. That magical pocket of time when it strikes you that no one has ever been a mother before you and no one has ever given birth to a child as gifted and talented as yours—I’ve been there. I get that. I do. I don’t get this.

Does anyone remember when we called becoming a parent “life-changing”? Accompanying the unconditional and overwhelming love one feels for a child, parents made inevitable adjustments—some might even call them sacrifices—to accommodate the “new normal.” In other words, it ain’t all about you anymore. It ain’t even all about you and your partner. There is an entirely new person in the house who will require change, compromises, and decisions. Someone who elicits emotions and actions you may find absolutely unfamiliar and, truthfully, not entirely delightful, at least some of the time.

Maybe that “life-changing” notion has gone the way of the VCR, at least in terms of entertainment options. A number of websites now help new moms find ways to celebrate the miracle of life—yes, I’m talking newborns here—and fully embrace their new roles as mother, all without ever having to miss the new Ben Affleck film in the theater. (Note: By contrast, I couldn’t find any “daddy and baby” movie sites.) Whether you want a kid-friendly theater with showings specifically for moms and babies or you choose to attend a movie any time of day or night, you can find one that suits you.

A couple of my favorite quotes and stories from the new mom advice sites I visited:

“My husband and I have made this our ‘date afternoon’ where we can take our son with us, but have fun and not have to worry about finding a sitter.” This is not a date. This is a family outing, which is lovely, but taking your baby to the movies with you is still a bad idea.

“I have been going since my son was 8 weeks old. He falls asleep, and I get to enjoy some grown-up time with my girlfriends.” If your newborn/pre-toddler/toddler son is with you, it’s not grown-up time. And taking him to movies with you is a bad idea.   

“We sure love our DVRs and Netflix, but refuse to give up on going to the theater.” Who said you had to give it up? Oh, boy. I can’t wait to see what else you refuse to give up. By the way, taking babies to movies is a bad idea.   

Or this:

“Even if you cannot find a mom and baby movie in your area, consider taking a risk on an 11 a.m. showing. The volume at the theater is much louder than any grunting or fussing that tiny babies do.” It wasn’t louder at Gone Girl last Saturday.

Look, I support mothers who nurse their babies in public and feel empathy for families flying with fussy babies. God bless and good luck to you. But please, please let the rest of us enjoy an evening of quiet in the movie theater. Do me a favor and google the word babysitter. Any questions?

Renee-JamesRenee A. James works at Rodale Inc. and also wrote an award-winning op-ed column for The Morning Call, the Allentown, PA, newspaper, for almost 10 years. Her essays were included in the humor anthology, 101 Damnations: A Humorists’ Tour of Personal Hells (Thomas Dunne Books, 2002), and are also found online at Jewish World Review and The Daily Caller. She invites you to Like her Facebook page, where she celebrates—and broods about—life on a regular basis, mostly as a voice in the crowd that shouts, “Really? You’re kidding me, right?” (or wants to, anyway), and she welcomes your suggestions, comments, and feedback to the mix.

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11 Responses to Leave the Baby, Take the Popcorn

  1. Nikki Lindqvist October 24, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Oh nooooo! Is that really the new thing?!? Yikes! I would have to demand my money back and leave the theater. Are people really so self-centered these days? That’s just crazy! What ever happened to common sense? Common courtesy?

  2. Donna in Delaware October 24, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    Yes Nikki, they are really that self-centered these days. I really don’t know what they are thinking! It’s quite maddening, and they think that it is cute. Nobody wants to see your baby anyway, especially in that setting! There is little respect these days. People only think of themselves and their little world. Good for you that you have a newborn, we are happy and proud for you that you had a wonderful delivery, and that you and your baby are healthy, but please, keep all of your pride to yourself when in a public venue that requires you NOT to disturb others. Try putting yourselves in other peoples places. If you were with your husband/boyfriend for a night out, maybe a romantic night out, would you want someone’s screaming infant or toddler interrupting that wonderful night? I don’t think so!

    Have some respect for others, and leave the kid with granny, or other relatives that you can trust, and give us all a break, maybe even yourself.

  3. Maria Luci October 24, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    LOL Donna, this made me laugh: “Nobody wants to see your baby anyway, especially in that setting!” So true!

  4. renee October 24, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    Thank thank thank you thank you. I hoped it wasn’t just me. The level of entitlement and yes, selfish behavior staggers. If you can afford two movie tickets and the accompanying snacks, you can afford a sitter. And if you can’t, trade off “movie nights” with another couple who has a baby. Or take turns seeing movies with friends, while one of you stays home. The options are endless.

    I saw one of the men in the theater ask for his money back and the management returned it – no questions asked. (Apparently, he left the room and complained to the management while it was happening to no avail.) I guess this must happen a lot. Crying baby = refund.

    I just don’t understand it. In my experience, everyone – including me and my kids – was happier when we all got a break from each other from time to time.

  5. Elizabeth October 24, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    I agree!!! I resent crying babies and fussy toddlers in the movie theater!

    But worse than noise, I squirm for the first few moments in a theater anyway because of all the reports of bedbugs and germs, and other delights of shared upholstery….I can’t imagine bringing an infant into such a dirty place!

  6. Valerie October 24, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    It is not just about movie theaters – although I am not sure if I am surprised or not surprised. I don’t remember when it all changed – and infants took over the world. When we lived in Brooklyn there was this fabulous, inexpensive, no reservation, restaurant in our neighborhood. We loved to go early because after 7pm there was always a line and a long wait ——— until, the infants took over. This restaurant literally became a kids cafeteria and stroller took over the little bit of room that was left in the restaurant. It was just horrible. Then it happened to all the restaurants…….it didn’t matter how chic they were, parents in NYC/Brooklyn just took over. Honestly – it just ruined eating out. But what amazed me the most was the attitude – “I procreate, therefore I am the most important person in the world and my both my child and I deserve this time out”, “oh and your ruined evening is completely unimportant because you choose to leave your kid at home or (horror) not have any”. Phew….glad I got that off my chest. Now everyone tell me how horrible I am – I am ready!

  7. renee October 24, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Okay – Elizabeth – you’re ,making me really nervous now. I sort of forgot about the germy thing. I’m not leaving the house without hand sanitizer. : )

    Val – you know I love you. : ) The “take-over” as you call it seems to be in full sway and I simply don’t understand why it left common sense in its wake.

  8. Debbie October 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I thought going OUT to the movies was the reward you received when the baby was old enough, that you felt comfortable leaving her with someone. It’s just selfish to infringe upon someone else’s movie viewing experience with your fussing baby, toddler, child, adolescent.

    Well stated, as always, Renee. Thanks for the chuckle.

  9. judi hendricks October 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Movie theaters, restaurants, concerts, plays…it’s like they have radar. Anywhere there are two or more adults trying to enjoy a conversation, a story, music, food, whatever…there they are. Recently I was in a wine bar when two women and a baby invaded. I was afraid it was just me being a curmudgeon. Thanks for articulating the problem.

  10. renee October 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Debbie..Judi….oh, my. You’re missing the point! These babies are special! They’re spectacular! They’re perfectly behaved! If they are somehow infringing on your evening it’s only because you have yet to recognize how wonderful and singularly magnificent they are!

    Oh wait – wait – wait – a minute. That’s insane.

    I always wonder about parents who somehow think and behave as if their child is a little, tiny adult. What’s that about? (Hint: I think it’s about them.)

  11. Donna in Delaware October 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    MARIA LUCI, I’m so happy I was able to make you laugh? By the way, missed you at the apple festival in Kutztown in September. Wanted to meet you.

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