A two-year-old’s first day at the movies

Last Sunday in New York was insanely hot, so my wife and I decided to take our two-year-old daughter to the movie theater for the first time.

We decided the safest bet was the Disney movie, Ratatouille, which was playing at 1:45PM in a nearby theater with stadium seating. It seemed a good fit — a kids movie and seats that’ll be high enough to let my daughter see over the seat in front of her without standing.

Who knew there was no such thing as a Sunday matinee? I didn’t, and I was more astounded that a movie ticket costs $10.25. Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve been to the movies, but ten bucks? I must be getting old. The consolation prize was that my daughter was free (no, I didn’t sneak her in).

We get a bag of popcorn (a small cost $5.50, a twice-the-size medium $6.00, no surprise there), and my wife insists on putting extra “butter” on it. I try to explain to her that it’s not butter. She knows, but she’s not one to be put off so easily. I grab an extra hundred napkins as a result.

We go into the movie theater, and my daughter is immediately apprehensive. It’s dark and LOUD — and the previews didn’t even start yet. We settle her down (giving her butter-flavored-stuff-covered-popcorn helps), and hope for the best.

When the previews get ready to start, things get even LOUDER (come on we’re not all deaf, does it have to be that loud?), and my daughter starts saying, ever so softly… “No… No…” As the sound gets louder, she gets louder. Certainly, she wasn’t quite ready for this.

I take her away from the blaring speakers and out into the hallway to give her a chance to settle down and get a little more acclimated with her surroundings. As soon as she’s out of the darkness, she falls back into her normal mode of operation — happy as a lark, running around, looking at everything, and talking to everyone.

Despite my best efforts to get her back into the theater (including some “come with daddy and do peek-a-boo with the mouse in the movie” [Yes, I know it’s a rat. Mouse sounds better to a 2-year-old.]) she’s unrelenting. Besides, she’s having too much fun playing in the corridors with daddy.

After thirty or so minutes, my wife comes out and tries taking her back into the theater. She had no more luck than I, and we realize it’s not the right day for her first movie. I figure it’s $20.50 down the tubes — until my wife asks if we can get our money back.

Incredibly, they say yes! Who would have thought that a movie theater would refund your money because your kid didn’t want to sit and watch a movie. I was flabbergasted and impressed at the same time — the former because they agreed to the refund, and the latter because someone has a clue what customer satisfaction means.

Anyway, so goes a day in the life. We’ll try the movies again in a few weeks — at least now we know it won’t cost us anything if we leave (fake-butter-covered-popcorn notwithstanding).

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