Since it was Andy's turn last weekend to party it up in Vegas, I got to hang out with my girls alone. Now this is a little different for me than it is for Andy, because see, I hang out with them EVERY DAY! However, I am usually the unfun parent. You know, the one who does most of the disciplining, the making them do their homework, clean their rooms and eat their veggies. Daddy gets to step in on weekends and take them bike riding, roller blading or plant things in the garden. When I was gone they did all that stuff PLUS out to eat every meal. So when it was my turn to have them all weekend, I decided I needed to up my game and give myself a fighting chance against "fun Daddy". Even though I had so much shit to do, I decided to let it all go and have a fun Mommy day on Saturday.
Not to far from us in Glendale, there is this place called the Americana. I may have mentioned it before. It is a big outdoor shopping "mall" with some upscale stores (Tiffany's) and some regular stores (H&M). There is a huge fountain in the middle of a big grassy area and the fountain shoots water in time to music. It's a fun place to take the kids. They love running around on the grass and watching the water shoot up and dance around. On Saturdays there is a Farmer's Market and a food truck. I decided that this is where we would go and spend part of our day, because I know how much they all like going there and for some reason, they LOVE the Farmer's Market. I also found a movie to take them to; The Secret World of Arrietty. Seeing a movie is not something we have all do together often, because the younger ones are still not quite at sitting through a movie age yet. I decided that day we would try it out. They had done okay for the Muppets back in November, so how bad could it be? Why do I ask myself those questions?
We arrived at the Americana about an hour and a half before the movie started. This gave us plenty of time to shop the Market, get a bite at the food truck, then take our purchases and stroller back to the car before heading into the movies. It was working out well, and the girls were having fun. The food truck that was there was called the Buttermilk truck. For those of you who don't know about the food truck phenomenon, it is HUGE here in L.A. There are a ton of fantastic trucks. Each truck specializes in a different type of food, such as the Baby's Bad Ass Burgers truck or the Grilled Cheese Truck (one of my personal favs). This particular truck specialized in breakfast, mostly pancakes. That day the special was Red Velvet chocolate chip pancakes and they served them with a dollop of cream cheese frosting. I was ready to sell one of the girls for another order of those delicious things. We also got french toast sticks-WAY better than Burger King- and a egg breakfast sandwich. Everything was so damn good and I was sorry that we had gotten it all to share. However, we were off to have a ton of popcorn at the movies, so we would accumulate the rest of our afternoon calories there.
The girls ran around chasing bubbles for a few minutes, after our little picnic on the grass. Then we went to the car to drop off what we didn't want to bring into the movies. On the way to the movie, and for about the fourth time that day, Lana mentioned how she didn't want to go to the movies. I brushed her off, told her it was going to be good and reminded her that I brought blankie with us. Yes, I brought her blankie. Don't judge! Lana tends to be scared when it comes to watching anything that isn't Imagination Movers or Dinosaur Train. Sonya used to be the same. If we put something on at home that Lana isn't sure of, she will stand between the living room and the hallway in case something scary appears and she needs to run out. So I figured bringing her security blankie-which she usually only gets at night-was a good idea. Sometimes I do know what I'm doing. The movie we were going to see was a Japanese Animation film. I'm not typically a fan of Japanese Animation, despite my living in Japan as a kid for 3 years. However, the reviews on this film were favorable, and it sounded like the least scariest movie of all time. Plus it was the only Rated G movie out, so that's what we got.
We went to the theater, bought our popcorn, and the girls picked out drinks. We were a couple minutes late getting into the theater, so as we were walking down the hallway to our movie, we could see and hear the Trailers already playing. Now, let's stop here and remember that creating Trailers- this is what my husband does for a living. Lana, however, could not like them any less. When we went to see The Muppets we got to the theater well before the movie started. When the Trailers played is when Lana started to lose it. Maybe it's because some of them were advertising scarier kids movies, or that they seem louder. I don't know, but she freaks out. Back to that day....As we rounded the corner and she caught a glimpse of the moving images on the screen and the speakers booming, she immediately broke in to tears and RAN in the opposite direction. Screaming "Noooo!"
There I was holding two huge sodas, and Georgia's hand, trying to run after Lana before she made it to the lobby. Sonya was already steps ahead of me and headed into the theater. My mind was racing. What do I do now? When Lana gets like this, it's hard to reason with her. It wouldn't be fair to the other two to just leave, but I couldn't have her screaming in the movie. I managed to grab her and bring her back to the hallway, but she was as stubborn as a mule and wouldn't move from the corner. I briefly left her there and took Sonya and Georgia to the entrance of the actual theater. I straddled between the hallway and the theater entrance so I could see Lana. I pointed to some seats, (it was a fairly empty movie) and told Sonya to take her little sister and go sit down. Then I went back to the corner where Lana was crying and people were walking by staring. I managed to pick her up, while holding the huge drinks, and carry her into the theater. The whole time she was crying and yelling,
"I don't want to go! I don't want to go!!" She shut her eyes and covered her ears.
I whispered to her that she was safe, I still had blankie and it would all be okay. We got to our seats and I got her calmed down with some deep breaths and good ol' blankie. Then she sat jammed up against my side for the remainder of our movie going experience. She barely moved at all until the Trailers were over. It took her about 20 minutes into the movie for her to even chance eating popcorn and candy. She had to make sure nothing scary was going to happen first. Nothing did. I couldn't have picked a more calm, peaceful, beautiful looking animated film to take them to. She wasn't scared or upset the rest of the time, thank goodness. The other two, happily ate their snacks and enjoyed the movie, unfazed the entire time.
As we were making our way out of the theater after it was over, the girls were all talking about how much they enjoyed the movie and what their favorite parts were. Lana piped up with,
"I want to see it AGAIN!!"
Yeah, she got over her "it's going to be scary" fear. At least for that moment in time. Not sure I'll be taking them to a movie alone again anytime soon. I'm lucky this wasn't a popular one with a ton of people. This time it was only mildly embarrassing with her flipping out in front of 40 people as opposed to 240 people.
The rest of the day was fun as well, with more bubble chasing on the grassy area outside. Then we made a trip to Petco to check out the doggies and kitties up for adoption. No we didn't get one, although the girls wanted to. I couldn't be THAT fun. We didn't eat out again, but I made homemade mac and cheese with turkey bacon for dinner. Something they all loved.
So see, even though I have to be the more utilitarian parent most of the time, I can have fun too! The girls were more responsive and better behaved for me the rest of the weekend because of it. It was a good reminder, that even though someone has to be the one who keeps this family on track with the healthy eating, the homework, and cleaning of the rooms, it is also important to stop and smell the movie theater popcorn from time to time. Except, maybe next time, we skip the trailers. (Sorry, Andy!)