While I was proud of Chris’ handling of Sprout’s and his own illness last week for a number of reasons, I was particularly impressed that he didn’t pull out the big gun of baby entertainment: video. As much as Chris loves TV himself, he didn’t even think about it. Because video is so rarely part of Sprout’s life (except for regular FaceTime), the few times we’ve shared it with him were supposed to be particularly special. Unfortunately, they haven’t always gone as planned.
The first time Sprout really watched TV was during the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. Both Chris and I are giant Who nerds and had specifically put down Sprout for his nap (in his TARDIS onsie!) just before the worldwide live simulcast began. Of course, he woke up from his nap early. Most of the episode was already over, so we stuck him on the couch next to us. I don’t think his eyes once left the TV. I hope to reintroduce him to the show in a few years, once he understands it better and isn’t so mindlessly mesmerized.
About a month ago, we decided to bring him to his first movie. We missed Frozen in the theater, but a local neighborhood was showing it as part of an outdoor film series. Chris and I both wanted to see it, with our shared love of animation and the glowing reviews from traditional and activist pop culture critics. We’re also visiting Disney World this summer, so I wanted to see it before being bombarded by Frozen merchandise. (Plus, Chris was only slightly obsessed with watching adaptations and mashups of “Let It Go.”) The outdoor venue was a perfect opportunity because if Sprout got upset, we could head out without disturbing anyone or losing any money. We found out about it weeks ahead of time, so we were really looking forward to it.
Because the movie started near Sprout’s bedtime, we went through his whole bedtime routine so we ready to put him to bed as soon as we got home. We even dressed him in his pajamas in case he fell asleep during the movie. (So cute!)
Once we got there, the lawn was filled with families, looking at a giant inflatable screen. They had some technical glitches, at first, with the operator switching the closed captioning back and forth. Just before 8 pm, they finally started the movie and the antsy children started paying attention.
Unfortunately, the sky had been growing darker and darker and not just because of the dusk. Clouds blanketed the sky and the wind started whipping the screen in and out. The characters and scenery were warped and obscured, despite the organizers trying to hold the screen still. Whether because it was hard to see or there were more interesting things to look at, Sprout didn’t seem that interested in the movie.
Then the inevitable happened – the sky opened, sending down rain. A minute or two later, the screen completely collapsed, falling on one of the handlers. We think they were trying to take it down on purpose – just not in the manner it happened. Fortunately, the guy seemed fine.
To the tune of complaints from preteen girls, we packed up our stuff and hustled back to the car. By the time we got home, the rain was torrential. After sprinting inside, we put Sprout right to bed. It was already a half-hour past his bedtime and watching it on our TV wouldn’t have the same excitement as the outdoor venue. Part of the whole experience was supposed to be his First Movie and our couch just wasn’t going to cut it.
Instead, we rented the movie through On Demand and watched it from the comfort of our living room with a snoozing baby in his crib. It was very good and I really enjoyed both the themes and plot. But as lovely as it was, I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t share a special experience with our little boy. It just means we have the opportunity to make it even grander next time. Perhaps we’ll catch something at the grand Uptown in D.C. or even the Frozen sing-a-long version they’re showing near us this summer!