We Otts love movies. If we could choose one form of entertainment only for the rest of our lives, we would agree—Hollywood all the way. So we were pleased when we took Wally on our first road trip when he was almost 2 years old, and he fell so in love with the medium that he was up at 3 in the morning requesting more Lion movie. (Well, we weren’t in love with the timing, but it did make an 18 hour trip with a kid who hates the five point harness more than anything more bearable.)

Since then, we’ve instituted Friday night as movie night. At around 6 on Friday, we let Wally pick whatever movie he wants–sometimes we heavily influence his decision by planting seeds for what movie would be good that day, or it would always be Incredibles. He stares slack-jawed at the screen for a few hours, completely engrossed in the new world he’s entered. We encourage him to take bites of his dinner on occasion, since his stomach moves to the backburner while his mind is enchanted by talking animals and bad guys and dragons and cars and explosions.

It is his favorite night. If it were up to him, he’d watch movies all day, every day. He loved having the flu this past winter, because he did watch at least 5 movies a day for 5 days straight. (As tempting as it is to plop him in front of the TV every day for a nice long break, I resist. I like to keep the movies as something special, and I like him to practice exercising his own imagination during the day.)

We decided this past weekend that he was ready. It was time for a trip to the movies. Although he had no idea what that meant, he agreed enthusiastically. Since he’s a fan of everything Pixar, we chose “Brave.” Since Vivi and I are still a unit, Daddy would take him, and I would remain home, completely jealous.

The week before he went, we told him about what to expect and showed him the preview. He couldn’t wait to go to the “movie store”. He talked about it all week, and asked to see the preview 100 more times.

On the way to the movie, he was so excited he couldn’t stop talking. “Are you going to go to the movie, Daddy? Are you going to like it? Am I going to like it? What’s the girl’s name in the movie? Are you driving to the movie store now? Am I in the car  with you?”

Wally was in awe of the size of the theatre—he took it very seriously. He looked around at all the people before the movie started, got a little antsy during the half hour of previews, but then he got down to business watching from the opening credits on.

We were a little worried he might talk during the movie, but he was pretty busy watching. He did ask dad, “Where’d the bear go?” as is usually does at home with any scary characters when they leave the screen—like he is afraid it’s going to show up next to him in real life at any moment. And then during a particularly quiet part of the movie, for some reason kilted men show their butts. Wally commented loudly, “That guy has a funny butt!” a comment that the people sitting around them rather enjoyed.

Being two, he isn’t usually very good at recounting his experiences to us, but when he got home and I asked him about the movie, he couldn’t stop telling me about it. I can’t say I know exactly what happened, but there was a good bear and a bad bear and arrows, and he liked it all. He’s no Ebert, but then again, he doesn’t have much to compare it to. It was a rave review for a guy’s first movie!

I told his Auntie Liz about how we told him last night that he needed a good night’s sleep before the movie, so he shouldn’t wake up early. Because of that, he woke up this morning and stayed quietly in bed until his dad came by and checked on him. Then he jumped out of bed and said, “Can we go to the movie store now?” Auntie Liz said it brings her back to those days of innocent childhood excitement, where a trip to the movies is a great adventure. “Don’t you miss those days?” Auntie Liz asked.

After thinking about it for a moment, I realized that I don’t—not anymore. It’s one of the great joys of parenting—enjoying the world through the eyes of your child. I can’t wait until it’s my turn to take him!

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