I took our oldest to the movie theater tonight. As you may have noticed, it is extremely rare for a G-rated movie to be in the theater, so I thought I’d jump on Rio 2. We saw the preview of it a while ago, and I thought it looked really tame and cute. Brian was excited to go and to bring some of the loot he gathered at the Egg Hunt this morning.
I should have expected what unfolded, but I was hopeful that this movie would be different than the others. (I have no idea why.) Before the movie starts, there are advertisements for local businesses scrolling, just for something to look at. His response: “This is boring. Let’s leave.” Then, the lights went down a bit for the previews. His response: “Are these going to be the previews? I hate previews; they’re always scary. Let’s leave.” He cried through some of them, but mostly just glued his hands over his ears through them. ”Is this the movie yet?”
Me: “No, this is a short movie that comes before the real movie.”
Brian: “Oh, let’s go home. I don’t want to be here anymore.”
He laughed in kind of a nervous way through the silly short. Then Rio 2 started. Another loud, nervous laugh. I was feeling a bit confident. Good. He’s laughing. This is a change. But, it was like he knew there’d be a part where he’d be scared, so he just decided to cry – randomly – for what seemed to be no reason. He cried when the man was talking. He cried when the birds were singing. He cried a lot. His whimper slowly morphed into a growly wail — so much so, that I started to really wonder what the people around us were thinking, some of which were my students. (I worry about how his strong sensitivities are going to be perceived by his peers, and it is true that I worry about what other parents will say to me.)
We slowly, painfully, made it through the majority of the movie, with only one bathroom break. Towards the end when the men are illegally cutting down the forest, Brian started to cry. I asked him why he was crying and stated that he just loved nature. Sensitive, you say? Mmmhmmm….. How do I respond? It IS terrible that people are destroying rain forests, but the movie was a cartoon, and it just doesn’t strike me as something to cry about –make posters, write letters to your congressman, but cry? Maybe I just don’t understand.
Every 30 seconds or so he would vacillate between nervous laughter and tears. Not 3 minutes later, he began to wail, that cracked voice, truly distraught wail. I looked over at him, and began to ask what was wrong this time, and his mouth contorted, lips curled, head tilted back and bellowed, “I….LOooooVE…….NAAAATURRRRE!”
That was pretty much my tipping point. I couldn’t bring myself to console anymore. He had gone over the edge too. We were quite a pair. I’m sure most people didn’t even notice, but I had the feeling that there was a spotlight on us.
The movie ended and he commanded me to watch the credits. Then, he commanded me to “go now.”
And finally, he skipped out of the theater holding my hand.