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Big Premiere

A Film Fanatic Mom Holds Her Breath For Her Daughter’s Inaugural Trip To The Movies BY HEATHER CHAET


kay, I confess. I’m a tad limited in the family fun activities I do. I don’t do nature. At the mere mention of a hike, my palms sweat and I immediately think “tick check.” I don’t do the playground unless forced, and never the sandbox. My fear of what may be unearthed with every turn of the shovel actually drove me to tell Tessa, my three-year-old daughter, that I was allergic to sand. What do I do? I do movies. Specifically, I do kids movies. I do anything animated and all things Pixar. I do tween movies in the theater and those made for TV (I’ve seen “Camp Rock” twice). My favorite? Bad teenage dance movies. You can have “A Beautiful Mind.” Take “The Departed.” Forget “No Country for Old Men.” Give me “Step Up,” “You Got Served” and “Stomp the Yard.” I am not ashamed— I long ago embraced the fact that I have the movie tastes of a 12-year-old girl. As a result, I’ve pictured and dreamt about the day my daughter will want to go to the movies with me. I imagine Tessa and me sharing the joys of guessing which trailers will be shown, the little thrill when the lights dim, the amazing feeling of being transported to another world, perhaps another universe. She had seen “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” on DVD, so when “Toy Story 3” was released in June, I knew this was it. Planning it took on the importance of deploying a DEFCON one-level military exercise. We prepped her on how it would be dark in the theater, how the screen would be very big and the movie may be loud. We waited a few weeks after its première and went to the first showing on a bright, sunny


New York Family | September 2010

day to reduce the amount of audience distractions. We arrived early to get a choice seat to avoid any screen-blockage by tall-ish parents and planned the pre-movie potty trip. And, of course, snacks were purchased. When Tessa saw the bag of popcorn, her eyes lit up. In that crazed way. Like when her grandma shoots Reddi-Wip directly into her mouth. I should have known. Just as I do movies, Tessa does snacks. If I could have

we walked home. My husband asked what her favorite part about going to the movies was. Answering “popcorn” in my mind for her, I froze when I heard her say, “At the end, when they all held hands.” The realiza-

“Tessa, isn’t this great?” Her reply? “More

tionthey-areall-gonna-die scene...or us right now? Tessa went on, swinging our hands, “They were a family, they wanted to be together. No matter what. Like us.” I gasped. She did get it! Despite the five pounds of popcorn sitting in her stomach, my daughter got it. She understood the magic of going to the movies, how we can learn something about ourselves, our lives, while watching these other worlds. As we crossed the street, she asked if we could go to movies every day. It was a perfect ending. Hollywood couldn’t have written it better. G

popcorn please.” warned myself, I would have. It’s like when you yell, “Don’t open the door!” at the girl in those horror movies; if I were watching the movie version of my life, I would’ve screamed, “Don’t give her the SNACK!” Once she started eating popcorn, she did not stop. The lights went down. I said, “Tessa, isn’t this great?” Her reply? “More popcorn please.” The trailers for “Cats and Dogs 2” came on. Me: “Does that look funny?” Tessa: “Popcorn please!” It was as if she lost the capabillity to do anything but sit there, on the yellow plastic boostermound, 3D glasses perched on her nose, and eat fluffy white nuggets of corn. I shoveled fistful after fistful of popcorn onto her napkin and sighed. The three of us held hands as

When not practicing dance m o v e s f r o m “ S t e p U p 3 D ,” H e a t h e r C h a e t i s a w r i t e r, m o m and TV junkie. She inv ites readers to please follow her on twitter @motherhoodlist and read her musings at

New York Family September 1, 2010  

New York Family is a monthly family lifestyle magazine focused on the interests, needs, and concerns of New York City parents. The print pub...

New York Family September 1, 2010  

New York Family is a monthly family lifestyle magazine focused on the interests, needs, and concerns of New York City parents. The print pub...