Parents Who Bring Toddlers to PG13 Movies

On Sunday, Paul and I finally went to see The Dark Knight Rises. I am a fan of pretty much all things Batman and had been looking forward to going to the movie, but we’d had other things to do and just hadn’t gotten to the movies yet. But Sunday was scorching hot (at least by Pacific NW standards) and temperatures soared into the mid-90s, so we sought refuge from the heat at the theater.

The thing about going to the movies is, it isn’t cheap. By the time you buy tickets and popcorn and a Diet Coke, you’ve spent a small fortune on the cinema experience (Well, except for that one time that my friend Kristy and I sneaked in boxes of candy we’d gotten from Fred Meyer and chicken sandwiches off the Jack in the Box value menu. That time wasn’t all that expensive). If I’m paying good money to watch a movie, I want it to be in a nice, quiet theater with no interruptions from fellow audience members.

The previews were finishing up and the lights were dimming for the beginning of the movie when a man walked into the theater, wheeling a stroller. “Oh, no,” I muttered to Paul. A stroller-sized child was NOT old enough for this sort of movie. The man parked the stroller by a handicap chair and walked back out of the theater.

“It’s ok,” Paul whispered back sarcastically. “He was just leaving the kid here.”

I wondered at this for a moment, and then the man returned, leading a little girl by the hand. She was probably three or four. AWESOME. I was already getting cranky. I don’t hate kids, but I do hate adults who don’t know what venues and situations are and are not appropriate for their small children. Kids that age were not going to appreciate the movie. They weren’t going to understand anything beyond that there was Batman, and bad guys. The plot and goings on were going to sail right over their heads.

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more horrified, Parent of the Year plunked the older of his two small children in the seat next to me and took the seat at the end of our aisle, holding the smaller child on his lap. I was not about to spend thirty bucks to be irritated for two hours and forty-four minutes. Knowing I was being rude, I leaned over and said to the man, “Could you please not sit there?”

“Why?” he asked, clearly surprised

I should’ve lied and said I was saving the seats. That our friends had those seats and would be right back, or not, or whatever. But instead I was honest and gestured to his children and said, “Because your kids will be loud.” I’m sure I offended him, but I didn’t care. He faced the screen, not bothering to reply to my request to sit somewhere else. I kicked myself for not lying about my reasons. Damn truth gets you nowhere.

The movie started, and I sat back in my chair and munched some popcorn. I’d been upsold to the gigantic tub size for a few cents more, so we had plenty and I decided that for every sound those kids made, I was throwing a piece at Parent of the Year.

I needn’t have worried, though. Within five minutes, the older kid was asking questions and making little squealing noises, and Parent of the Year grudgingly gathered up his children and headed out of the theater. Victory! I was a little surprised he gave up that easily though, and began wondering if he’d even bought tickets for this movie or if he’d just ducked into the theater. Either way, I was glad to see him go, both for my own benefit and for the benefit of the little girls that were now spared Bane nightmares. The rest of the movie was excellent and I was able to view it sans distractions.

Parents, come on. Little kids don’t belong at violent PG-13 movies. They belong in the next theater over watching Ice Age. I’m fine with the interruptions that come with being in a place where children are expected to be, like fast food restaurants, parks, these types of places. But when I go to see a movie that is not meant for kids, I expect that there will not be kids. I am childless for good reasons, one of which is that I like being able to decide on a whim to go see a movie on a Sunday afternoon without having to arrange a babysitter or pick something child-appropriate. To those who made a decision to be a parent, BE ONE. Accept that by choosing to have children, you’re going to have to sacrifice some things for awhile. I urge you to make these sacrifices. If you can’t do it for your kids, do it because if you don’t, the childless people in movie theaters are going to throw food at you.

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