Taking a 5 year old to the movies is not as simple as going with one of your friends. It takes time, energy, skill, a good sense of humour, and time. Did I mention time?
Step 1: Pack snacks. You have decided to see the 5:40pm show, which means you will be watching the movie during dinner time.
I didn't want to fill up on junk food, so I packed us sandwiches and fruit, and tell Kaleigh it's a "picnic". Yes, I am that aunt. I realized once we got to the theatre and smelled the popcorn how cruel I was being. But hey, I packed us lifesavers and candy canes...
I am laughing so hard at myself now.
Step 2: Become a clock. On the drive there you will be asked "how much longer?" about every 3-5 minutes, and she will keep track, so don't even try to tell her the same amount of time twice.
It's amazing the random topics she will find to talk about. She started telling me a story about someone in a barrel in a river by the "Nyoo-Ited States" who they were poking with sticks and things? Apparently she saw it at Ripley's Believe It or Not. Also their hotel had two pools. Indoor and outdoor. Daddy liked the outdoor one better.
She was extremely excited because I told her there would be 3D glasses.
"Do we get to keep them after? Do they pass them around when we get there? Do we have to keep them on? Will we get in trouble if we take them off?" I have a vision of theater employees standings like soldiers, one on each step, carefully watching that everyone puts on and takes off their glasses at the appropriate time. I wonder if that's what Kaleigh is imagining.
Step 3: Don't stop at Timmies. She will worry about the time.
"Oh no, there's a big line-up."
"It's fine, Kaleigh, we have 42 minutes before the movie starts."
"Oh. That's a loong time."
"Yeah we've got lots of time."
We then waited about 5 minutes in the drive thru line just to place our order, and another minute or so at the speaker thing. Finally I said "Helloooo" and the employee replied "I'll be with you in a sec."
From the backseat Kaleigh said "One. That was a second, right Auntie?" She looked at me with those big blue eyes, so innocent. She really and truly wasn't being a smarty pants.
"Right, Kaleigh, but usually when grown-ups say they'll be a second, they mean longer, like a couple of minutes."
Step 4: Don't attempt to teach dishonesty.
When we pulled into the theater and parked, I turned to her.
"Now, Kaleigh, don't say anything to the people in the theater about the snacks in my purse, ok?"
"Because we're not really supposed to have them."
"Oh," she looks and sounds very concerned. "What will they do if they see us with them?"
"Probably nothing, but we just won't let them see us." (oh my gosh I'm terrible I don't think I should be telling people this!)
"But what will they do if they do see us?"
"I don't know, maybe ask us to throw them out, but it's ok, they won't. It will be fine."
Later, in the theater, I asked Kaleigh if she wanted her sandwich.
"No," she said quickly.
"Kaleigh, they're not going to get you in trouble."
"No," I laugh "Kaleigh it's fine."
"You were just joking?" She asks me, so sweetly, so innocently.
"Yes," I lie. I outright lie to my sweet, beautiful niece. "I was only joking. Now please eat your sandwich."
Step 5: Be prepared for bathroom breaks.
Step 6: Regret packing your "picnic".
"Last time I went to theater with my Mommy and Daddy, and we just bought the food there. Like popcorn."
Yes. I'm sure that was much, much easier.
Step 7: Work out/have a wheelbarrow handy.
A limp, sleeping child is incredibly heavy, especially when they weigh almost half of what you do. I think she fell asleep mid-sentence on the way home, and didn't even wake up when I awkwardly pulled her from the car and carried her inside.