Key takeaways from going cinema with a newborn baby
I can’t remember when I first floated the idea of taking Roma to the cinema – week two maybe? – but Jenna looked at me like I was mad, which was quite a role reversal because that’s a look I usually reserve for her.
Oh yes, the baby brain lives on post-pregnancy.
Quick background information if you haven’t taken the time to read my About Me page – bit rude, but I’ll let it slide – I’m a massive fan of the cinema.
I’ve got a Cineworld Unlimited card, which gives me access to all the films I want to see for just shy of £20.
I’d like to state I’ve not been paid to write this – trust me, that score gets sucked out of my bank account each month without fail – I’ve actually had a card for ten years now, although back when I signed up it was just £10.99.
Those were the days…
In my pre-parenthood cinema-going prime, I’d go weekly and often see two films back-to-back. However, since becoming a dad I’d only been twice in two months because Jenna, Roma and I have been glued together for the most part.
“I finally broke Jenna and she agreed that the three of us should give the cinema a visit together”
So far I’ve seen Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming – amazing and alright – only because I seized opportunities when Jenna took Roma for respective lunches with a group of her girls and her mother.
It would feel a bit sore going cinema after work having spent all day away from the pair of them, and weekends are usually spent together for quality time since we only get a few hours together on weeknights once work is out of the way.
The game has changed now.
Finally, the wait is over – it brings me the greatest of pleasure to say that we’ve taken Roma to the cinema!
After practicing my puppy dog eyes for the past few weeks though, I finally broke Jenna and she agreed that the three of us should give the cinema a visit together.
More than a deep desire on her part to see the final outcome of the Planet of the Apes trilogy, two thirds of which I’d cunningly persuaded her to watch in the weeks leading up to the cinematic release of War for the Planet of the Apes, I think she just wanted me to stop banging on.
We were meant to go on Saturday, but traffic thwarted our journey to the 11am screening and a convoluted attempt to sort out Roma’s passport in the afternoon meant we had no hope of the 2pm showing.
Sunday was the big day. Tactics were a must…
The push and shush
We went for a family workout in the morning, including a run and some HIIT.
Unusually, Roma stayed awake throughout. Ordinarily she nods off the moment the pram gets moving, so it was slightly unsettling and made us think she was going to resist every attempt to send her off.
The post-feed snooze
Once we got back from the run and showered, Jenna fed her. Still she remained bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Whagwan?!
Why had this sleep-loving gumdrop suddenly decided to go all Faithless and can’t get no sleep?
Old faithful: The in-car catnap
We left the house with snacks stashed in the base of the pram – #parentinghack – and had a clear run to the pictures, during which we had a brief bit of squealing and after it passed I saw her eyes burning into me in the rear view mirror.
How was she still awake?!
Maybe she was as hyped for the film as I was, eager to find out what Andy Serkis’ hyper-intelligent chimpanzee leader Caesar had in store for him as he went up against a maniacal general (Woody Harrelson) hell-bent on extinguishing his furry family of peaceful apes.
By the time we had parked downstairs in the darkness of the car park, Mr Sandman had brought her a dream. The lift wasn’t working, so I carried Roma up in her car seat.
It felt weird to be entering my fortress of solitude with the family, but at the same time it was as though I’d accomplished something wonderful.
We walked through to the screen – I feel like I became telepathic in that moment as I could hear the internal sighs from those already in there, who no doubt wondered what we were thinking.
A bit of careful manoeuvring to avoid waking Roma up while giving my lengthy legs room to breath and we positioned her safely between us in her seat – handy as it allowed us to share rocking duties in the event that she whinged at any point.
There were a couple of squeaks that took place, but nothing anyone other than us would have been aware of.
Jenna worried about the volume of the film disturbing her, but it was senseless – clearly she’d forgotten that Roma slept through the entire raucous flamboyance of Standon Calling Festival just a week before.
The film itself was outstanding. Extraordinary storytelling took place as I found myself look beyond the ape exterior of the central characters to empathise with their plight as though they were real creatures, a testament to the acting of Serkis and his cohorts, the fantastic visuals and stunning vision of Matt Reeves.
Harrelson, as he always does, shone in his role as the villain, who had more depth than the trailer gave away. Definitely one to watch if you haven’t already.
The film came to a close and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Taking our newborn baby to the cinema revealed five key takeaways:
(1) Daddy was right – nothing to worry about.
(2) Planning is wise – if Roma hadn’t been fed then I’d have been sweating.
(3) It felt like a date – without the guilt.
(4) We successfully got to make a new memory.
(5) Jenna put her faith in me, despite misgivings, and compromised – key in parenthood.
Bonus: Did I mention I was right?
By no means am I naïve enough to think that each visit will go as smoothly as this – in fact, I may quit undefeated champion just so Jenna doesn’t get a belated “I told you so” over me, but I’m ecstatic we went ahead and didn’t give in to fear.
What’s the worst that could have happened? We get a few venomous looks from neighbours seated near us if Roma started crying and have to settle her. Believe me, I’ve faced the stare and lived to tell the tale, so that would be the least of my concerns.
— Zen | DADult Life (@DADultLife) August 6, 2017
Image via 20th Century Fox