June 16th, 2003

16 Jun 2003, by

On Saturday afternoon we took Sophia to the movie theater for the first time. We told her ahead of time that we were going that day, and she kept asking about the movie and going to the TV. We told her that we were going to the movie theatre to watch a movie and that there would be other people and a big, big screen. When we got to the theatre, about ten minutes before the movie, Finding Nemo, the showing we had intended to see was sold out, so we had to go to the next showing, which was about 40 minutes away. Sophia walked around the concession stand to the theatre, looking at all the videogames and saying stuff about how big the screens were. Kurt told her to just wait, that the movie would be on a much bigger screen than the ones currently around her. I was a bit aghast at how many of the video game were gun shooting games, and how there was really no place to take Sophia where she wouldn’t see an endless loop of shooting, explosions and blood. She was watching an Area 51 space invasion type game intro and she kept saying something, and I couldn’t figure out what it was, and finally I realized that she was saying “Hot”. I guess the bright orange explosions and flames translated to “hot” for her.

So, at any rate, we finally got inside the theatre and sat way at the back. Sophia did not show any interest in sitting in her own seat, even though we bought a ticket for her, and instead sat in Kurt’s lap while the lights were up and the commercials urging you to buy popcorn showed. The theatre was pretty packed, and there were lots of children and babies present. Before I go further, I do want to say that this was the least obnoxious movie crowd I’ve experienced in the last four or five movie excursions. I don’t know why this should be, but there you have it. People of all ages were quiet, respectful and cordial. It was a pleasure. As soon as the theatre darkened for the movie, Sophia asked to sit in my lap, and she sat there, huddled against me for all the previews and the entire movie. She was a little awed by the whole experience : the noise, the darkness, the people. During the previews, she actually panicked and started to cry out and I had to hug her tightly and assure her that everything was going to be alright. After that, she calmed right down. In another episode of the unexplainable fears of children, the preview that really set her off, which you can see here, was for The Incredibles. We have no idea why, but when his belt popped off and hit the light, she started to scream and squirm to get out of my arms. Strange, isn’t it? Everyone has asked me if she was afraid of the shark, Bruce, but she gave no indications whatever of being scared of him. Superhero too fat to get into his belt, on the other hand, is utterly terrifying.

Kurt jokes that she only saw half the movie, because she was sort of facing sideways, with her cheek pressed against me, and watching the movie out of one eye. Clearly, the stimuli was a bit overwhelming. However, about an hour or so into it she turned her body to face the movie. She never acted like she wanted us to leave, either, so we stayed. The only part of the movie itself that scared her was when Darla was screaming and shaking Nemo, and the dentist was running around the room shouting, and there was complete mayhem and too much volume. I think she did admirably well, all things considered. After the movie was over, as we walked to the parking lot, we asked her what she thought. She didn’t say anything at first, still soaking in the experience, then burst into non-stop words: “Fish, wa-wa, orange fish! Blue fish! Turtle. Wa-wa. Bird. Fish.”

All in all, she provided a fairly good review of the movie. I think she enjoyed it, though it was somewhat an intimidating venture. She’s been talking some about Nemo since the movie, so she remembers it. She also learned the word shark. One of her bath toys, which had previously just been “fish” is now “shark” because of his many, many teeth.

Also this weekend was Father’s Day. The following dialogue occured yesterday, while we enjoyed lunch :

“Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.” Sophia.

“Thank you, Sophia.” Daddy.

“You’re welcome, daddy.” Sophia.

“You’re welcome, daddy.” Sophia.

“You’re welcome, daddy.” Sophia.

“You’re welcome, daddy.” Sophia.

You see, she doesn’t understand that you’re welcome is the end of the exchange, so she repeats it until something else is said, believing (I suppose) that she has not been heard. At this point, I intervene.

“How nice of you to say you’re welcome, Sophia.” Mama.

Sophia smiles, pleased with herself. She enjoyed this.
“Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.” She begins again. Repeat this conversation as played out above about half a dozen times. What are you going to say, though, “Cut it out with the pleasantries already!”? You just have to smile and keep practicing right along with her, until she’s done. I’m thrilled that she’s saying “thank you” and “you’re welcome” at 2, even if it means having conversations over and over and over again. Another charming conversation we were practicing a couple of weeks ago was “How are you doing?” It goes like this:

“How are you doing, mama?” Sophia

“I’m doing fine, Sophia, thanks for asking. How are you doing?” Mama.

“I fine.” Sophia

This conversation can be had at any moment, by the way, not just when we first meet each other. Still, who can complain? It’s much better than when she starts with her “Stop talking, Daddy! Stop talking, Mama!” which is what she does lately when we try to have a conversation that doesn’t include her. I haven’t come up with an answer to that yet, though I have said once or twice that we will stop when we are finished and once or twice that it isn’t very nice to tell people to stop talking. Neither has had an effect, by the way.

I’d like to revisit books for a moment, because we have had some great finds in library books this past week. I checked out a Days with Frog and Toad. I wanted to see if Sophia might have the attention span for longer stories with less pictures and although I couldn’t remember the particulars of any of the stories, I do remember really liking the Frog and Toad books. They are truly delightful. A story or so at a time is about all she can do without getting squirmy, but she does enjoy them and so do I. One advantage of having poor memory, I suppose, is that I don’t remember much of what I read as a child, and I can rediscover old favorites with Sophia. Another, is the hard learned lesson that if I don’t write things down they will leave me, hence what I’m writing right now. The other fantastic find out of this set of library books was a book I just stumbled on by accident I Look Like A Girl. In addition to having what I consider to be a really positive and encouraging message for girls, it is beautifully painted and Sophia loves having it read to her. This one is getting as many reads as In The Night Kitchen and The Big Red Bus got when they were checked out. The Big Red Bus, by the way, was recommended to me by a co-worker, and it completely surprised me that Sophia liked it as much as she did. Kurt still recites what he remembers of it to her from time to time, and she always asks for more. Last but not least, we’ve arrived at the stage where Sophia can sometimes read to us, which is a joy. This weekend she recited Good Night Moon first to Kurt, and later on to me. I wish I could describe how sweet it is to hear her soft, girlish voice saying “and a picture of…” pause while she turns the page,”cow jump over da moon”. I think it’s among the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. We are truly blessed to have Sophia.

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