I love to go to the movies and I had the misconceived notion that my film-fanatic tendencies would not be altered by parenthood. Boy, was I wrong.
Initially after I gave birth to my baby, I was under the impression that I could seamlessly integrate her into my life, taking her everywhere with me, not unlike an extra appendage. But I didn’t account for one very important thing: the crying.
While many a fellow parent has developed a tool that magically tunes out the whines, cries and screams of an infant, others aren’t as lucky and the din is more annoying than just a way of life. This is very much highlighted at someplace like a movie theater.
The topic of bringing babies and young children to an R-rated midnight showing of a film like The Dark Knight Rises rocketed into heated debate territory after a 6-year-old was killed and a 3-month-old baby was injured in the recent tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
Heather Spohr in her Babble Voices column More Spohr wrote:
“Look. By putting this out into the world, you are basically implying that it’s the fault of the parents that their children were injured. The parents of the three-month-old were probably so happy to be out of the house. The parents of the six-year-old were probably doing something special for their child, who didn’t have school today because it’s the summer. I’m sure ALL the parents were prepared for the only realistic consequence of taking a kid to a midnight movie: next-day crankiness. No one thinks, “I shouldn’t take my kid to this movie because they might get shot.” I’m going to say this as “loudly” as I possibly can: Stop shaming the victims. You don’t think a child or baby should go to a midnight showing of a comic book movie? Don’t take your child to the midnight showing of a comic book movie. It’s that simple. But don’t you DARE heap your judgment onto these parents suffering the kind of horror and loss few people can comprehend.”
In the aftermath of this tragedy, Jezebel took on the subject, not focusing on the affect on the children being brought the films, but rather the effect it has on the rest of us. In the piece “Bringing a Baby to the Movies Isn’t Bad Parenting, It’s Bad Etiquette,” Tracie Egan Morrissey says, “…I see no problem with an infant being exposed to a violent movie. Babies are stupid and don’t know anything. They’re lucky if they can comprehend the existence of their own feet at three months old, so it’s doubtful that they’d be mentally or emotionally affected by the content of a film.” She continues, “Bringing infants to the movies is nothing new. I will frequently see several strollers at midnight screenings of horror movies. I used to think that was so outrageous…now that I have a child, I know that it is. I don’t believe that any of these people who bring babies to the movies are bad parents who don’t care about their children. I think they are inconsiderate assholes who don’t care about other people in the theater.”
About six years ago, after my baby was born, I did try to take her to a movie. I think it was The Devil Wears Prada or Little Miss Sunshine. But I can’t remember which one. Why? Because I was in the movie theater lobby the whole time trying to comfort, cuddle her, and keep her quiet. I then realized my dreams of taking her everywhere were completely impractical and impolite, and I try always to be polite.
Morrissey sums it up saying, “Look, having babies can be an expensive, exhausting, fun-sucking experience. And while parents should still be able to have some enjoyment, they shouldn’t do so at the cost of others. The movie theater is not your living room. You can wait until the DVD release.”