The last week has seen me achieve parenting level 4. It’s taken me just over nine years, but I’ve finally done it. Within a seven day period I managed to take a seven month old on a flight on my own, and also took the same 7 month old to the cinema with her older brother and sister. If that hasn’t learnt me a large glass of vino then I’m not sure what will! Both experiences are things that I had never previously imagined myself managing, but I’ve done both and lived to tell the tale. The only question that remains is which one was harder?
Before I answer that question thought let me tell you about our cinema trip.
The situation was this. My older two kids (now aged 6 and 9) had an extra couple of INSET days off school. Being the dedicated parent that I am I asked them what they wanted to do. I already had in mind what I was planning for them to do, but I figure you’re supposed to occasionally let them think they’re in charge.
When the answer came back that they both wanted to go to the cinema and see Toy Story 4 my initial thought was that there was absolutely no way I could manage that. Then the sudden realisation that the cinema would have decent air conditioning and the temperature was again expected to exceed 25 degrees hit me. Suddenly the cinema with a baby seemed like quite a nice option as long as they had air con!
Having worked out that the local Cineworld had a 10.40am showing and that it probably wouldn’t be that busy I decided to take the plunge. Worst case I’d just end up standing outside the screen with a crying baby whilst the other two sat inside and enjoyed the film in peace. How hard could it be?
The first challenge though was to work out how the whole process of taking a baby to the cinema actually works. At Cineworld you can take a child up to 18 months old for free as “in lap”. I therefore booked three tickets online and headed off to the cinema. Once there I was informed that I also needed to have a seat reservation for my “in lap” baby. Yep, a seat. Free of charge, but I had to go to the desk and get a paper ticket in addition to the three e-tickets I’d bought in advance. Being a 10.40am screening getting the seat next to the three I’d already booked wasn’t a problem, but it’s something I know to do in advance next time.
It’s also the case that you can’t take a pushchair into the cinema with you, but Cineworld will helpfully keep it for you in one of their store rooms. What I did was take in my car seat on the pram base. This meant that when I got to the cinema I could carry in the car seat and just use leave the pram base with staff. Luckily our car seat would easily sit on one of the cinema’s luxurious seats. It certainly made things easier whilst I was trying to sort the other two out with drinks and popcorn.
Toy Story 4 is about two hours long when you factor in all the time for the trailers. That’s quite a long time to keep a baby entertained, but we just about managed it. The thing I wasn’t expecting was TSB wanting to be quite so vocal whilst we were in there. She obviously though the cinema screen a perfect place to test out the acoustics.
I was armed with a couple of her favourite toys and also a bottle of milk and I needed to deploy all of these at points during the film. I also ended up stood in the aisle bouncing her in my arms for a while before she eventually fell asleep. Returning carefully to my seat I was delighted that she then managed a whole 25 minute nap in my arms despite the Dolby Surround Sound filling the whole cinema with the sounds of a fairground chase! At one quiet point in the film you could even hear her snoring. Why does she never sleep that deeply when at home?
I can’t deny that I felt quite relieved when the film ended. It hadn’t exactly been an easy couple of hours. But at the same time LMC and Master C enjoyed Toy Story 4 and I had managed to see enough of the film to know roughly what happened in it.
So, back to the killer question of which is easier – taking a baby to the cinema or on a flight? I think I’m actually going to say the flight was slightly easier. All the faffing in the airport and getting through security can be tough – especially if travelling alone – but once you’re on the flight you’ve got the noise of the aircraft on your side to create a bit of white noise and help your baby sleep. It also doesn’t matter if your baby decides to test out their vocal cords. It gets lots I the general in flight noise. The bits where you can’t get out of your seat are a bit more of a challenge, but the restricted space in your seat makes it a bit harder for your baby to try and climb all over you. The more spacious cinema seats made TSB think it was more like our sofa at home where climbing all over me is what she does as standard.
I guess this all means that I’d rather jump on another flight solo with her than go and see another film. Or will that be a decision that I end up regretting?
BTW – if you’re after a cheaper way of taking your kids to the cinema. Then definitely take a look at Kids Pass. We save money every time we go and it makes it so much more affordable. For disclosure purposes I should say that this is a refer a friend affiliate link, but I pay for my own Kids Pass membership after a friend told me about them over a year ago.