Silly me, thinking that a late movie on date night would be a child-free zone! I found out 15 minutes into the film how wrong I was when the first "wa-wa-wa's" erupted from the nosebleed seats. The outburst lasted for 3 minutes, that's 180 seconds - an eternity in movie years! A secondary eruption followed 20 minutes later, this one accompanied by the hurried steps of Baby Mama darting towards the exit carrying the irritated infant. I could see the outline of Baby Mama and child, as she attempted to rock the baby into better humor. It seemed to work, and so Baby Mama and child began their assent back up to their seats.
All was quiet, save for the rustling of hands into tubs of buttery popcorn and the onscreen happenings of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, when the little one had another meltdown, exploding into a torrent of tears and ear-splitting shrieks and that's when the Mothership LOST. HER. MIND!! Only, it wasn't directed towards her baby, rather it was aimed at someone else in the nosebleed section who must have made a comment about the baby because Baby Mama responded with a very loud, "Well, just MIND your damn business, then!!"
Now this isn't the first time a stranger has sought to intervene when a baby has gone nuclear. We've all been there when a pint-size terror throws a toddler tantrum while mommy and daddy stand stricken and humiliated. Some of us coo at little Kiddie Kaboom in a vain attempt to quell their madness with kindness, but there are times when, frankly, no one wants to hear your child.
There are different schools of thought on how best to deal with a child-gone-wild. Some opt for immediate removal and containment, taking the little one out of the situation at the first whimper. You'll notice these people, as they'll insist on sitting nearest the exit with their coats on, in a perpetual state of high alert. These, I must admit, are some of my favorite people!
There are others, though, who take a more wait and see approach, preferring to let a few whimpers and unhappy gurgles go unchecked, and using a mixture of techniques, including rapid leg bouncing of the tiny tot and shifting the little one between parents. They'll stay until the frequency of nasty looks and the chorus of throat-clearing from observers drives them into sudden awareness that their child's behavior might be a bit annoying.
But the worst are those who dig in, and, even while their child is in the midst of an epic foot-stomping rage, they are steadfast and immovable. They seem dulled to the hysterics of their child, or maybe they've become so accustomed to it that they're like the Borg from Star Trek: "resistance is futile!"
One of my friends who's a mother of two falls into the immediate removal and containment category. Her philosophy is that there are certain situations where it's not a good idea to have baby on board. During the toddler years, she and her hubby had a no fancy restaurant policy - unless they had a baby sitter at home with the little one. Kids were left at home with one parent while the other made the weekly grocery store trip - in fact, the same policy was in place for mommy's hair dresser appointments and trips to the mall and the movies. I'd tell you her name, but she doesn't exist:( But maybe, just maybe, she will one day. In the meantime, when you find yourself staring down a one year old on a mission to ruin your trip to see the latest R-rated thriller, just make a note of the nearest exit - you're going to need it! I'm just saying:)