Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Afternoon At The Movies

Last week, I took my two grandchildren to the movies. Among their choices were "Shrek the Third", the new "Pirates of the Caribbean", and the new "Spider Man". They wanted to see "Shrek".

Earlier, when I visited at Eileen's place, I noted that she had taken her children to see "Shrek". Her trip seems to have been less eventful than mine, or there's something she's not telling us. Eileen will empathize with my adventure, if no one else does.

When I arrived their house to pick up the children, they were both carrying blankets - not full-sized bed blankets, but throws. I asked, "Why the blankets?" "It's cold at the movies." OK, it is cold in the mulitplex cinemas, so off we go. Think of the energy that could be saved by turning the thermostats up a few degrees.

After we took the baby sitter home and reached the theater, we were running a little late. My grandson, who is seven, was complaining that his blanket was not "folded neatly". I worked with it a little, but not to his satisfaction, and he continued to whine.

I had purchased our tickets online, but I had to get to the machine to get them out. While I was standing there, not getting the procedure right, with my 11-year-old granddaughter coaching me until I finally got it right, I turned around to see that my grandson had spread his blanket on the floor and was again trying to get it "folded neatly". I tried to help him, and we moved on to the concession stand.

My grandson was still complaining as we stood in line, and once again spread his blanket out on the floor trying to get it "folded neatly". No matter what we did with the blanket, the edges curled up and were not neat. I helped him again, and then it was our turn at the counter. His first two choices for candy were out of stock, and he froze in dismay. People standing behind us, were getting impatient so I said firmly, "Pick something," which he finally did. I began to get a hint that it was not going to be an easy afternoon.

Each child was now equipped with candy, popcorn and a frozen goody. My grandson's popcorn spilled and half emptied the bag, and he was still whining about his candy, because it was not what he wanted. In the meantime, he unfolded his blanket and draped it around his shoulders, dragging it alongside and behind. I moved ahead to go to our theater, but my grandson stood immobile, blocking the way for the folks behind him. I physically moved him out of the line, but he refused to come along with us. I told his sister, "Let's go. We're going into the theater." We started to move, and he finally followed us, stepping and tripping on his blanket.

When we reached the theater, the movie had already started, and now I WAS BLIND. My eyes take quite a long time to adjust to going from light to dark. There was not much light from the screen, and I could just barely make out my two grandchildren, so I followed them. When we were about halfway up the steps, I could no longer see them. I stood for a minute, and then turned and felt my way back down the stairs. I was beginning to see a little and spotted three seats. I sat down, having no idea where the children were, praying that they would find me. They did. My grandson was still whining about the blanket and the candy, and standing up, blocking the view of the folks behind. I said firmly, "Sit down and be quiet, or they're going to throw you out of the theater." He sat down, and I did not hear a peep out of him throughout the movie, thanks be to God.

As I thought about the people watching me stumble up and down the stairs, perhaps some of the same ones who saw me with my grandson and the blanket spread on the floor and the scene at the concession stand, I wondered what they were thinking about me. Probably something like, "Why do they let her roam free?"

I enjoyed the movie. I found it sweet and funny, with wit that was probably above the heads of many of the children. My favorite character was Merlin, whom you see pictured above, but only from the rear.

My grandson has been diagnosed with ADHD and is on medication for the condition. It seems to me that he could also have a touch of OCD. This is strictly Dr. Mimi's diagnosis, but it would explain his having to get things just right. His parents have recently divorced, so along with his other problems, his life has changed rather drastically.

As I started the car, a fight erupted in the back seat, because my granddaughter put her foot on "his side" of the car, which did not suit my grandson at all. Pushing ensued, followed by a smack from his sister and his crying loudly. I put the car back in park and got out. My patience was wearing thin. I took hold of his shirt, and told him, "We are going to the beach in a few weeks. It's a long ride there, and you're going to have to learn how to ride in the car and behave yourself, or we're going to leave you home," - an empty threat, most certainly. How am I doing, Dennis? The rest of the ride home was quiet.


klady said...

Oh dear, I started to read this thinking, well, this brings back memories and then ... started to think that maybe all this was not so far in the past, until I got to "As I started the car, a fight erupted in the back seat, because my granddaughter put her foot on "his side" of the car, which did not suit my grandson at all." Then I knew I was back in my world of a 15 and 18 year old who last week battled over whose was the last chocolate chip muffin.

What an adventure, Mimi. My mother took on much of what you're doing after my children's father and I were divorced when they were similar ages. I commend you for (dare I say) standing firm when necessary and the courage to be the blind leading those who need to learn to follow, at least some of the time.

I really wonder what the world would have been like if Paul's grandmother had been the one to travel and spread the Gospel. No doubt she had her hands full tending the grandkids. Maybe we have yet to find her Epistles if only we were to follow the clues beginning at.... oh, what's the big church facing the park near the French Quarter?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Klady, the church is the St. Louis Cathedral, the Roman Catholic cathedral, a lovely old church, which faces Jackson Square.

I'm pleased that my post brought back fond memories.

Eileen said...


My son doesn't have OCD though - but, he does tend to hyperfocus, and I might as well be talking to a wall when he does that.

My trip was more exciting, but less "harrowing". Everybody behaved for a change - even me.

Plus, it was pouring when we left, so I ran through the rain to get the van, leaving my neighbor with all the kids. They were all so excited to get "picked up", that nobody fought about who was sitting where, etc. We did that on the way over: 1 ADD 9 3/5 yo, 1 whiny 6 yo girl, and one spoiled, "only-child" 6 yo boy, who idolizes said 9 3/4 yo ADD boy, who in turn finds both 6 yo's tiresome, whiny and basically pains in the butt. We had much scuffling about who would sit near whom on the way over.

Eileen said...

As for the movie, I was enjoying it (I love Shrek). I only got up to the part where Shrek carries Artie out of the High School pep rally...then it went black. Dammit.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Eileen, do make it back to see the rest of the movie. It's good.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Oh, Mimi---you handled that so beautifully. I'm sure when they look back on it, they will remember only what a great time they had with their Mimi.

I do hope, however, that YOU have recovered!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Nina, I have recovered. What I must keep in mind, what works for me in dealing with my grandson, is for me not to allow myself to get out of control, to be firm, but not to lose my temper.

Ormonde Plater said...

When asked how he liked children, W. C. Fields replied, "Parboiled." I forget whether that was in a movie or in real life.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Ormonde, that's certainly another way to look at it.

pj said...

I bet you're an awesome Grandma. I'm impressed with your ability to stay cool.

My son is one of those "onlies" -- he's about to turn 6 but he thinks he's 35. Consequently, everyone is entitled to HIS opinion, and every object in the house is HIS.

He claims he doesn't want to see Shrek. We'll see.

Grandmère Mimi said...

PJ, I am not awesome. I made an empty threat, which is a no-no according to child-rearing experts, and that threat is used up. I can't try it again.

What I will say is that, at my advanced age, God seems to be giving me a special grace to care for this boy during a difficult time. I was not this patient with my own children when I was much younger.

I have no other explanation, except the grace of God. This is not what I planned to be doing at this time in my life, but it is what I'm doing, and I am OK with it.

I hope that your son decides to see "Shrek". I think both of you will enjoy it. Or you could go without him.

Missy said...

Just smiling.

(don't mind the picture--it's a mood)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Whew! Missy, thanks for letting me know that you are smiling. I thought you were growling at me.

You keep changing your picture at your blog. Don't you know who you are, girl?

KJ said...

My oldest sister, the mother of two ADHD sons, is sweet, very soft spoken and chooses her words very carefully when being very clear with the boys. The nephews know from experience, that though the threats may sound silken, they are far from idle.

I don't know how she does it and with such consistency! My parents didn't have that gift.

As an added bonus, the entire family, my brother-in-law included, know the truth of the adage, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

And Grandmère, PJ and Doxy are right! You ARE awesome, and you just know the kids will grow up to say, "We don't know how Grandmère put up with us!"

Mary Clara said...

You are doing great, Mimi, and I am taking you as a role model, as I am soon to become a grandmother.

Tobias said...

Keep up the fine work. If you can get the side of car situation settled, you're in line for Archbishop of Canterbury, as far as I'm concerned...

Padre Mickey said...

I don't understand the problem; I like my blanket to be folded neatly, too. And I still smack my brother when his leg is on my side of the car. That's why our parents won't take us anywhere.

Grandmère Mimi said...

KJ, I am not awesome, but our God is an awesome God. Thanks anyway for the kind words. Your sister seems to do a lot better than I, God bless her.

Mary Clara, congratulations on the coming special event. Grandchildren are a joy, and lots of fun. Even in the midst of my movie adventure, I could see the humor. Thanks be to God.

Tobias, thanks, but I believe I'll pass on the ABC thing. I have my hands full. But, I'll take the hug. I'm from the South, you know. We do lots of hugging.

Padre Mickey, Dr. Mimi diagoses OCD for you, too, along with COAD, an acronym I've just made up for case of arrested development.

Do you know what else? I have the best commenters in the blogscape.

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart, Mimi. You have to be the best, most patient grandma ever!! Those kids will have the best memories.

You know, I'm like a professional parent for 10 little girls. It's an amazement to me that I can actually have a more relaxing time with all these children out for dinner and a movie, than I did with my own three when they were very young.

Kids can act very differently with their own parents, and grandparents, I think. They feel more secure and comfortable to totally let their "hair down." At least, that's part of it, I think.

God bless, Mimi.


Ann said...

One time I made the threat to make the kids get out and walk if there was one more fight (there are 3 of them - there was always a fight). When they started in again we were in a desolate part of Idaho - so there I was with 3 kids walking down the highway and me slowly driving beside them. I sort of gave up on threats at all at that point.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Ann, LOL. I may use that one yet.

Dennis said...

I think you are doing just fine.

Before you decide that he is OCD give him some time to work with all of the stress and feeling like his world has spun out of control. Seven years old is a hard enough time as it is.

And Wormwood's Doxy is right: years from now they'll just remember that their grandmother took them to the movie.

- - -

By the way: a thought for all of you:

Have you ever seen a book called Don't Shoot The Dog! An animal trainer wrote a very easy to understand introduction to behaviorism. I pass out copies to parents left and right. You don't know how many have told me that it has changed their home life. I have no connection to the author. Never met her. But she is a genius.

She was a dolphin trainer. You can't train a dolphin by punishment, only by shaping their behaviors. So this book discusses how to change the behaviors of children, spouses, employees, etc., through behavioral shaping. This stuff is good, good, good.

Even if you don't need anything in it, it is still interesting to read.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Thanks, Dennis, I'm going to look for the book.

Pat Greene said...

You know, Mimi, sometimes I wonder if the "child rearing experts" have ever actually reared any children. Or more than one of them at a time.

You did fine. And that car thing... heh, in my house it usually is over which side of the car belongs to whom.

I've never left a child at the side of a road, but I have left the car and started walking myself. It helps clear my head is nothing else, and gets their attention.

I have a son who is high functioning autistic, so I completely can relate to the blanket issue.

Oh, and Eileen? Do go see Shrek III, the rest of it. It's delightful.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Pat, I wonder how many kids the experts had, too. Ann made the children get out, and you got out yourself.

Ahh...the wisdom I'm learning after all these years of children and grandchildren.

David said...


I can sympathize, believe me! As for my two kids, well....

We keep following all the expert advice on child-proofing the house, but somehow they keep getting back in ;)

Grandmère Mimi said...

David, LOL. We were not good at child-proofing our house either. We had ours plus the neighborhood kids.

Ann said...

I think I am better at being a grandmother than a mother - was such a pushover most of the time. That is expected of grandmothers - but our kids all turned out to be great parents. oh well.