We were out in the car on Friday, screaming down the highway on our way to track, when we passed some horses in a field.
"Look! A dead horse!" shrieked Dominic. "OHMYGAWD!"
We all look across the highway at the field, shocked. The dead horse is actually a little colt, lying on the ground under his mother, sleeping. He definitely does not look dead - his mother looks far too calm about that little body lying there. All the rest of the horses look far too calm about that little body lying there. We see his tail suddenly flick.
"It's not dead, it's sleeping!" FDPG says indignantly. "Honestly, can't you tell a dead horse from a sleeping horse?"
"Yes I can! Can you?" Dominic replies, equally indignantly, smugly unaware of the illogicality of his logic.
"Stop arguing, you two. The horse is sleeping, didn't you see his tail flick?" I say.
"Hah, right," I hear Dominic mutter.
"What did he say?" whispers FDPG.
"Nothing," I say, sighing. "Nothing at all."
And so we drive on down the highway. This kind of conversation happens to us regularly: Dominic convinced of something, FDPG equally convinced of his mistakes, the two of them nattering away at each other, me in the sorry sorry middle.
Like the time we went to the movies. It was four years ago. The twins were six years old.
(this post first appeared in 2008)
I took the kids to see WALL-E today. It was one of those rainy-ish days here, a day when I felt too dispirited to work in the garden and the kids were at loose ends with themselves. A perfect day to see a movie. But as so often happens, the best part of the movie was what was happening around the movie, rather than the movie itself.
Here's how it all started. We're at the ticket counter, where FDPG has hauled herself up across the counter to peer into the cash register as the girl gave me my tickets. She has her little bum sticking out and her stomach squished by the effort of clutching herself against the counter. She knows I hate it when she does that (she always flashes her underwear going up and coming down). "Oh wow, look at all that money!" she shrieks delightedly, "can I have some?" She then chortles at her own wit. The ticket girl regards her nervously. I stare at the movie posters in the opposite direction. You'd think we never go anywhere.
I've got the movie passes from Costco, which means that a bunch of
greasy sugary junk food stuff my kids love accompanies the ticket: popcorn, pop, and a - gasp - Kinder Egg. So we line up for this. When the girl comes to take our tokens and drink order, my kids are paralyzed by the deliciousness of it all. Do they choose some tooth-dissolving Coke? Burp-producing root beer? Dubious-looking iced tea "blends"? Or something called Fruitopia, which is impossible to explain to a clutching 6 year old in a noisy crowded room. "One is pink," I shout, "and the other is orange!" Our food girl is clearly irritated with all this gaiety, and when I ask if the clear, greasy fluid she is about to drench our popcorn with is butter, she snaps "Of course it isn't, it's BECEL. Butter's extra!" "What?" I say, unable to make out much beyond "of course...it's extra.". "It's MARGARINE! Butter is EXTRA!" she bellows. The customers around us fall silent and we all stare at her. I decide that we should probably cut and run, but she's one step ahead of me, having dumped the kiddie trays on the counter and moved on to the man behind me, all without saying a word. Wowee zowee, Batman, I think. That girl sure does like her job.
Then I have to figure out how to get two trays of overloaded popcorn down the hall, up the staircase, down another hall, and into a pitch-black room, all without spilling a single bit, because if I do I just know one of the twins will shriek "I don't want the one that lost all the popcorn!" Never mind if they spill it all; but heaven help me if I spill it all. Fortunately Max is both able to negotiate this all on his own AND be a very calming presence. "Twinnies!" he says imperiously, "follow me!"
And off we go. Max leads us into The Dark Knight at first, hoping
I'm more of an idiot that he could dare to imagine I won't notice, but the fact that the movie had already begun tipped me off. Nevertheless, we pause on the edge, until some very alarming action scenes scare the (under)pants off FDPG. Back out into the hallway, we see our own theatre: #9.
Ignoring Max's pleas to sit in the nosebleed seats, we settle somewhat in the upper middle, near the end of the aisle in case FDPG has to pee (because she always does). I sneak popcorn from Dominic's tray until he puts his hand over mine and says, rather sanctimoniously, "I'm trying to save this for the movie." Drats. I turn to FDPG and try to sneak some of hers. She's so busy stuffing great handfuls of the stuff into her mouth and darting her eyes around the room that she doesn't notice my hand snaking in. And so we eat. We admire the new containers the Kinder Egg people are now using. Dominic demonstrates how easy they are to open. Max demonstrates how easy they are to open. FDPG demonstrates how easy they are to open, dropping her card pieces from inside on the floor in the process. I pick them up while FDPG wonders aloud if she will be able to sell all her old containers on Ebay. She wonders aloud how old the teen-age girls two seats in front of us are. She wonders if they smoke cigarettes like Paper Mouth Man down the street. I see their necks stiffen somewhat as she says this. We admire the nice lights in the theatre and FDPG asks me, at the top of her lungs, if I wished I had them in our house. Then she asks me if I went pee before we sat down. Again, at the top of her lungs. The boys start giggling at this point, the teen-age girls no doubt making mental notes never to have children, and Dominic drops half his popcorn down between the seats. And the movie hasn't even begun.
We watch a short trailer about a super dog with John Travolta's voice, named Bolt. It's sort of funny. Then there is another trailer that features a very amusing hamster that has us all cackling. After it's over, FDPG says, at the top of her lungs, "Was that it? That was short! Where was WALL-E?"
The Disney castle promo appears at this point, Tinkerbell waving her magic wand around the castle and lighting up the night. Dominic yells, at the top of his lungs "Look! There's Hogwarts!!!!" which causes the teen-age girls to start giggling. "That's not Hogwarts," I whisper, "it's the Disneyland castle." "What?" says Dominic, peering at me skeptically, eyes narrowed, convinced I am oh-so-wrong. I have a sudden vision of him as a deaf, grouchy old man. We glare at each other in the dark for a few seconds, until he mutters, "Hah, right." "What did Dominic say?" asks FDPG. "Nothing," I reply. "Are you sure?" she says. "Shush," I say. "I could have sworn you said something to him, oh well, guess you're too grouchy to tell me about it," she says. I stare at her while she stuffs yet more popcorn into her mouth, wondering how she got so bossy - and mouthy.
Fortunately the movie started right about then. Finally. We settle, the kids slurp and chew. Periodically Dominic is completely confused by certain aspects of the film and asks me to explain it all. He thinks that EVE is actually 2 different white objects. He doesn't like - or agree with - my explanations. Each time he says something FDPG asks me what Dominic said and what I'd said in reply, peering closely at Dominic the entire time. At some point I start laughing uncontrollably, and all three kids ask me what is so funny. Everything, I say.