So I picked up the girls from Texas almost a month ago and I am just now getting some time to write. And a lot has happened in that month. Elaina started Kindergarten and Gabriella started Pre-K. The girls are signed up for soccer. And I am crushing my new job and about to be promoted. Things are going well in the Calkins household. But as far as getting back into the routine of writing, I figured we should start with something small, like going to the movies. Good thing that The Lion King (live-action) was playing at the on-post theater… and that it was Pajama Night.
Every Friday (and sometimes Saturday), we partake in Calkins Family Movie night, which consists of Disney films (mostly), popcorn, and being bundled up on the couch. These are routine, easy, and fun for everyone.
Going to the movies, however, is a little more difficult, especially as a single Dad. There always seems to be a fight between siblings about which one got more M&M’s than the other, one always wants to leave in the middle while the other wants to stay, and that is not even getting into the cost of tickets and food nowadays. But Cochise Theater, the movie theater on Fort Huachuca, alleviates a lot of these issues. First, the majority of the theater is filled with kids (at least for kid’s movies), which means that usually there are a lot of kids acting out. While it may sound like a miserable experience, it makes it better because it lets me know that I am not the only one with a child acting out in a public place. Same thing goes with my girls talking during the movie. Every other kid is doing it, so we all just kind of understand that it is going to happen. If the girls want to go home, our house is only two minutes away, so we did not waste an entire evening if it does not work out. And lastly, it cost us $24.50 to see the movie on post, which got us the tickets, a large popcorn and large drink, Nachos (chips only), M&M’s, and Twizzlers (I am a Red Vines guy, but do not always get my first pick). Anyways, I love the on-post theater for a multitude of reasons.
I first noticed that they have Pajama Nights at the theater a couple months ago while the girls were in Texas. The girls have been really excited about it and this was the first night they have had one since they have been back. The girls got dressed up in their matching unicorn pajamas and they made me wear my pajama bottoms as well; they compromised by allowing me to wear a Star Wars shirt. After getting the backpack together of divided plates (so the popcorn and M&M’s do not mix), sippy cups of water, tissues, and jackets, we were ready to go.
The girls got even more excited once we got to the theater because of the army of kids (no pun intended) that were also in pajamas. They thought they were pretty hot stuff until they saw a mother and her two daughters dressed in unicorn onesies, horns and all. We paid for our food and drinks, grabbed their booster seats (which are both a blessing and a curse), and headed to our seats in the front row (the front row is past the stage at Cochise Theater, about fifty feet away from the screen, so these are not bad seats at all).
Overall, this was a very enjoyable experience. The girls loved their booster seats and the divided plates solved the melting M&M’s dilemma (“Curse you, Science!”). As a future veterinarian, Gabriella absolutely loved the movie; I did not have the heart to tell her that none of the animals were real. But considering they looked real, there were certainly some scenes that could give some kids nightmares (i.e. non-animated hyenas are terrifying). There was even a part during a song-to-chase transition that made me jump a little. The girls had a great time and are already planning out there wardrobes for our next excursion to the theater.
But the night was not all unicorns and rainbows (sorry; the Dad jokes just never end). About halfway through the movie, Elaina had her predictable emotional meltdown. She got upset because she felt I was not giving her enough M&M’s, then that I was giving more to Gabby than to her. She decided she wanted to sit on the ground, whereas Gabby took the opportunity to climb onto my lap, which only infuriated Elaina more. After about ten minutes of pouting, she calmed down and sat on my lap for about five minutes before sitting in her seat for the rest of the film. I mentioned earlier about the booster seats being both a blessing and a curse; this is because every single time the girls stood up, I had to readjust their booster seats. This got really annoying after about the tenth time. Anyways, the last 30 minutes flew by without incident and the post-movie dance party proceeded on schedule.
So Pajama Night went fairly well (by now, at least one incident every excursion out of the house is expected and prepared for) and the girls are already excited for the next one (September 6th, Dora and the Lost City of Gold). It took a few weeks, but we are finally back into our routine, which means you should start seeing more our adventures on these pages soon. Thanks for checking up on us and I hope your summers went well!