A major focus of our homeschool is an emphasis on the arts: fine literature, fine music, and fine art. We’ve been going to the Kennedy Center and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; both nearby classical music options, to take in concerts and shows. The BSO offers discount tickets for students under the age of 18, and outside of the daytime concerts where homeschoolers can sit in the balconies, I wanted to make a date with my oldest, my six-year-old daughter, the only one of my four kids who is actually homeschooling. I perused the offerings at the BSO and saw a show advertising movie experience alongside the orchestra, and Amadeus was the most appealing. I remembered watching the movie in school as a kid whenever my music teachers were absent and thought it would be an educational and enjoyable experience for my daughter.
The first hiccup in my plan was the fact that I’m breastfeeding my youngest daughter, and to be honest, I completely forgot about her when I purchased the tickets. I realized on my way out the door and snapped her into her car seat, hoping that she would sleep and nurse happily through the show, as she has during past shows.
After a while trying to find parking after the nearby lot filled up, we started on our walk to the BSO. We were dressed casually, my daughter in jeans and a sweater, me in a spit-up covered sweater and a casual skirt. I realized we were in trouble before we ever entered the building: everyone on their way to the same show was of a much older demographic and dressed very nicely. I assumed the 3 pm show of a movie I watched as a kid would be filled with families, but it was quickly clear that this assumption was very, very off-base.
We walked into the theatre and picked up our tickets, working our way against the throng of patrons, all giving us dirty looks. My daughter was excited and oblivious, the baby on my chest looking around quietly. It felt like someone had told us we were on our way to a costume party, and I was dressed like a ninja turtle, and only upon arrival did we realize it was a formal cocktail party.
We got into the elevator and I saw a program and realized my next problem: The show was four hours long. The first act was over two hours, there was a 20-minute intermission, and the next part of the show was an hour and a half. I remembered that we could watch the movie in about two class periods, although when I sat down and actually thought about it, I realized we never watched more than the first 45 minutes of the movie because it was just a movie shown at the last minute by substitutes. I assumed the movie was about an hour and a half.
By this point I was panicked, seated in the dead center of a row in the dead center of the balcony. If (and when) the baby started crying, I’d have to jump over half a dozen people to race out of the room. I didn’t want to take the experience away from my oldest and didn’t know how to extract us out of the situation without disappointing her. While I was still brainstorming an exit plan, the show began. And we were stuck.
Starting from the first scene, I knew something was off. This was not the movie I remembered from my conservative middle school that had once debated banning books like Lord of the Flies and the Bell Jar. One of the main characters was on the floor of a room, covered in blood from a clear suicide attempt. And it didn’t get any better, one of the next scenes featured who we would discover was Motzart, trying to undress and fondle his girlfriend before his show for the royal court. I spent a good part of the first half-hour of the show trying to quietly distract the baby while covering my oldest daughter’s eyes. I sat there hoping, in vain, that the baby would fuss and we could make an exit. But somehow, the baby was calm for an hour and a half. And I stewed in anxiety that I was traumatizing my daughter and would have a baby scream out, interrupting the show for hundreds of other people.
Eventually, the baby did make the slightest of peeps, and I took the opportunity to usher us all out of the theatre. We went to the concessions stand, where I plied my oldest with candy, cookies, and popcorn before informing her we wouldn’t be staying for the second act.
A few hours later, a Twitter follower informed me that there were two versions of the movie: the PG-version I was shown in school, and an R-rated director’s cut, a longer show, that was released years later.
My daughter’s first movie was Frozen II with her dad a few weeks ago. And her first movie with mom? An accidental R-rated feature with way too much gore and sexual content. If we’re being honest, the comparison perfectly represents how we parent.Published in