Off To The Movies With Your Baby
A few weeks ago, and while watching a TV show about parenting on a German channel, I was taken by a scene shot in a cinema full of parents with their teeny tiny little bundles of joy. After a bit of googling here and there, I was introduced to “Kinderwagenkino“, which literally translates into: ‘Baby Stroller Cinema’.
The concept is to have movie theaters offer baby-friendly showings of brand new movies, to parents with infants and children under 2 years of age. So participating cinemas would specify certain times for these showings and would of course take into consideration babies’ sensitive ears and eyes by lowering the volume and dimming the lighting. The cinemas will also accommodate parents’ needs by providing a changing table inside the theater, (some theaters may provide couches for parents & babies to stretch on and relax) in addition to a designated area to park the baby’s stroller indoors right next to the entrance.
To be honest I was a bit jealous and envious of German parents. And for some weird reason, I didn’t dig deeper, I just let it go and went on as if I never heard of it in the first place… so unlike me :/
Anyways, a few days later, my husband took our older son to the movies, and they came back with a surprise; a flyer titled: “Stars & Strollers“. Which was exactly “Kinderwagenkino”, but Canadian version.
I was over the clouds. I got online, and after viewing what was available for that week, I decided to go for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”.
I took my 15 months old boy, and head to the nearest available “Stars & Strollers” location, got my ticket, skipped the popcorn, because I knew better than having a big temptation like that near my curious boy (ordered a latte instead) parked the stroller, and got inside.
It was baby heaven! I saw parents with babies as little as 3 weeks old. My boy was so excited too.
Now unlike almost all moms and dads who came with a play date for their babies, I came solo, not only that, but I made sure I picked the most isolated spot in the theater… a very very wise thing to do if you’re seeking ultimate relaxation and high control of your child 😉 I knew in advance, babies this young will keep crying, which I don’t mind at all, from a distance that is, but right next to me, it wont only annoy the hell out of me, it’ll also trigger my curious boy, who’s really a handful to begin with. So rule of thumb: the farther the better .
The movie was so nice, I laughed a lot, although I think part 1 was funnier. And boy don’t Arabs and Greeks have a lot in common!
I was able to sip my coffee safely and in peace when my little one fell asleep (another great tip: feed baby at home, give herbal tea at theater, works like a sleeping pill 😉 )
You can say my boy was one of the very well-behaved babies in the room… except for the last 50 minutes that is 😀 he woke up to the screaming of a very cranky baby, felt way too restless to stay in one place, so I just copied other parents and held his tiny arms trying to walk him around, and since I got myself a fantastic spot, I had plenty of room to walk him back & forth, up & down the stairs, and seat him in other chairs for a change. It was really exhausting for me, but I enjoyed it, and so did he.
To wrap it all up: “Starts & Strollers” is a great experience, but I believe, to make the best out of it, babies should be around 3-7 months old, when they usually sleep a lot, don’t move much and are way much easier to control and calm down. After that, if your child is like mine, then it’d be a bit challenging to keep them content and quite, and it will definitely be exhausting because they would want to keep moving around.
Younger than 3 months of age would work best if the volume was a bit lower, it was great for my 15 months old, but for 3 months and younger I think it’s still a bit too loud.
The lighting was dimmed just enough to suit all ages without taking away the theater ambiance, I loved it.
Another issue I had was the timing, almost all participating theaters around me have the showings at 1 or 2 p.m. which is horrible for parents who have to pick their other kids from school. I hope Cineplex would consider changing the showtimes to 11 a.m. or 12 p.m.
It’s really a shame I didn’t learn about this earlier, that’s why I’m writing to help spread the word. It sure isn’t as comfortable and as amusing as when you’re without your baby, but it surely is wonderful to have this option of going with your baby every now and then. Has a very different taste to it. I highly recommend it!