One of the most exciting things (so far) about being a parent is when you see elements of your own personality begin to reveal themselves in your child. Whether it’s nature or nurture, suddenly having more than just the color of your eyes in common with your kid is just awe inspiring – and reminds you that there is this little person who has huge parts of you inside them.
I remember when I was a little kid, going to the movies and being swept up in the magic of the story and the characters. I didn’t just want to watch them, I wanted to BE them. And, I WAS them, for a while, in my head, even after I put on my coat and walked out. I was until I emerged from the dark mystery of the theater and blinked my eyes back into reality.
Max has developed that longing as well. Each time we go to a film, he sits still on my lap and watches the screen – never a word or request or complaint – just being swept up in the story. And, as we are leaving, he informs me of his new identity. For a while it was Wall-e. For the past month or so, he’s been the super dog, Bolt “I have heat vision,” he let me know casually.
Today, we saw ‘The Tale of Despereaux’ about a brave little mouse. (Actually, it was the SECOND time he had seen it.)
I was annoyed throughout the movie by a boy, significantly older than Max, sitting near us, who continued a commentary about what was happening onscreen (certainly not using his ‘inside voice’) and slurped his soda so loudly, I could have sworn it was through a microphone. He made TWO requests of his mother to get up and refill his soda from the concession stand (and SHE DID IT TWICE).
Meanwhile, Max just sat and watched.
As the credits rolled and I got our jackets together, Max turned to me seriously and said, “I am no longer Bolt. I am now Despereaux. And, I am very brave.”
I played along, as I always do. I commented on how loyal and courageous he seemed. “Yes,” said Max, “And, I am a gentleman.” (A pivotal line from the movie.)
As we drove home, Max asked if he could have the last donut hole from the bag of donuts we
sneaked brought into the theater.
“I don’t know,” I said, “You’ve had a lot of junk.”
“Well, I am a mouse now,” explained Max, “Mouses eat junk.”
“Hmmmm….” I was not convinced. “I thought mice ate cheese and crumbs. I don’t think they eat donuts.”
“Some mouses eat crumbs,” said Max. “Some eat donuts. I am a donut-eater mouse.”
Faced with such stunning logic, how could I refuse him?