How to train your toddler to like dragon movies

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE going to the movies. So when a neighbor with a three year old son told Joe that she’d started taking the boy to screenings at age two, my well-intentioned husband’s head gears got cranking.

I’ve missed going to movies terribly, which Joe knows, and to his thinking, taking Lily to films would be a means for me to go to a theater more often – albeit to movies with lots of fart jokes, talking animals and animation.

Anyway, with this in mind, Joe’s been watching the marquee at the nearby second-run theater like a hawk, waiting for kids’ summer fare to arrive. And indeed, the hit “How to Train Your Dragon” showed up recently.

He showed Lily the trailer online, and she wasn’t much interested (not surprising – if something doesn’t feature herself, Elmo, or Abby Cadabby, she could generally take it or leave it). He tried about three times, and her expression essentially questioned why Daddy was bothering with this nonsense.

I watched it more closely, of course, and thought it looked a bit too dark and sophisticated for her. The one sort-of movie experience we’d had with Lily was at the library down the street. We’d just been there, as we often are, for no other reason than that Lily wanted to visit. When they announced they were going to start showing the live action version of “Charlotte’s Web,” Joe and I shrugged and thought, “Well, let’s see how this goes.”

Lily surprised us both by sitting for well over an hour, wholly absorbed while watching a talking spider (which didn’t seem to scare her in the least), pig, horse, goose, rat, etc. 

Because of this experience, I had a decent idea about what she would probably respond to, and it wasn’t “Dragon.” But Joe’s hopes of getting me back into a movie theater, paired with an unbearably hot Sunday afternoon, caused us to walk our two year old daughter to the Civic Theater. We bought tickets, but because Lily had been her pokey little self about getting somewhere (and because she had no idea what we were taking her to), we were late.

The movie was playing, and we stood at the top of the stairs (Lily in my arms) for a long time, unable to see anything. After running into some people, our eyes finally adjusted, and we found a few seats. Joe leaned over to tell Lily that if she got scared, she just needed to tell us. (Oh, she will, I thought.)

We watched a conversation between the hero and his father, and then a scene between several young dragon-slayers-in-training began. The young ones were tested in a trial by fire (literally), with a real dragon coming after them. At which point, Lily waved her hand and said, “No. No. No.”

“OK. We’ll go,” I said. And just like that, we stood back up and left, heading back out into the searing heat. (I’d already considered the $10 spent in tickets to be our donation for the town-owned theater.)

Ah, well. Taking Lily to movies – and theater shows, for that matter – is indeed something that I just can’t wait to do. But I know it will be a while yet.

Which is OK. Better to appreciate each stage, including its challenges, as it comes.

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2 thoughts on “How to train your toddler to like dragon movies

  1. Sheila says:

    We plied ours with cotton candy and fruit punch during Toy Story 3. Worked a little too well! 😉

  2. […] movie theater to see if she might sit through “Toy Story 3″ (we’d previously had a failed attempt when taking her to “How to Train Your Dragon”). I thought it might be a good option for […]

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