On Tuesday, while playing at the playground inside the mall, Jerry found a kid that was seriously his perfect playing companion. I was pissed that we were there, but more on that in a sec.
Normally when we go to the playground Jerry just wanders around looking for kids to chase and shouts commands like, "You climb up here" and "Chase me." Kids ignore him. But it was different with this kid we found at the mall. Within about three seconds of our arrival, the kid was chasing Jerry around in a circle, fists clenched, shouting incomprehensible commands. They traveled at exactly the same speed, so neither of them ever caught up with the other. This continued for about 30 minutes. Nonstop chasing. It was as if they found their playing soulmates, and never exchanged a single word.
So why did we end up in the mall playground, a place I'd rather avoid?
During the summer the movie theater at the mall shows free kids flicks. Tuesday was our first time going - Elmo in Grouchland seemed like a good first film for Jerry's first big screen experience. Doors opened at 9:30am, and we arrived just then. We got the standard movie fare - popcord and soda. No matter that it was only 10 am, we had to do this thing right. So we had a lot of time to spare before the movie began. I tried explaining how big the screen was, and how it was going to get dark, and other things he asked me about.
Then at about ten minutes before ten, it happened. The normal pre-movie music that was playing stopped and the audio for a preview started. It was weird because the lights hadn't gone down and there was no picture on the screen yet, but it was most definitely a preview for a grown-up scary movie. Then the picture appeared on the screen. Dark Water. Although this only lasted about 10 seconds, the damage was done. If this was what going to the movies was like, Jerry didn't want to partake. He was frightened. I mean, come on, he's only three. Over the next two minutes I tried to calm him down, and I think I had him convinced when another preview came on, this time for The Island. Apparently pictures of waves and the mug of Scarlett Jo-whatever can be scary with the right music. No matter that all the other more experienced movie-going children seemed to want to stay. Jerry was so over it. It only took about 15 seconds of scary adult thriller movie previews to ruin our first movie together.
So I left the theater with Jerry, ticket-taker explaining that they were "experiencing a problem", feeling pretty pissed off, vowing to write a strongly worded letter, deciding to play at the inside mall playground, finding the perfect playground partner, forgetting all about the scary movie...