My Kid Talks A Lot -- Even in the Movie Theater
My son is a talker. He wakes up talking. This morning, after I realized he had crawled into our bed (he woke up half and hour early), he said, "I can't wait for tomorrow!!" He goes to sleep talking, sometimes in mid-sentence. He even talks in his sleep. He talks during his soccer games, regaling his teammates (who are actually trying to kick the ball) with funny observations or trying to get them to answer the proverbial question, "Guess what?" just so he can answer, "Chicken butt!" He talks in the bathtub, throughout dinner, and while he's peeing. We've suspected he's got the ADD since he was two, but since it isn't interfering with his academic success and doesn't seem to drive his teachers crazy enough to write notes home, we've decided to ride this out until we absolutely have to have him tested.
Given my own ADD and that of my husband's (which is significantly worse than mine, although he can tolerate the medication and I can't), we forget that our son might talk a lot in public, that he might talk too loud, or interrupt a lot, or impulsively shout a non-sequitur in the middle of a conversation. "Bananas!" Usually, it's hilarious or endearing and our son can laugh with us. Usually, we only take the kids to loud restaurants where their antics and voices won't detract from the ambiance or other patrons' dining experience. We eat a LOT of pizza.
Sometimes we go to the movies. Not often, but sometimes. Usually, we stay home and re-watch all of the Star Wars movies, but two weeks ago Iron Man 3 came out. The kids wanted to go on Friday and because we rarely have the pleasure of going to the movie theater, we enthusiastically said yes! Mind you, this was Friday night, the early (7:00) show, not a matinee. We probably should only see matinees, kind of like only going to loud pizza parlors. I'm aware that my son talks a lot during movies, both at home and in the theater. Usually we warn the people around us. We forgot on Friday.
Have you seen Iron Man 3? No matter. Like a crowded pizza restaurant -- well, really like 1,000 exploding California Pizza Kitchens -- it's LOUD! This particular enterprise has explosions in almost every scene. Lots and lots of blowing things up. My son was seated on the end of the aisle next to my husband, three seats down from me. My charge was to shield my daughter's eyes during the violent scenes (although she did witness one awful one that came unexpected), so I wasn't focused on my son's incessant chatting. I figured my husband had that under control. Of course, I didn't hear him at all (what with the explosions on screen), so it didn't occur to me that he was talking.
When the movie ended, we excitedly waited in our seats because we know that after every Marvel Comic movie, there's an Easter Egg after the credits. (An Easter Egg is a surprise scene hidden after the credits.) Sometimes it's a hint at the next sequel and sometimes it's just silliness. For instance, the Easter Egg in The Avengers (seriously, I'm not giving anything away if you haven't seen it) is a scene of the heroes silently devouring shawarma at a bombed out restaurant, fully dressed in their superhero costumes.
So there we were, flushed with the thrill of the movie, asking a bunch of questions about Pepper Potts, excited to see the Easter Egg when the bespectacled man in front of my husband, who was there with his middle-school-aged son, turned around and told Rick that a.) he didn't appreciate my son talking through the entire movie, and that b.) it was totally inconsiderate, and c.) it ruined the movie for him. I took my cue from my husband who quietly took the criticism and said he was sorry. Once the man turned back around, Rick said he was breathing through it. My blood was surging and I wanted to say something, but I didn't want to escalate the situation, especially in front of the kids. I looked over at my son to see if he understood what had just happened and he looked like I've never seen him before: slightly scared, a little embarrassed, trying not to cry, being brave.
With some distance I've been able to think about this situation a bit and decided that yes, my son should not have been talking through the entire movie, that yes, my husband should have tried harder to get him to quiet down, but I know he did try and I know my son just can't help it. He has no idea how to not talk.
So this is what I think: I think the guy should have noticed that a little kid was sitting behind him and considered the consequences of that choice of seat; I think the guy could have asked us to be quiet during the film rather than being passive aggressive after we couldn't do anything about it; I think he and his son could have picked up and moved -- there were plenty of empty seats in the theater; I think he could have taken my husband aside and not said what he did in front of my six-year-old son. I'll take the blame for my son's talky talkiness any day, but when enduring it is not the only answer, I'll defend the living crap out of him. He didn't mean to ruin this stranger's night. He's a little kid.
I guess we're back to matinees and warning the people around us in the movie theater that my son talks a lot. But I'm not ready to tell my son there's something wrong with him. We'll keep working on being considerate (and he is! He worries over his friends and helps them when they are hurt or sad, giving hugs and sitting with them. He's walking empathy!), but I refuse to crush his enthusiasm. The world will take care of that in due time, I'm afraid.