Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Go to the Movies With Baby

Having a new baby at home necessarily brings many changes to your life.  For the most part, these are welcome changes.  There's nothing in the world quite like loving, caring for, and watching your newborn grow.  However, there are some not-so-welcome changes that come along with your new baby as well.  For example, one common complaint I hear from first-time parents is the complete and utter lack of a social life that they now must deal with.  This can be difficult to adjust to, especially for a younger, under-30 couple that used to go out regularly.  After all, you're not going to be able to enter a bar or a really upscale restaurant with baby in tow!

Though you may have to give up your Friday night beer outings and your Saturday night 5-star restaurant meals, there are still some things you can do even with a new baby.  For instance, if you're an avid moviegoer, you'll be happy to hear that many theater chains in major cities across the country now offer daytime matinees that allow parents to bring babies to the show.  Here's what you can expect from one of these baby- and toddler-friendly outings.

One of the pioneers of baby-friendly movie showings was the Loews chain.  The program, called "Reel Moms", usually takes place once a week.  I believe the individual theaters select the day (it mostly seems to be Tuesdays in my area, but I'm not sure if this is a nationwide thing) for showing a first-run movie in the late morning at around 11:00 or 11:30 a.m.  From what I've seen, the movie selection changes pretty frequently.

Once inside the theater, you'll immediately know that this is not your typical movie experience.  First of all, there are changing tables set up in the back.  This is great because you can change baby without having to trek all the way to the bathroom and you won't miss any of the movie.  Second, the lights and sound aren't set to the same levels that they would be for a regular showing.  The lights merely get dimmed instead of going out completely, and the sound is turned down quite a bit so as not to hurt baby's sensitive ears.

The best part about this type of matinee is the fact that you'll get to see a variety of new movies in a great setting.  Everyone knows that certain movies were just meant to be seen on the big screen with popcorn and SurroundSound.  Sure, you could eliminate all the hassles of trying to get out of the house with baby by waiting patiently for new movies to come out on DVD, but what's the fun in that?  

Programs such as Reel Moms are a fantastic way for you to be able to do something fun without having to worry about leaving baby home with a sitter.  This kind of thing is also a wonderful break from the usual playgroup activities, so the next time you get together with other moms and dads, consider taking in a matinee with baby.

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