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Movie night with my daughter

My daughter went to her first movie at the Cozy Theatre last week. I'm not sure who was more excited: me or her! Naturally, Ally was excited to experience her first movie in a theater. I, on the other hand, was excited to have a night out! OK, I admit, I also couldn't wait to munch on the theater's delicious buttered popcorn.

Ally and I walked hand in hand into the theater. I was savoring every minute of this "movie date" with my 4-year-old daughter. As we pulled the Cozy Theatre door open, there sat Dave Quincer. I gushed to him how it was Ally's first movie. Again, I was more excited than Dave was.

Our next stop: the concessions stand. Ally's eyes grew big when she realized she could view all the candy under the glass. I told her she could choose one candy item. After making a quick scan, she selected a box of Mike & Ikes. Next, we ordered a small (yes, I had will power!) buttered popcorn to share. Then I told Ally as a treat she could have pop too. (I don't allow my kids to have pop -- I know, I'm a terrible parent!). Ally, in her "beyond-her-years" mature voice, said, "No thank you, Mommy, I'll just have water." Who is this child?!

As we carried all our treasured treats, we opened the door to the theater where "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" was about to begin. We had missed the previews. Thank goodness. Previews, in my opinion, are over-amped sensory rollercoasters that my 4-year-old didn't need. Oftentimes, the previews feature movies that are for older kids anyway.

The theater was packed with oodles of kids and parents. Ally and I settled into our seats in the back row. I made sure Ally sat behind a kid who wouldn't block her view. Ally was immediately mesmerized by the gigantic screen. "Mommy, that's a big TV," she said as she dug into her Mike & Ikes.

The movie, which was animated, was funny and entertaining, much like the first two "Ice Age" sequels. That is, until the T-Rex dinosaur emerged, causing Ally to crawl onto my lap. "Mommy, that dinosaur is kind of scary." I assured her that the Mommy dinosaur was upset because she'd lost her babies. She nodded her head and said, "OK, Mommy." It didn't help that a little boy in the theater, probably 2 or 3 years old, yelled every time a dinosaur reared its head. The poor kid's terrified yelling even made me a little uneasy.

Ally decided to stay on my lap the rest of the movie, which was fine by me. I blame myself for not doing a better job of researching this movie. But then again, I can't shelter my daughter from all that's scary in life. It's funny because one of her favorite movies that she watches at home is "Sleeping Beauty." Ally sings along to the songs and adores Aurora. In my opinion, the dragon in that movie is quite scary, but Ally doesn't seem a bit bothered by the fire-breathing creature. Go figure. Maybe there's something important about learning to manage and deal with fear and other emotions that movies and stories evoke.

I remember as a youngster going to the Lesdan Theatre in my hometown of Fosston to see Walt Disney's "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It was a special Christmas matinee for kids. I was so excited to go to town and see a movie in the theater.

Unfortunately, that film traumatized me for life! The "Child Catcher" in that movie really freaked me out. If you recall, the Child Catcher wore a black suit, top hat and had long, greasy black hair. He had this ugly, long nose which he was able to smell children and find where they were hiding. He carried a large net and a hook to catch them. He disguised himself as a candy salesman and tempted children with lollipops. Scary! In fact, I'm not allowing my girls to see that movie until they're at least 40!

When the "Ice Age" movie ended, Ally grabbed my hand and said, "Mommy, that was fun. Let's go to a movie again. But next time, Mommy, I want my own popcorn. You ate it all!"