"But I wanna go wif you to the movies, Bapa!"
Ok, so that is all it really takes for me to be convinced that a night at the drive-in with just me and my four-year-old is a good idea. He and I have done this several times before, but as he gets a little older the drive-in nights change ever so slightly. For example, he is potty trained now and is almost militant about using the potty. Unlike his Bapa, who can hold it until the movie is over, the little guy wants to go when he wants to go. We are encouraging him to do so, which means multiple trips to the bathroom during the movie. Buying him a medium Sprite to have during the film does not help either.
My grandson plays with his Kindle for most of the movie. While that might seem odd or even annoying to some people, I completely understand it. He loves being at the drive-in. He doesn't need a movie to be at the drive-in, he just wants to be at the drive-in. That runs in his blood, so I definitely understand that.
But for me, the movie is the thing when we go to the drive-in and flying solo with my four-year-old can be a challenge. There are bathroom trips every 10 minutes or so, and usually right when something interesting in the plot is happening. He also has this uncanny ability to need to go to the bathroom right as an important plot reveal is about to happen. So, I get to handle those all night long.
Aside from him playing on his Kindle, which he does at a low volume and without any issues, he also delivers these lines all night long:
"Are we going home now?"
"I'm ready to go home."
"When is this going to be over?"
"Is this over yet?"
He cycles through these all night long, and usually before the movie ends he moves himself into his booster seat to try and let me know, even more emphatically, that he is tired and wants to go home. I tell him he is more than happy to fall asleep in his seat, but he is more interested in getting the car moving than anything else.
Kids are like a round of golf. For 17 holes, they throw you off-guard, make plenty of disparaging comments, and generally indicate that they would rather be doing something else. But on that 18th hole, they always provide the par that makes you realize it was all worth it. When the movie ended, as we were preparing for bathroom trip number four, my little one lets out with:
"That was a good show! I really liked that!"
It's okay little one, we are coming back again next week.
George N Root III is a grandfather who makes sure at least one of his grandchildren carries on the family's love of the drive-in. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at email@example.com.