Anakin and Austen
Al and I went to see the last Star Wars movie tonight. I'll spare you my review (I enjoyed parts of the movie very much, others not so much, but as it's been analyzed to death in newspapers, magazines, and the blogosphere by now, I'm sure I'd be adding nothing new) and instead say a few words about what it was like to see it with Austen.
Overall he was very well behaved, and, except for the time he poked me in the eye, the time he bit me while nursing, and the time threw up on me, pretty good company. He watched the first 15 minutes or so quietly and without protesting the fact that I had my hands clamped firmly over his ears. (We found the sound level to be a little quieter in the back of the theater, where we'd moved after a few deafening previews, but I was still concerned that it was too loud for a 6-month old.) I then felt his body start to relax and asked Al to check his eyelids; Al indicated that they were wide open, and that he was watching intently. I had Al check two more times in the next 10 minutes, and the third time, he was definitely asleep.
I think he slept for about 15-20 minutes on my shoulder, and when he woke up, I nursed him on the right side. He was almost completely asleep—and I'd let the jacket I'd been pressing against his exposed ear slip—when Chancellor Palpatine let out a howl and attacked Mace Windu & Co. Austen started to howl right along with the Chancellor, and it took a minute or two to convince him that he was OK, that nobody was coming to attack him with lightsabers.
Once we got him chilled out again, he knelt on my lap for a while with his body toward me and his face toward the screen; it was very important, apparently, that he not miss anything. I then had Al hold him for a bit so he'd remember seeing Star Wars with his dad. When he fussed a little, Al handed him back, and I nursed him on the left until he bit me. At that point I tipped him up, and he watched a little more of the movie facing forward, barely glancing away as he threw up on me. I'm not sure what we missed in the frantic attempt to fish some kind of tissue, napkin, or towel out of the diaper bag; probably not much.
About the time that I started getting into the movie (I couldn't have cared less for most of it, but the last half hour sort of summed up all the backstory I'd heard about Star Wars between 1977 and 1999), Austen lost interest in it, and instead decided to focus on my face. He laughed, giggled, squealed, grabbed my nose, and poked me in the eye (hard enough to make my left eye water for several minutes, and it still hurts). I wished I'd put my glasses back on when Austen first removed them instead of handing them to Al, but I figured they had so many fingerprints on them that I wouldn't be able to see anyway.
We've been playing a game lately where whenever Austen shouts/growls/groans/auoogahs, I shout/growl/groan/auoogah back in exactly the same fashion, and at this point I think he decided that he would play it with the sound-effects-laden movie. At first he responded to the screen, and then, as I do with him sometimes, he anticipated the groans, shouts, and other sounds and managed to make the same ones in unison with it. Sometimes he also inserted his own sound effects, which is what eventually led me to take him down near the exit, so I could dash out if necessary. I didn't, because I wanted to see what was going on; Al said he could still hear Austen auoogahing (not surprising, since the theater was stadium style, and we were directly below where Al was sitting), and that his timing was sometimes hilariously spot-on.
We left the theater with Austen laughing, and he laughed and played in his carseat all the way home. There was only a little protest when Al put him to bed (Al ended up giving him a little speech about how all the images he saw tonight were just pretend, and that he shouldn't worry about them in his dreams), and he's been fast asleep since. All in all, a successful Star Wars outing.*
*Unless, of course, he wakes up at 2am screaming about the dark side, battle droids, or lava creeping up his legs.