Taking a child for their first trip to the cinema is always an experience.
I use that term in the same way you might describe going to the dentist: It has to be done but you know it might be painful and end up costing more than you were counting on.
As my youngest son is now three we decided that half term was the ideal opportunity. After all, as soon as the kids break up, there’s always some animated extravaganza that movie bosses know you’ll find impossible to resist after six days of rain and non-stop fighting over Lego.
We chose Zootropolis, a Disney action adventure movie that I saw enough of to feel sure I’d recommend it highly.
Although only just – because at least 60% of our cinema-going experience was spent in the toilets.
Why it is that small children would choose to stand underneath a hand dryer and mess about with the soap dispenser instead of watching a clearly excellent movie specifically designed for them is anyone’s guess.
It wasn’t like I was forcing him to watch Question Time with a University Challenge chaser. The film was brilliant - with funny characters, loads of jokes and action galore. Exactly the kind of stuff he usually loves.
Yet every time it got to a particularly exciting bit, or a tense bit, or a quiet bit, he’d turn to me and say (loudly): ‘MUM I NEED A POO’.
Before we’d left the house, I am fairly certain that if I’d said excitedly: ‘I know, let’s spend the afternoon in a lavatory tearing squares of loo roll off one by one!’ he’d have been a lot less enthusiastic at the prospect.
Yet, that’s what we did for most of the movie. I paid Odeon cinemas the price of three children and two adult tickets, along with the cost of parking, pick n mix and the popcorn I swore I wasn’t going to have. Believe me, that is not a cheap afternoon out.
In the two hours we were there, we tallied up three number ones, one number two and two false alarms, if you can follow that maths conundrum.
Which is still a fairly monumental effort for one small boy and proved that he wasn’t JUST messing about.
What is it in biology exactly that concentrates all of a child’s toiletary functions into the exact two hours when you’ve just paid handsomely for them to be sitting watching a film?
Is there some kind of diuretic in popcorn and pick ‘n’ mix? Answers on a postcard please…