The arty, trendy, foreign-film showing cinema in Oxford has a weekly screening just for parents with babies under one. It is, rather forbiddingly, called 'the Big Scream'. Lumpy took me there a couple of weeks ago to see an appropriately gentle animated French film, The Illusionist.
To my complete surprise, it was a deeply relaxing experience. Lumpy fed contentedly for about half an hour, and then fell asleep in my arms, only waking as the credits were rolling. There were a few minor outbursts from other babies - just mini squawking fits, and wahwahmmma-mmaa-mmmaaa's, really - nothing too distracting, and since the film was largely silent, the surrounding noise-level barely mattered.
I left feeling like I'd done an hour's yoga followed by a nice doze. I vowed to go to every showing that I could - cinema is, after all, the thing they say you miss the most after having a baby, so this seemed the best chance to get my fix without having to use up valuable Lumpy escaping time. Then I saw what was showing the next week.
The Girl Who Played With Fire. Part 2 of the Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson's notoriously violent, dark trilogy of novels.
This presented a few issues. To be exact:
1) Part 2. I hadn't read any of the books, or seen the first film. Another new mum told me that I really shouldn't see the second film without having read or seen the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as this would clearly lad to death, destruction, famine, disaster, and random things exploding whenever I walk past. Thus began a rather desperate and sleep-deprived attempt to read a 533 page novel in four days. In the past, this wouldn't have been too much of an issue. Books are good. I like books. Books are my thing. However, since the arrival of Lumpy, books and I have become sadly estranged. Lumpy is strangely jealous of these papery rivals, and starts quacking indignantly whenever he picks up the scent of pages turning. I used to read a lot before bed, but now bed=sleep. Or rather bed=place to attempt sleep while baby grunts and growls and guuhhh-guuhh-snaaarrrks 10 inches from your head like a herd of rutting warthogs. I tried. I really, really tried, but reading just wasn't happening. Even replacing my usual breastfeeding watching of daytime trash TV with clumsy one-handed reading only allowed me to get to page 134 (and end up with much squirted and regurgitated milk all over myself and everything within a few metres range).
2) Swedish. Hence, subtitles. Which in one way=good, as there's no need to hear anything going on, when all of the babies in the audience start howling because of 3) below. Not so good when having to constantly look down and try to work out why your baby is distressed because of 4) below, thus missing vital elements of the plot. Which you already don't particularly understand because of 1) above.
3) Notoriously violent. Which included lots of jumpy unexpected attack moments, leading to leaping of mothers, causing the startling of babies. Result=Big Scream. Hurrah, cinema. See where you were going with the name, there.
4) Dark. This is, very literally, a dark film. I couldn't see a bloody thing, which meant Lumpy got a nipple in the eye more often than in the mouth.
Also, lesbian sex. My son got to see lesbian sex at two months old. He was riveted. God help us in 16 years time.