Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

Another fine mess - the recline and fall of a positive parenting moment



The stars are in alignment and everyone’s in the kitchen at once, with no immediate plans, and someone suggests the novel idea of “a family outing to the cinema”. (It wisnae me, I know better than to try and herd these cats.)

So off we trot, bickering happily, to see Stan and Ollie, family humour, should suit everyone. Middle Child, who is the vanguard on the escalators is lost to us when the rearguard jump off to buy cheap snacks and avoid the ruinous cinema prices.

“Mother, don’t worry, he’s in his twenties!” says Youngest. “Now, let’s get a multipack of wee bags of popcorn instead of a bucket – to stop us fighting,” she says. “And water, not fizzy drinks”. That’s me not getting a Diet Coke then.

Sure enough, Middle is waiting sensibly at the cinema when we arrive.

“Went to get snacks,” says Eldest, authoritatively, “did you just keep walking? Ha, ha.”

“Oh, did youse not bring your own snacks?” retaliates Middle, producing a Tupperware box from his sheepskin car coat, stuffed to the brim with gummy pig faces and mini party rings, topped off with one or two grapes.

“Ridiculous,” says Eldest.

We take our seats, Eldest and Youngest to my left, Middle to my right. Pressing the recline button, we watch our feet elevate and relax, apart from Middle who declares “no, I never do the recline… Don’t. Do. The. Recline.”

OK, whatever.

The film’s is set in 1950s Britain, and there aren’t many laughs, so while I’M Really enjoying it, I’m wondering if the children are hating it, as my eyes start to close. This despite the loud rustling of Youngest and Eldest with the multiple popcorn bags causing Middle to splutter “‘Sake!” and sigh next to me (or is that the sound of discreet opening of Tupperware?). That’s me not eating MY individual bag of popcorn then.

“They are RIDICULOUS… eating popcorn in the cinema…” is the last thing I hear.

Next thing it’s lights up and all three are blinking back tears. “Mum! You missed the best bit, when they resolved their relationship…”

“That was class,” they all agree.

Never mind, parenting points have been amassed, and when it’s suggested we make it a regular thing, the arm of the parentometer swings round wildly…

There’s only one problem with this plan – how do I stay awake?

“I told you,” says Middle. “Never, ever Do The Recline.”