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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, September 23

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Ah, the movies...

Remember before you had children, and you were at the movies when suddenly a baby would begin screaming right before the killer's name was revealed or the hero finally got the girl and you'd think, "What kind of a jerk would bring a kid to the movies?" Well, now you can be that jerk, but at this theater no one minds.

For many new parents, a movie and the smell of popcorn are a distant memory replaced by daytime TV and well, the smell of poop. Every Tuesday, however, you and your baby (newborn to one-year-old) can attend Lowes' "Reel Mom" program which, in spite of the name, is open to all moms, dads and caregivers. The movies shown are current releases, not cartoons or "kiddie" flicks; they cater to adults.

After logging onto and reading their FAQ which states, "No one cares if your baby cries because at any given time there could be several crying babies and no one seems to notice," I was intrigued. For people without children, the thought of sitting in a theater filled with crying babies may seem maddening, but for me, a crying baby was par for the course. The following Tuesday, with Vincent in tow, I headed out to the movies.

The box office opens an hour before the movie begins, which Lowes labels as time for "socializing and getting comfortable." When Vincent and I arrived at 10:15, we were the only people there. I mean crickets were chirping, but I figured it meant we could be as rambunctious as we wanted during the movie -- and by "we" I mean "he." By 10:50, however, the line of parked strollers was at least 30 deep.

Being the first ones there, we were able to watch everyone as they entered. Sure enough, mothers, caregivers and the occasional father walked in with their baby in arms, or in a sling or carrier. Many of them seemed to know each other from previous weeks and those who didn't still began chatting. It is a very friendly environment, but no one is hounding you for conversation either.

At promptly 11:00, the previews began to roll -- just like in the real movies! The lights of the theater were dimmed but not turned off, so you can see the movie as well as watch your baby. This way, you don't accidentally stick the bottle or your boob in your baby's eye or nose -- you know, not that I've ever done that.

Throughout the movie, babies slept, laughed, watched or -- ack! -- cried, but it was OK. Parents were able to walk around and soothe their babies and no one seemed to mind. What's really freaky is that Lowes is right. It may have been the popcorn or the entire movie-going euphoria kicking in, but you really don't notice the crying. I was able to hear everything going on in the movie, even through the surrounding symphony of crying and a mound of fussiness in my lap.

I noticed there were some uppity mothers who took up an entire row with all their baby stuff as if claiming territory, but there's bound to be difficult people anywhere you go.

So if you are a stay-at-home parent, or just want to play hooky during the day with your baby, you should head out to Lowes' "Reel Mom" days. It's not bad at all.

The Lowes Reel Mom Program
Every Tuesday morning in the following theaters:

600 North Michigan Theaters
600 N Michigan Avenue

Gardens at Old Orchard 1-6
220 Old Orchard Center

Streets of Woodfield
601 N Martingale Road

Woodridge 18
10000 Woodward Avenue

For more information visit their website:

GB store


Lyle From Lisle / August 22, 2004 12:59 AM

But what movie did you *see*? If it was COLLATERAL, did the tykes get agitated during the gunplay? If it was OPEN WATER, were they soon "sleeping like babies"?

Alex / August 22, 2004 8:58 AM

Well, two weeks ago it was "The Village", but I missed it. Last week it was the unfortunate chick flick "Little Black Book" which may explain the crying.

This week it's "Without a Paddle."

mw / August 23, 2004 3:51 PM

Too bad for parents who are not stay-at-home... I hope they add some weekend or evening times to their schedules.

Alex / August 23, 2004 5:30 PM

I know! I've gone back to work and won't be able to go anymore.

robin.. / August 24, 2004 5:00 PM

does the volume of movies "these days" seem super loud to y'all? loud enough that the still-forming hearing-hardware of baby might be, umn, fried? i speak not as a mother, and not as a prospective mother, but as someone with fried ears...

Alex / August 24, 2004 8:23 PM

They lower the volume during the baby screenings, but I agree -- regular screenings ARE LOUD! Eh? What was that?

robin.. / August 25, 2004 9:20 AM

EXCELLENT! i mean, excellent.


About the Author(s)

Alejandra Valera is a new mom and writer. If there's a baby- or kid-friendly place, product or event you think she should cover, email her at .

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