Date night with a baby and a lizard

You should know what you’re getting when you sit down to watch a behemoth, radioactive lizard frolic around the Pacific rim. I had a hunch; I should have listened to it.

My wife and I hadn’t been out on a date in months. She wanted to see the new Godzilla movie, mostly because of Bryan Cranston. He wouldn’t jump from Breaking Bad into a ridiculously stupid movie, right? Right?

We dropped the big boys at the neighbor’s, but we kept the baby because my wife has a strange fetish with movie theaters. She’s not happy unless she can sneak in McDonald’s food or brazenly walk in with a tiny human who could go off at any moment. I drew the line at McDonald’s being part of our date.

The baby was incredibly quiet through the movie, except for a brief period when his foot got stuck under the arm rest. He did not infringe on anyone’s enjoyment of the film. I wish I could say the same thing for the film.

I don’t know why people are always trying to make a better Godzilla movie. I don’t know why we need a better Godzilla movie. A man in a lizard suit stomping on model army tanks is all I’ve ever wanted from Godzilla, and that was accomplished to perfection 60 years ago.

real Godzilla

Just roll in some toy army vehicles and we’ve got ourselves a movie.

I would issue a spoiler alert for what comes next, but the real spoiler will be seeing the movie theater charge show up on the credit card statement.

My wife felt cheated that Mr. Cranston was in less than half of the movie. She figured they must have run out of money to pay his huge salary at that point. My theory is that he saw the rest of the script and bailed. I have yet to figure out what his character added to the plot anyway, other than a crazy old man who turned out to be right, but so what? Crazy people are always right in movies.

Cranston cameo

“Oh my God! Is that the rest of the script? Run!” (Image: Warner Bros.)

My wife is much more charitable toward films than I am, but when the lights came up, her first words were, “Want to know all the problems I have with that movie?”

I don’t even remember all the problems. I do recall that after an EMP wave fried all the electronics in San Francisco, preventing the heroes from driving into the city, they were able to hotwire a boat at the dock with no problem. Yup, it fired right up, with spotlights on and everything.

Oh, and then there was the ultra-powerful atomic weapon that was detonated about 10 feet beyond the Golden Gate Bridge with no consequences to the city. Too bad they dragged all those puny Cold War atom bombs all the way out to remote islands. They could have used those for a fireworks show at Candlestick Park.

This would have been the worst Bryan Cranston movie ever, had he actually been in it. But that’s okay; we’ll probably have another date night next year.

Are there any Godzillas in the audience tonight?

Our four-year-old has to be the hardest working preschooler in the baby-entertaining business. He is forever putting on shows designed to make his baby brother giggle. It is demanding work, as his baby brother has a definite preference for physical comedy.

Big Brother throws himself around the room in a fit of slapstick, always seeking to add fresh elements to his act. The moves that get the best laughs from the baby are repeated until the poor boy is out of breath and must resort to making faces until he claims his second wind.

After wearing himself out entertaining his little brother, the big boy throws open his arms and shouts, “Thank you, thank you, thank you very much! Show’s over, good night!”

boy and baby playing on floor

When your fans get too excited about your performance, some of them may try to rush the stage. This is called audience participation.

But the show hasn’t ever been over, and I hope it never is. There’s nothing that compares to watching a boy work so hard to make his baby brother smile, unless it is watching the baby’s eyes glow with delight at the antics of his big brother. These are riches you can’t earn.

Having been both a little brother and a big brother, I understand that this era of good feelings won’t continue untroubled through the years. Increasing mobility leads little brothers into places within the carefully constructed worlds of big brothers where they become more annoying than cute.

The baby is already starting to form a black cloud around the horizon of his big brother’s world. He has developed a love for tearing up railroad tracks unseen since Sherman marched through Georgia. Whenever he can get himself near his brother’s train sets on the floor, he becomes a hatchling Godzilla, uttering baby dinosaur noises and throwing pieces of track over his shoulder with reptilian abandon.

baby tearing up railroad tracks

Oh, the humanity! Can civilization withstand the onslaught of marauding babies? Where is that other sock?

Naturally, Big Brother does not appreciate the damage that Baby Godzilla is doing to his ecosphere. He appeals to the Japan Self-Defense Force (a.k.a. Mom and Dad) for assistance. What Big Brother doesn’t understand, because he is neither a veteran of the JSDF nor a parent, is that the authorities have settled upon a program of appeasement when it comes to rampaging Godzillas. Consequently, he often gets responses like, “Let the baby play for a while. We’ll rebuild it.”

It’s frustrating watching your infrastructure being destroyed. So far, our big boy’s frustrations haven’t turned to resentment, but he doesn’t know what’s coming. He doesn’t know that he will begin to build more sophisticated, hence more vulnerable, worlds. He doesn’t know that his brother will soon be able to walk easily between them, tugging at linchpins and kicking cornerstones.

He will learn these things in time. They will be hard lessons. I hope that he will also learn that his little brother imposes himself into his world because his world is fun and interesting, and most of all because his little brother admires him and all that he can do. It is an admiration that he did so much to foster, back in the days when he did pratfalls to make his little brother smile.

Thank you, thank you, thank you very much! May this show go on for a very long time.