Ben worked diligently all day today to prepare the basement for the evening's family entertainment. He was planning a viewing of our latest Netflix pick, Enchanted. He made tickets for everyone (which were perforated), set up the sofas in a theater configuration (littles had to sit on a sleeping bag down in front), popped popcorn and found enough cups with lids to serve soda to everyone. Then he decorated the basement with a Fairy Tale theme - lots of castley type things around. Once the theater doors were "open" he stood at the foot of the basement steps collecting tickets which he then placed in the cars of his younger brothers' electric Thomas trains. As soon as everyone was seated, he started the train which chugged the tickets along the track and disappeared into the door of a small castle. It reminded me of my years with Mr. Rogers and his Neighborhood of Make Believe. Once the train was safely parked in the bowels of the castle, Ben made the popcorn appear through the hole under a coffee table. He served up individual servings in paper cones he'd made just for the occasion.
We were allowing the viewing of the movie to happen sight unseen which was a bit unusual for us. Generally, Tad and I like to preview even G-rated movies before we show them to the littles but this had gotten enough thumbs up reviews from reputable sources that we made an allowance for Ben's evening of fun. We did all enjoy the movie. It was heavy on the various Fairy Tale themes which we have never over-emphasized with our children so some of the humor may have been lost on them. JT was disheartened that there were kissing scenes (how can you have a Fairy Tale movie without the obligatory kiss of true love?!). Ben paused the movie about halfway through to run the train down the track again, this time carrying coins that each of the children found in the bottom of their paper popcorn cones, and distribute seconds on the snacks. The littlest ones were frightened by the rather dramatic witch scenes which is one element of Fairy Tales we have always tried to avoid but this witch definitely made evil look like evil and she was vanquished in the end by the triumph of Love.
It was a wonderfully inventive evening and Ben made a very gracious host. It was fun to be the beneficiary of his imaginative energies!