1. Look out the window, see that it’s raining, and announce a cinema trip.
2. Consider spending two minutes booking online, but decide to wing it instead. Who’d want to forfeit the adrenaline buzz that goes with rushing in to the cinema at the last minute, risking that it’s booked out.
3. Bundle everyone into the car much later than planned, because that’s just how it goes every time, every when, every where.
4. Race into the cinema, fumble with touch-screen booking, fumble with credit card, fail to get good seats. Regret not booking online.
5. Pull toddler out of wrong theatre and find correct one.
6. Stumble through darkness, searching for seats, trying not to lose any kids.
7. Find correct row, strategically bookend kids with adults, because you know how this parenting thing works.
8. Watch two ads, one for fast food, one for ketchup.
9. Toddler says he’s hungry; tell him to wait until the film starts.
10. Film starts.
11. Toddler asks for food again, one minute into film. Give him a packet of jellies.
12. Other children ask for jellies too.
13. Knock over handbag and spill packets of sweets all over the cinema floor.
14. Wonder briefly if this is Karma because of breaking the golden cinema rule: do not smuggle in packets of sweets.
15. Gather up handbag contents and pass jellies to other children. Toddler therefore wants more sweets, because he has since finished his.
16. Distract toddler by pointing out what’s going on in the movie. That will work for about eight seconds, especially if the film is PG and of no interest to him whatsoever.
17. When toddler starts playing with seat and inevitably hits himself in the mouth, stifle his roar with a packet of Maltesers.
18. Ignore dagger looks from sibling who keeps saying “Mum, mum – why did he get Maltesers?” and can no longer follow the film because all she can think about is Maltesers and unfairness.
19. Insist to everyone that there are no more sweets.
20. Try to restrain toddler who is going through handbag looking for sweets.
21. Do all of this without unduly annoying the people behind, beside and on front. Fail miserably.
22. For fear of being lynched by other cinema-goers, give toddler a third packet of sweets.
23. Worry about dental extractions, but accept that it’s better for him than having a mother who was lynched.
24. Panic when toddler announces “I go home now” and walks off towards the door.
25. Retrieve toddler, whispering in his ear about going home soon, how great the film is and being good. When none of that works, break out the last packet of sweets.
26. When the film ends, carry the kicking and screaming toddler out of the cinema – he is now so hopped up on sugar, he can’t walk straight and has completely lost the plot.
27. Chat about how great the film was on the way home in the car, to make sure everyone remembers it as a fantastic outing.
28. Answer some tough questions about Maltesers.
Enjoy your trip to the cinema!