FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Monster’s University

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 31•13

DSCN1134D and I saw Monster’s University the first week of summer. It was the first day we were both out from school–D from pre-school and me from high school–and without a plan, my default idea was to go and see a movie.

Monster’s U was only the second movie D has seen at a theatre. The first was The Muppets when he was three. D lasted 42 minutes, but he became a huge muppet fan from watching the movie many times at home.

L and I have not taken D to movies because he is overstimulated by noisy environments, so I was curious to see how he would respond to the loud audio in a blockbuster animation film.

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We had watched Monster’s Inc. the night before at home, so I was either guilty for allowing excessive media consumption (true) or creating an awesome thematically unified double-feature movie opportunity (true).

The volume for Monster’s U was excessively high from beginning to end. D covered his ears with his hands and squirmed non-stop in his seat. It was uncomfortably loud for me too, but I managed to tolerate the volume.

I consider myself to be a sensory “sensitive” dad by learning from D’s occupational therapist and doing my own reading to understand how his body is different from other kids.

L and I watched a documentary Graham’s Story recently on the sensory challenges of a boy slightly older than D–and there were a many similarities between Graham and D.

But I completely ignored the signals his body was sending off. He sprang out of his seat after ten minutes. His senses were overwhelmed, but I cajoled him to sit back down.

He was engrossed in the movie despite the volume, but really it was me that didn’t want to miss any of the movie. This was how “sensitive” I was to his sensory system being on overdrive.

The next time I looked over at D, his body was convulsing as if he was in a prison electric chair. However, I was still more concerned with watching the movie than giving D a sensory break.

Soon thereafter he sprang out of his seat and ran towards the exit. His senses had reached their limit, and it was impossible to remain in denial that he was on sensory overload.

So we took a break in the lobby, and when we returned, Sully, Mikey and the Tri Lambdas were competing in the Scare Games to become the top scarers at Monster’s University.

It was hard to get back into the story line of the movie, but I liked how Mikey, a lime-green ball with one eye and pencil-thin limbs, accepted his physical limitations, yet never gave up his dreams of being a top scarer.

He was intelligent and a loyal friend to Sulley, a big, blue wall of fur, and he reminded me a lot of D, and I saw glimpses of myself in Sulley, due to his large size in comparison to Mikey.

I liked how Mikey served as a trainer for Sulley and motivated the talented but overly confident monster to live up to his natural ability that he might have without Mikey’s support.

He had a gift of gab, a charming personality, and a talent for bringing out the best in his Sully.

I wasn’t sure what D thought of the movie since he squirmed through most of it. Yet, he began calling me Sully and himself Mikey in the next couple weeks, just as he called me Gary and himself Walter after watching The Muppets.

This showed me D’s perception of the movie and our relationship: it was a friendship tale. And we spent the next couple of weeks scaring each other or his friend C from across the street.

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