Sunday, December 23, 2007

'Tis the Season for Concerts and Recitals (and for good measure, a little public humiliation)

Haven with Uncle MRK at the dance recital

Because this time of year isn't already busy enough, I think it is always fun to throw in a lot of extras like dance recitals and orchestra concerts. And actually those are the things I look most forward to. Even though, at least in my house, they begin with a whole rush of panicky questions: did you find your dance shoes? what about your bow tie? where is your music? you have to be there when? you want me to iron that now? will you grab the video camera? do you have to eat dinner tonight? These questions and their sometimes unfortunate answers are usually followed by the frantic loading up of the van and a silent prayer that we've remembered everything.

It was fortunate that Sage and Haven's dance recitals took place on the same night (this is good because they take lessons from the same place but the groups get split up on different nights for the Christmas recital). They were, however, at different times--Sage at 5:00 and Haven at 6:00. Not too bad except for now I have to keep two little kids happy for 2 hours. But it was great! Sage promises to smile more next time and Haven promises to only dance when her class dances next time. She danced on the side-line through all of the performances and even lost track of her surroundings during the last number and danced herself out onto the stage nearly missing being stepped on or kicked by some older girls before she was shooed back off-stage. But it was her first recital and how can she help it if she is moved by the music?
And as much I love concerts, I am glad that both of the girls are in orchestra. That way we get a two-for-one. They both did an excellent job and played really well.
Savannah & her Orchestra friends

It was nice that Eric got their performances on video because I made another one of my colossal mistakes. And this is where the public humiliation comes in. I thought about getting a babysitter for the two little people. I had even planned out who I would call. But in the end there was a concert to attend, two small children and no babysitter. Surely they will be okay. We can take them out when our girls aren't playing--give them a little break. It will all be fine. Or not.
Sage & her violin

It was a disaster! It turned out that both girls were performing on the side of the gym opposite from the exits. I knew that this immediately put us at a disadvantage. But I came prepared with a stroller hoping that Ryder would relax and enjoy the show. And I sat on the front row so that I could make an easy escape. But it all just went wrong.
Eric is in and out with one or both of the kids through most of the first half. I think at this point we are only slightly annoying to the people surrounding us. Then Haven, goofing around despite my pleadings for her to sit down, fell onto the floor bonking her head. I grab her and head for the door. She stifles a cry until we are safely outside where I quickly assess the damage and find that she is unhurt and mostly just scared. Even now our annoyance level only elevates to a really nasty look from a lady behind us which says, "I knew that would happen! She's been goofing off through half of the show! Why did you bring little kids here?" (She didn't really say this, of course, just her "look" said it.)
Well, what to do? I know! Let's give it another shot. In we go again. It's time for Savannah's orchestra to perform. Maybe five minutes into the performance I see the warning signs: Ryder is fidgety and refuses to stay in our little area, forcing me to get and and get him; Haven is climbing up and down the bleacher steps behind me--jumping from one to another; both of their protestations grow louder as I try in my very nicest public mommy voice to reign them in. And before I have a chance to cut my losses and bolt, Ryder's whining explodes into full fledged screaming. I pick up Ryder, grab Haven by the hand (she starts to scream now too, "I don't want to go!" repeatedly) and somehow push the stroller the full length of the gym past all of the irritated parents to the exit. I don't even look up to see the daggers that mean lady is shooting me this time. (I imagine, though, that they would interpret into something like, "Wow! You are a really stupid lady. You don't learn things very quickly, do you?") I don't stop at the exit. I don't even turn around. I head straight for the car.
Luckily, Eric and I had driven separately and I was able to load up and leave. I know something like this isn't the end of the world and that there were maybe one or two people who didn't even notice, but I was super-duper embarrassed and fear that I won't be invited back to the spring concert. It made me want to cry. Oh. Wait. I did cry. Only a little, though. I did get over it and the drive home helped me calm down so that I didn't want to beat my kids anymore (Haven, though, did have to go to bed as soon as we got home. Don't feel too bad for her! I didn't even begin to describe all her acts of naughtiness.)
Have I learned something you ask? Yes! Even though I would love for my little ones to experience the culture of an orchestra concert, it is not fair to ruin it for everyone else. Play the Cd's at home or in the car and get a dang babysitter for the actual concert!

I can't stay mad at these faces for too long.


Anonymous said...

Who is that handsome Uncle MRK? Is he married? If he is probably a very Hot wife!!

Anonymous said...

Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Uncle MRK!

Jessica said...

My favorite part is when you talk about your "very nicest public mommy voice". It makes me feel good that I'm not the only one who save my "real" mommy voice for when no one but my kids can hear me. And trust me- they can hear me. Also, anonymous isn't very anonymous, okay?

Becky said...

I love it. I'm so glad those days are over for me!!! And I agree with Jessica about the anonymous thing. But Uncle MRK does have a hot wife!

Aivaz Family said...

Becky is funny. And uncle MRK's wife is way hot. Jennifer, I love you. You make me feel better about my parenting skills. And also, I dont have a nice public mommy voice. I am a jerk all the time. You are great.

Natalie said...

For the record, MRK was the first anonymous. I don't go around calling myself hot. That is just lame.

Natalie said...

And yes, MRK does go around calling himself handsome. He is lame (yet very handsome).

Hacking it up said...

I feel ya sista! Dang kids....:)We have had MANY an experience like you just leave thinking, WHY? WHY do I do this?..Why do I even try?....but then it makes for great stories later! Your kids are so cute! I have a cello player too! Lauren, I was hoping Madi would pick a string, but, no. She's in the band, but it's all good