Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Road Is Paved With Good Intentions

And you all know what road I'm talking about.

This morning I had the crazy, idyllic notion that I'd take my two older children (7 and 8) to see a matinee production of "My Fair Lady" at the local playhouse. As this is one of my favorite plays, I could not wait to share the story with Joey and Lindsey, and discuss afterward the important ideas brought forth in the play (using people as objects for personal gain, etc. etc.).

After mass I secured tickets from a woman in my choir who happens to be in the production and went on home, happy with the anticipation that I was going to have a nice afternoon with my children who are now getting old enough to do these sorts of things. Yeah, right.

It started off badly, because Joey did not want to go. He claimed he wanted to watch playoff football with dad (although he was suspiciously playing Lindsey's new horse-themed computer game at the time of protest). I convinced him that he would love it, and that it was really part of his homeschool curriculum, as he does not have the same opportunities to attend plays on field trips like Lindsey and Sam do at school. He begrudgingly accompanied me to the car and perked up as I began to tell the kids about the story. Joey likes any story that involves a cad.

The kids enjoyed the theater well enough, and we arrived early enough to get hot cocoa for them. They liked looking at the cast pictures and flipping through the program, and they especially enjoyed looking forward to intermission when they were to receive the chocolate chip cookies I had brought along. I relaxed and delighted in my maturing children. Big mistake.

Before the overture was even halfway over, the squirming began.

"I can't see."

"I want to trade seats."

"Can I take my shoes off?"

(Loudly) "Why does that guy in front of us have such weird hair?"

"Can I sit on your lap?" (What lap?!)

This, unfortunately, is a play that takes a few scenes to get going. By the time the story was underway, I had lost both kids, Joey to the point of no recovery. He was banging his head against the seat, causing the whole row to shake. Lindsey was half-standing in her seat to see better (at least she was somewhat interested!) to the detriment of the people behind her. Repeated, loudly whispered questions about the play and WHEN it was going to be over caused those around us to shoot dirty looks in our direction. I knew we were going to have to make a break for it at intermission.

As it happens, this was the longest first act I have ever sat through. Two torturous hours. To add to the fun, about halfway through I got my dreaded mid afternoon blood sugar dive and broke into shakes and a cold sweat. I now know about when this is going to occur, so I was prepared with my dietitian-approved snack, but as I retrieved it it caused so much commotion, rustling and protests from the kids that I was afraid the usher was going to come throw us out (that might have been a blessing).

"How come YOU can have that now and we can't have our cookies? That's not fair."

"Because mommy is going to pass out if she doesn't eat RIGHT NOW."

"I'm going to pass out too!" Right. Of course you are.

As soon as intermission came, we ran out of the theater in shame, Joey rejoicing yet still complaining, and Lindsey crying because she wanted to see the rest.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot, Joey summed it up for all of us:

"That sucked the life out of me."

Maybe they need a few more years.


Michelle said...

Thank you for that experience. Now I know what NOT to do. My kids have been enjoying Netflix rentals of old musicals. I might have been tempted to give the theater a go. But, no, I think I too will wait a few years!

Tina said...

What a bummer that you and Lindsey didn't get to see the whole thing. I also love that musical and have watched it a few times with Becca (granted on the TV only.) I have only brought her to the theater to see Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, which were you can see both Disney. I would have loved to see it with you and would have sat quietly next you with a huge smile on my face just because I was with you! Lots of Love.

Qtpies7 said...

Oh, I have been there......
What was I thinking, starting out with young kids again??? hehe