Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Survive an Orchestral Performance with a Preschooler

We were invited by Daniel's flute teacher to attend a performance she was performing in last night.  Did you notice the start time on that ticket stub?  Yep, 7:30!  I knew I was pushing it, since Michael is sometimes asleep by that time.  We had swim lessons yesterday morning, so I was really pushing the kids' limit.  

We planned on getting there early, because I didn't want to have to park in Timbuktu.  I had went there earlier in the day to buy 2 child's tickets (We were given 2 complimentary tickets).  I found out that children 4 and under attend free, so I only had to buy one ticket.  I scoped out parking and entrances.  We looked around at an art exhibit while we were there.  The Clayton Center for the Arts is such a nice place to walk around and look at the larger than life paintings.  The kids were really impressed.  

So we leave an hour early and get there just as a front row parking spot opens up....SCORE!!!!  Now, I don't have to walk through a parking lot with my kids at night to our car in Timbuktu.  

Now, I will give you some tips on how to survive an hour and a half performance with a 4 year old:

  • First and I do mean first...potty break.  Take your little princess/prince to the bathroom before you sit down.
  • Explain the rules...no talking, quiet listening...etc., depending on the circumstances
  • Bring something for them to put in their mouth...thinking lollipop, or a ring pop in our case.  Actually, I really needed 2 of them for this performance.
  • Let them move around a bit at intermissions or if no one is around you. Michael was in his chair (that just happened to fold up every time he scooted back), on my lap, on the floor, on my lap, floor, chair, lap, repeat 100 times. 
  • Sit on the end of a row near an exit...just in case you need to get out.   I know it's bad manners, but we left a few minute before the end.  Michael had just about had enough and I knew when to say..."Let's go!"  You want it to be an enjoyable experience and not to ruin a performance for those people around you.  He lasted a really long time, so I was grateful.  
  • Devise an alert signal to tell your older children you all need to make a fast getaway.  I had whispered to Tera that I would nudge her when it was time to leave.  Then, she in turn would signal Daniel.  This worked great! 
  • Try to sit away from grumpy people.   You don't need the stress of people turning around and giving you looks because your child accidentally kicks their seat. 
  • Give a strict punishment/reward for age appropriate behavior and stick to it! Oh, don't tell them until you're on the way home to avoid loud wailing or jubilant cries of victory.

So we did pretty well...Michael fell asleep in the car on the way home for a few seconds...no one had a serious meltdown today.  Grumpiness has been our visitor today, but  all the juggling of my four year old was worth it to hear:

"Oh, Sabre Dance was my favorite!"
    "Did you see that guy playing the cello?  He was so good!  That was awesome!"
        "That piece was so sad."
            "Thanks, Mom for taking us tonight!"

That made it all worth it!  


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