Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mr. Attitude goes to the ballet

(subtitled: Mom needs another beer. NOW!)

Wow, what a day. Dick and Patty, our neighbors whom I've decided I'm adopting as surrogate parents/grandparents, they're that wonderful, offered to take any or all of us to see "The Nutcracker" in Duluth this afternoon. Calvin and Starflower had gone with them two years ago; at the request of Starflower at the time, I did not accompany them then. But today I decided Mr. Attitude was maybe old enough to get something out of it and not drive anyone crazy in the process, so he went. I went along, because I had never seen "The Nutcracker" performed live, and because I wanted to remain on speaking terms with Dick and Patty re: Mr. Attitude. Since we all would not fit in their Escort sedan, I offered to drive in our Astro van.

It was a beautiful day for the drive up Highway 23, the back route to Duluth. I kept my eyes open for owls, hoping to see a snowy, great gray, or hawk owl. The Hermit claims to have seen a hawk owl yesterday; Patty thought she had seen a great gray recently, and another friend of ours saw a great gray yesterday. I have not had much luck with owls so far this year, although there have been reports of snowys throughout the state. We saw beautiful sunlit forests, but no owls.

I'll start by saying the performance was brilliant. It amazes me that a city the size of Duluth (95,000 or so, not counting the other Twin Port of Superior, WI and outlying "suburbs") can support a ballet company of such caliber. The scenery and effects were wonderful, and the talent of the dancers amazed me.

That said, Mr. Attitude's performance was less than stellar. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt; it was a completely new situation, and he can be sensitive to aspects others of us may not notice, such as light level (he didn't like being in the darkness of the audience), noise level (he said the orchestra was too loud), and overall juju. Perhaps he takes after me; I have been in some situations where I just get a bad vibe somewhere, and all I want to do is bolt for the door at the nearest available opportunity.

So I sat through the performance with a noticeably uncomfortable, very squirmy Mr. Attitude. After the first five minutes he started repeating "Mom, I don't like BEING HERE!" Just as I had feared. I managed to hold him, reassuring him when necessary, and keep him from disturbing others too much. I had to drag him in after intermission.

I only had to take him out once during the second act, during the Waltz of the Flowers. We were back before the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Grand Pas De Deux, which I did not want to miss. But in the process, I noticed I had lost one of my earrings. They were the largest earrings I owned, hand crafted titanium with a forest scene, that The Hermit had bought me in Vermont. I was sick. I own more single earrings, that had once been part of a pair, than I care to mention. But I decided to be positive; perhaps we would find it, or we would notify the facility and perhaps they would find it while cleaning up. Or maybe it was gone forever, and that would not be too bad. Whatever.

As it turns out, we notified an usher, who was more than kind, and I left my phone number and a description of the earring should anyone turn it in. By the time I got home, there was a message on the answering machine; they had found it!

So we got home, and the kids started immediately into their usual efforts to dismember each other despite my loud vocal protestations. I informed them I would not be taking any sides, not offering any sympathy should one be hurt. I had had enough. Bedtime is in ten minutes; I am counting the seconds.


madcapmum said...

Lord Almighty! My cheeks hurt from smiling so wide!

As soon as I read the words "ballet" and "Mr. Attitude", I knew I was in for a good story.

We tried to take in a "Shakespeare in the Park" performance this summer, and had to leave at half-time because both the kids were chasing squirrels through the audience and around the back of the set. I figure that as far as "culture" is concerned, from now on they're on their own. I wash my hands of it.

Deb said...

Madcap, that is too funny! And too altogether possible with these kids. Note to self: No Shakespeare In The Park with this crew!

Mr. Attitude was kind of disappointed that we were only there to watch the dancers; he thought he'd be able to dance himself. Maybe we ought to take up contra dancing for "culture".

H. Stallard said...

That's one of the very few things I miss about school. Every year the other third grade teacher and I arranged for our classes to see the live performance of "The Nutcracker." It was about an hours ride each way by bus so we were gone the entire day. And of course each year one or both of us had our own "Mr. Attitude" in our class to contend with. One year (we had front row seats) mine crawled up on stage and snagged a handful of snowflakes. We were never assigned front row seats after that.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

I love this story, Deb. I too have been overwhelmed by the overall juju of a place. All those people in one room can sometimes drive me a little crazy. Well, let's be honest, they always drive me a little crazy. Very brave of you to take a chance on the ballet with your little one.

I hope you'll get to see one of those owls. We never manage to see any owls around here, although all the local bird books say they are around.

Floridacracker said...

I thought all little boys loved the ballet. Who knew?

I remember being driven crazy in a nice restaurant once when the girls were both under 2 years and ..."needy". It was a circus of spills, cries, bathroom trips, and craziness. I think I made the statement that I didn't care to eat in nice restaurant with children ever again...but that passed quickly. I had set two toddlers up for failure by putting them in a totally unnatural environment, and then expecting them to not do normal toddler stuff.

Those days can exhaust you,your patience, and your supply of beer.

Enjoy every second of it!

lené said...

Glad to hear you went to see the Nutcracker. My first experience of it was about 5 years ago. I saw a tremendous performance in Dallas, and it has become an annual treat since then no matter where I live. :)

Deb said...

h. stallard-luckily there was an orchestra pit bewteen us and the stage. Starflower likes to go up there before the performance and flirt with the orchestra director. ;) And, some part of me would love to be in that orchestra for once.

RD- You and I are on the same page; I noticed I was acting all tense and uptight, not just Mr. Attitude, just because I was in a crowd of people! I don't do big crowds...

FC- yes, it was a gamble at best, and not a good one. But how do kids learn if they do not experience? I cannot expect them to be any more than they are, but I do want to at least expose them to different situations. But now I know I'll probably have a lot more luck when the Monster Truck Show comes to town. :) And, I do try to enjoy every moment of it!

lene- It was a treat indeed. Although The Hermit probably thought, and I won't say one way or another here, that what I liked was the muscular men in tights...;)