I'm posting it now because re-reading it brought back memories and made me laugh. And totally *not* because I can't think of anything to write today. Honest.
Did you ever get the feeling that the purpose of your life was to act as an example to others on how not to do things? Let me tell you about my circus experience. A few months ago I got a phone call from the Police Retirees Association. They were raising money for children's charities by selling tickets to the Garden Brothers Circus. I thought it was a good idea, so I bought some. The time of the performance was 7:30 pm, but I didn't think too much about it. Fast forward to this past week. Slowly it dawns on me that 7:30 is past Rae's bedtime and maybe I should get a babysitter for her and just take Leah. Too late, not enough notice. Well, OK, I'll just make sure I have enough to eat and drink for her and a few toys, and if she gets sleepy, she can just drift off in my arms. Ummm, right. <- foreshadowing
So I pack 2 milk bottles, a juice sippy, a container of goldfish, a small teddy bear, some teething keys and another small toy, plus diapers and wipes. That sounds like enough for the 2-hour performance. So we get there, and it's a zoo to park, and it's first-come seating, so we're not as close to the front of the hockey arena as I'd like (the 3 rings are down on board-covered ice-surface).
Rachel is a little restless -- yeah, like a small tornado in pink. Out comes the bottle, and that settles her down. The lights finally go down and the circus starts. Leah is just mesmerized, she' s sitting in her Dad's lap and her eyes are as big as saucers. Rachel is fine in my lap, til the bottle runs out. Within 10 minutes, she's worked her way through both bottles and the sippy cup and is alternately trying to kick the back of the head of the guy sitting in front of me and trying to force feed her big sister a handful of goldfish. Then she starts to wail. No amount of jiggling or singing will quiet her. She's thrashing around like a fish on a line and she beans the guy in front of me with the teddy. He's nice enough to return it, and I 'excuse me' my way down the line of seats and out of the sitting area of the arena.
I spend the next hour walking around the perimeter of the arena, where the washrooms and concession stands are, chasing her because she's so giddy with all the open space to run in, and lunging at her every once in a while to stop her from picking up and eating popcorn from the floor. Each time I try to pick her up and go back to the seats, she starts with the wailing and her body goes stiff as a board. At intermission, D and Leah show up. It's almost 9 (Leah's bedtime is 7 pm) so she's tired and wants to go home. She loved the circus. I saw about 12 minutes of the show and now have a giant headache.
Things we learned:
1. Next year we're going to a matinee. Never, never, never take small children to an evening performance.
2. Seventeen months is the wrong age for a circus. Younger, and she would have slept, older and she would have watched the show.
3. Stuffed toys can be used as weapons.
4. Children can run very quickly when motivated by popcorn.
5. You should always carry emergency vodka in your purse for situations like this.