Your baby does not need to attend cello concerts…
Especially solo cello concerts…. what were you thinking?
Woah- okay, let me back it up a bit here. We have been “can do” parents for the most part…
- Flying across the country at 2 months old? Check!
- Eating at “grown up” restaurants with baby? Check!
- Attending pro sporting events…at night? Check!
- Taking Baby E to the bar at 5 months to hear his Uncle play a gig? Check!
- Baby on the bus, train, subway and cab? Check, check, check, check!
I know that there are many other parents who have tackled the above excursions and much, much more.The reality is, I am of the mindset that as long as our baby is safe, we might as well try to do as much as we can and expose him to many different things. This allows my husband and I to continue enjoying what we love to do, and perhaps this will also help Baby E to grow into a flexible and well rounded child. (Or maybe it wont… we only have so much control right?). While we try not to cram multiple new or highly stimulating events into any single day, we have had great success trying to do a wide variety of things that may not be thought of as “baby friendly.” I think that part of the key is to know ahead of time that it may, or may not work. We are always mentally prepared to evacuate the situation at anytime while remaining optimistic that it will be a positive experience. However, last night I found my limit.
One of the many things that my husband and I enjoy about our Chicago neighborhood is a great concert series hosted each fall and winter. Tonight the series kicked off with what promised to be a great solo cello performance. At the last minute I got word from Kyle that he would need to work late. I fluffed my feathers and thought- Pishaw, I got this!
In preparation for Baby E’s first concert I thought I would hedge my good behavioral bets by putting him down for a short cat nap just prior to departing. Thirty minutes before the concert started, E was sleeping and I was getting myself spruced up. I threw on a cute tailored T-shirt, dressed up with my favorite chunky coral necklace and even donned a dollop of bright red lipstick to finish off the look. Then I loaded Baby E into the stroller and we headed down the street.
If I am being honest…(and I think I will be), I was pretty dang proud of myself in that moment. I may have even reiterated to myself, You got this!
That was a lie. We arrived at the venue, a beautiful historic church, right on time. I sat down in the back row and parked the stroller immediately behind me. It was quiet- VERY quiet. I looked around and observed that not only were there no other babies, there were no other children of any age. “Stay strong Kate, You got this…” I looked down at my baby boy who was sitting contentedly on my lap and I clipped a pacifier onto his shirt… just in case.
Next, I planned my evacuation route: Double door opening immediately to my rear, plenty of clearance for momma, baby & stroller. Easy peasy. Finally, I settled my gaze at the front of the large gothic sanctuary. There was a vacant chair that would soon be filled by a lone performer and immediately in front of the performer sat a very fancy looking microphone. It was then that I realized that the performance was being recorded and that a sudden outburst from my sweet child would not only distract those around me but would single-handedly ruin the artist’s recording. Again, I looked down at my little man, still happy and quiet- I shoved the pacifier into his mouth and squirmed in my seat.
I heard a noise behind me and turned to see a man closing the large wooden doors between me and the noisy city street beyond. The heavy doors creaked as he closed them and one got stuck, he laid his hip into the door and it slammed shut. My evacuation route was no more. You could hear a needle drop as the cellist came out and took his seat. After a brief introduction he began to play a hybrid of classical music intertwined with blues. It was amazing. I was a wreck. As the doors closed behind me I felt like the world was closing in on me. Baby E smiled at me….but what smile was it? Was it the “I’m about to let out an unbridled squeal of pleasure” smile? The “I’m about to flail and chuck my toy across the room” smile? Or was it the “I’m about to poop everywhere” smile? In that moment, I caved. I don’t got this. Evacuate! Evacuate now!
Ultimately we lasted 20 minutes. The musician was wonderful… Baby E was wonderful… But what is the point of staying if I can’t enjoy myself because I am too worried about my child being disruptive. My baby does not need to attend cello concerts yet. On the way home we stopped at the park and my little one squealed with joy as he stared into the fountain and watched the big kids run around in circles.
Yesterday I learned that there are limits to what I want to do with my child at this age. Additionally, I learned that my great coral necklace can and will become a teething toy in 10 seconds flat, bright red lipstick will wind up all over my baby’s hands when he puts them into my mouth, and most importantly, I learned that while I “missed” the concert- I didn’t actually miss it, because I get more joy out of watching Baby E happy and thriving in the park then I do out of taking him to a concert (albeit a great concert) and living to tell about it.