Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Know your limits

It seemed like such a great idea when I booked our tickets. I love Christmas carols, and had wanted to see a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall for years. The LA Master Chorale's Festival of Carols promised the perfect festive family day out. The program included a crowd-pleasing selection of carols, including a couple we could sing along to - Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, to which P even knows the words.

TLOML was excited too. Until he realized that the date clashed with a swim meet he couldn't miss. Still, I decided it would be fun to go on a 'mummy and me' cultural jaunt into DTLA. P and I would explore Grand Park, see the concert, and TLOML would come and meet us gals after the show.

It was about two hours before we were due to leave that I spotted the crucial restriction on the tickets. 'Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted'. How ridiculous, I thought. It's a family carol concert, for goodness sake, with a singalong 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' to boot. It's practically made for children under the age of 6.

I decided to wing it. We stuck to the plan, headed into town, and had a Starbucks treat in the park before climbing the steps into Walt Disney hall. Me, beside myself about the space and the concert; P, under strict instructions to 'behave like a big girl'. We were held at the door for a while as the attendant checked whether she could let a 3 year old in. I tried not to eye-roll at the silliness of having an age restriction on a carol concert. Then we were waved in.
High expectations
It wasn't long till I realized they were right about that age limit. About halfway through the first song, in fact, when P completely lost interest. She'd been pretty into it when we first entered the auditorium, all wide eyed at the space and excited when the choristers came in singing their hearts out. But her enthusiasm lasted all of two minutes. For the next forty, I tried and failed to amuse her quietly. She perked up a bit for Rudolph, but apart from that it was pretty much a disaster. P wasn't being naughty. She was just bored. Like, I suppose I had to admit, any normal three year old would be. And seemed to be most noisy - rustling, kicking the panelling, whispering - during the quietest parts of the carols. I never realized how noisy crayons could be till P started scribbling furiously in the hushed moments between phrases of In the Bleak Midwinter.

A low point, about three songs in

Decorating the programme got old really quickly
 So, yes, I was the idiot who ruined every else's civilized, festive concert with an unruly infant.

I aimed to salvage our fun day of culture by walking to Grand Central Market to meet TLOML. P had a little fancy chocolate petit four from Valerie, while TLOML devoured a Bel Campo burger, and I enjoyed the peaceful sensation that comes from being in a very noisy place and not having to worry about my child's behaviour. P was, now, quiet anyway - enraptured by her cake, and the Klezmer band who were playing in the market that day.
The highlight of P's day

That night P talked to her grandmother. 'Tell grandmama what you did today,' I prompted, hoping she'd talk about the concert, or maybe the park, or the market. 'I had a chocolate cake', she said proudly. 'Right. And what else?' 'Oh yes!' she said, 'I had a cake pop too!'.

At which point, I thought I might put the enriching cultural experiences on ice for a year or two. I'll try again when she's six.


  1. Yip, been there done that, all very stressful

  2. Oh hi! What, your two angels? I can't believe it. Happy Christmas, whether you go caroling or not xxx