I went to the symphony this evening. I saved up and splurged on three tickets for this half of the season--not a small thing, considering how little cash is rolling into the coffers right now--because I dearly love classical music, I love our symphonic orchestra and going to the symphony, you could say, started me on my 'find work that makes me happy' kick. I owe them, in a way.
Anyway, I have my ticket, I settle in for a nice, peaceful evening when who sits next to me? A husband, his wife and their two toddlers. I'm not kidding. They had a five year old boy and a three year old girl. Good Lord. I know you'd like to give your preschoolers some culture, but not when I'm next to you, spending my hard earned, you know what I'm saying? They offer kids' concerts, for the love of Pete. You don't have to bring them out to an evening concert at an hour that I'm sure they'd rather be eating tater tots in front of the television.
I froze in my seat, mortified by these people and their apparent inability to find a baby sitter. I happen to know they paid at least twice what a properly trained sitter would charge, by the way, on those two kids' seats. I didn't start attempting actual prayer until the little girl started making these really annoying hissing/popping hybrid noises.
The music starts and I tried to get lost in it. I really, really did. But I couldn't. Between Dad leaning over and putting his hand over one or the other child's mouths, the little girl squirming like a, well, like a three year old, and the boy kicking the seat in front of him out of boredom, I missed the first two pieces. Which is a shame; they had a wonderful pianist playing tonight. I heard snippets (the parts where I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the squealing from two seats down), so I know he was wonderful. But how could I concentrate when I was cramped up with the equivalent of two squirming geese in patent leather shoes?
At interval, I hoped and hoped and hoped with all my might they would decide to leave. Hey, two hours is a long time for an interested adult to sit still listening to classical, how much longer to a toddler? But no, they left their coats in their seats. So, with sinking heart, I hunted down a jacketed usher and asked if it would be alright for me to move to an empty seat. After a sympathetic glance at my seat mates (who were running behind me, making that weird squealing/hissing/popping noise), I was given permission.
For which I am eternally grateful, as the second half of the concert was Beethoven's 7th Symphony--the reason I'd chosen that concert in the first place. I put as much red-velvet real estate between myself and the family as I could and still remain in the theater, but I could still hear the little girl squalling. The music was beautiful, though, and I could relax and enjoy it from the peace of my nearly isolated seat half a theater away. I wish I could tell you about it, but I'm still nearly prostrate from the wracking my nerves took sitting next to those children. I go to the symphony to relax, not get wound up in terror that little Susie Adorable is going to to take it into her head to shriek in a totally different key just because she wants to hear what it would sound like. And I've been around enough kids that age to know they're really into the sound of their own voices, they have no volume control and they have no concept of other people's comfort levels.
I know you think your babies are perfect, and maybe they are. But until they can sit absolutely still even when they're bored out of their heads, keep them away from the symphony. Please.