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I put on mascara for this

We can now add "The School Christmas Program" to the list of things I don't do well. 

I'll tell you about it, but first I have to go pour myself a glass of wine. A BIG GLASS.

On the offchance I did not beat you over the head with the fact today - Phillip is out of town. This was disappointing - also stressful. (Also the subject of my post at Parenting tomorrow, should you be interested in my kvetching about all my first world problems.) Anyway, it just sounded like a logistical mess to me. Three kids, a baby who demands to eat at inopportune times, getting Jack to his classroom early, a seven pm start time aka BEDTIME. 

I decided to solve this problem with in-laws. They arrived later than they said, but everything was going fine, if not exactly easily - I had all three dressed up and fed and I was attempting another Christmas card picture on OUR NEW COUCH which had been delivered mere hours beforehand. 

Jack was supposed to be there twenty minutes early, and since we are only two blocks from the school I decided I would drop him off, then come back for everyone else. Emma needed to eat again and I thought this would buy me a few more minutes to ensure a happy baby at the concert. 

But the parking lot, even twenty minutes early, was jam packed. It's a SMALL parking lot, but still. I realized that not everyone lives twenty minutes away, that most parents were probably dropping their kids at their classrooms and then heading over to the hall to find a seat. And I was going to have to book it back to the house and herd everyone outside to WALK, since 1) there would obviously be nowhere left to park by the time we came back and 2) WE WERE SOOO LATE! 

But it was more like herding cats? And I mean, it's my own fault too. We had to gather hats, mittens, cameras, strollers, coats, I had to... well, you know, I should probably stop thinking and/or wishing that people could just read my mind because they're just NOT going to do what I want at the proper speed, ie: NOW NOW NOW LET'S GET OUT OF HERE.

And you guys, there was NOWHERE TO SIT. The first two rows were supposedly reserved for Pre-K and Kindergarten parents, but there was no space left. No space ANYWHERE. I felt horrible. My first kid's first concert and I can't even manage to find a SEAT. How would he even know I was there? We found an empty spot along the wall and I parked Emma and picked up Molly and tried to sort of sneak my way into the front where the Pre-K kids were sitting on the floor - no dice. Such a stickler, that Pre-K teacher! And seriously, any time I asked anyone about an extra seat, it was taken or not to be used or SOMETHING OMG I FELT SO STUPID.

So whatever. I just decided we would stand near the wall with my MIL and Emma (FIL was bouncing around looking for the best picture-taking angle.) We did that for the opening act (the beginning band and HOW I REMEMBER BEGINNING BAND) and then it was the little kids' turn to sing their two songs.

I did not expect to feel so proud, people. I mean, it's a CHRISTMAS PROGRAM. He's singing TWO SONGS. Two DUMB songs! But he was so cute. I swear he was the cutest kid on stage - DARE TO DISAGREE WITH ME, INTERNET. He looked so small and uncertain and ADORABLE and I just stood there willing him to see me where Molly and I had sneaked back into the front. We were off to the side, but he was on the same side (thank goodness) and he finally caught sight. His whole round little face lit up, it really did light up. He waved! I DIED! He was just the CUTEST THING. And then the singing - ugh, I am tearing up. COME ON, ME! Gah. But whatever, I was just SO proud of him and SO happy and relieved he knew I was there and knew where I was. I didn't take my eyes off him the entire time and I'm incredibly bummed out about not being in any position to take any type of picture whatsoever. I'm hoping FIL will come through on that!

But then the two songs were over and the kids filed off the stage. The little kids were supposed to find and sit with their parents. Except Jack's parent did not have a place for him to sit. I wasn't sure what to do. None of us really wanted to watch the rest of the show, but I also felt pretty conspicuous. There weren't too many people standing like us and NONE of them had kids. NONE. I asked Jack if he wanted to watch the other kids and he said, quite clearly, "I want to see one song and then I want to go home." Fine by me!

Getting out of there was SO awkward, though. Even though I'd told both MIL and FIL that we were leaving after the next song, it was like... WELL. AGAIN. I don't know why I go around expecting people to read my mind. PERSONAL PROBLEM. NOTED. Anyhow, our exit just wasn't as smooth as I would have liked. The kids want to go with me and not their grandfather, I'm not sure MIL is going to wheel Emma out or not, I'm not sure where the door is, I don't know if we're blocking the view, I'm trying to do this quietly but Molly is yammering on about something. I herded everyone out the nearest door and threw coats at the kids before FIL could burst into BUT THE CHILDREN WILL TURN INTO KIDSICLES! panic.

And then I almost cried on the way home. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. I felt bad for leaving early - remember, I have teacher parents and I hear a LOT about parent behavior and I've always wanted to be the parent that ENJOYS the school programs and claps and laughs in the right places. I felt bad for leaving early, even though I didn't know anyone else in the school! I felt bad that people SAW us leave, especially Jack's teacher, whose eyes I could feel the entire time I was maneuvering everyone out. I felt bad that I didn't get there on time, that I didn't realize it would be so crowded, that Jack didn't have anywhere to SIT and experience the rest of HIS concert. I feel STUPID. 

I think I'm just tired. Emma's night wasn't so great, and she hardly slept at all today. (I blame my aunt, who visited right when everyone was sort of down for the afternoon. She did bring cookies, however, also pajamas she'd sewn herself AND thought Jack was a hoot when he was CLEARLY being a bratty show off, so I forgive her.)  

All that said, my new couch is pretty awesome. It's got one of those chaise things and ooh, typing your blog post with your legs kicked out on the chaise end is a really great way to write a blog post. 

Phillip comes home tomorrow! Also: does anyone have a good suggestion for something-edible-to-put-in-a-jar for Jack's teacher present? The only thing I can think of is granola (I know, my brain is about wiped out) and Mrs. Pre-K does not seem like the granola type... 

Comments

Lisa

Well, at least your kid sang the songs and smiled at you from the stage. At my kid's program, we showed up early so he could get into costume, only to find out that we were the last family there (it's a small class), there was no where to sit where we could see him, AND instead of participating in the program, he lied on the floor the whole time. It was kid of humorous and not that surprising because that is SO his personality, but still a little embarrassing since I made a big deal about all of the grandparents showing up to watch him. Luckily, his program was only about 20 minutes long, or we would have left as soon as his part was finished too. And HUGE KUDOS to you for doing that on your own with 3 kids!

Allison

My son sang at his daycare's "graduation" last June - he only sang, didn't actually "graduate," as he doesn't go to Kindergarten until next year. And yet I still teared up when I saw him singing (from the back row). And also when all his little friends walked down the aisle in their ridiculously small caps and gowns. I think graduation from daycare is silly, and YET I cried, just in anticipation of the idea that the year it would be MY baby walking down that aisle. Oh these kids, they make us such softies.

So glad Jack was able to spot you in the crowd - that must have been such a nice feeling. I'm sure no one thought twice about you leaving early - evening engagements with little kids are always a crapshoot, and all parents have a stack of "get out of jail free" cards to use when things like that go south, or even just look like they might go south.

For the jar, maybe some kind of chocolate-y/holiday-ish bark? Or all the ingredients for fancy hot cocoa?

Jesabes

Geez, a 7 pm program? Even for (I'm assuming) elementary school kids, that sounds late. I'm sure the teacher could see that with a younger sister, a newborn, AND no seat, there wasn't really any way you could stay.

Hillary

In my opinion, preschool concerts are fraught with emotion. I nearly bawled at my kiddo's because the sweater vests and red velvet dresses were just too much. Also, ours was in the morning and I was the working mom sneaking out early because my WORK is more important than my KIDS. Or at least that's what I felt like all the eyes of the moms who didn't have to leave were saying as they bored into my back.

Megan

Oh! I have a couple things to say!

1. Our school program was on Tuesday and I had a 4th grader and a 1st grader in it. I saw a couple of preschool families leave after the preschoolers sang and I was totally ok with that. I would have taken my 3 year old home if I could have (it started at 7:30 and his bed time is 7:15 and Bill was out of town too) and I didn't care one little bit that they left...I understood and hey! Some seats just opened up! Which leads me to point #2...

2. They are always that crowded! At our school they auction off the front row to next year's Christmas show at a spring fundraiser to the highest bidding family. It goes for a lot more than I am willing to pay. (They auction off the front row to 8th grade graduation too, I think?)

3. One thing that helped is that our school did a dress rehearsal at 1pm and parents could come watch (which I did) so I didn't really care where I sat for the 7pm. I thought about not going to the evening performance at all (see late start time and husband out of town) but the gasps of dismay from my kids and other parents when I casually said this out loud had me rethink it. Another family I know of had a sitter come watch the baby (a 1 year old which is a hard age to take somewhere like that) so they could go to the show and watch the older kids. This never would have occured to me. It would kill me to spend money on a sitter just to watch the school play but man that would be so much easier and it is not like the baby is watching the play or anything.

4. As for feeling proud...of course you did! It is just so independent of them, standing up there singing songs that you did not teach him! I LOVE how happy they get seeing you in the crowd. Adorable little buggers.

Lynette

As the mom of a 6th grader and a 1st grader, I'd like to say (from hindsight and experience) that no one is supposed to get anything right with school the first time around. And anyone who IS is screwing up somewhere else. If you had arrived early enough, the kids would have been a mess by the time the show started, right? At least mine would have. I'm guessing any looks you were getting were of sympathy and/or empathy from others who went through their first time a year or more ago and totally understand.

In my opinion, schools need to 1)plan timing of these things better - don't any of them have kids and understand bedtimes, siblings, etc.? and 2) make sure there's enough space for all the parents, extended family, siblings, neighbors, whoever they want to come to these things to actually be able to sit! My solution is to not attend everything (although I do attend the "firsts"), or not take everyone and just film it, and then move on. There are SO many events in the kids' school futures, and you have to pace yourself.

My suggestion for next time (and completely ignore it if you desire) is to leave the littles with your in-laws and you go and take your camera and just enjoy it, and then leave as soon as you need to. Oh, and walk out with your head held high!

HereWeGoAJen

I have absolutely no doubt that he was the cutest on the entire stage.

I would have left early too.

How about a bunch of fancy marshmallows (Walmart has bags of gingerbread, french vanilla, and peppermint ones here) layered in the car and then a fancy pack of hot chocolate and a candy cane tied to it?

craftyashley

This is probably the opposite of what you're looking to hear- but um, I laughed the entire time reading this. And all I can say is: welcome to life with the ominous third child. It's nice to have you in the club.

Mama Bub

Listen, there's a difference between being rude during a performance and knowing when it's appropriate to bail. Teachers get that.

Kanuck

Jar - ingredients for brownies or cookies? (The dry ones, obvs, with a recipe on an attached card)

Ellen W

This year for teacher gifts I made sweet and spicy pecans and put them in a mason jar with a cute tag and jingle bell.

Christiana

I think any school that does the pre-school and the rest of the school/elementary should EXPECT the preschoolers to leave early. Especially at night. Because if it was a 7pm START time, I'm sure you weren't leaving until close to 8 and geez - even my late-to-bed kids go to bed by then.

Cookies in a jar or spiced nuts. (cinnamon and sugar and other baking spices - I'm sure if you google it, you'll find a recipe) for the teacher gift. Or, you know, a Starbucks or Target gift card.

katie

Spiced nuts or cocoa both sound like yummy teacher gift ideas.
One idea I had was having Jack help you make those Hershey kiss or Rolo pretzel melts. I've never made them, but I hear they are easy and kid-friendly. Then again, I'm partial to anything with chocolate.
Or, fill a jar with dried ingredients for a soup like this one: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/calico-bean-soup/detail.aspx

I am in AWE that you made it to the Christmas Program with all three kids. FIVE Gold Stars for YOU.

Colleen

A friend went to her son's preschool Christmas Program yesterday. She fell in the parking lot on her way in. Was in pain and embarrassed beyond belief. She couldn't find a chair to sit in because people had arrived early and were saving rows. She said she stood in the back and held back tears the whole time. School programs should come with some kind of handbook for new parents. I always felt like a misfit when I showed up later or my child wasn't wearing the right thing. Everyone else always seemed to know.

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