Owen has already reached the stage where Benjamin and I can not talk about him in front of him, even in “code”. We used to be able to spell things out (we used to call the playground the “PG” so that he wouldn’t get overly excited if we decided not to go) and talk quietly while Owen was playing and he didn’t really pay much attention. These days, though, he doesn’t miss a thing, and is constantly asking, “Whatchoo talkin’ bout, Mommy? ME?”.
(Side note: Since he’s always listening now, we have realized that praising his behaviors to each other — “Oh, Daddy! Owen did such a great job remembering to use gentle hands at school today…” when he’s standing right there, for instance — is a very effective tool to positively reinforce good behaviors.)
The downside to these keen listening ears is that the kid hears EVERYTHING. I mean, he knows what we need to get at the grocery store and that the car needs gas and that I need to do laundry so my jeans are clean for tomorrow. That also means he hears words he shouldn’t sometimes (though not often, neither Benjamin nor I swear unless it’s absolutely necessary), that he asks which adult farted out in public, and sometimes ruins his own surprises.
Like Hansel & Gretel.
A friend of mine sent me a link to a puppet show this weekend at a theater not too far from our house. Last Sunday I asked Benjamin, quietly, when Owen was playing near us, “Do you think Owen would want to go see this Hansel & Gretel puppet show? Do you think he could sit still long enough or would understand he needs to be quiet during the show, or is it asking too much of a 2 12 year old?”. Immediately Owen jumped up, “WE’RE GOING TO A PUPPET SHOW?! OF HANSEL AND GRETEL?!”.
Uhh, we weren’t… exactly… but now that you’re so excited… uhh… I guess we are? Why not. Let’s give it a shot.
He knows the story of Hansel & Gretel and was immediately enthralled with the idea of seeing a show. He knows what puppets are, but has never seen a puppet show, so he likely has no idea what to expect. But ever since that moment (that moment when I wasn’t even sure if the show was a good idea), he has been buzzing with excitement about going to see it. He has told everyone from his teachers to his friends at school to the random person walking down the street. Every morning this week when he woke up he was actually disappointed that it was a school day (he usually adores school days) because it wasn’t Hansel & Gretel day yet. He’s been counting down the days.
To be honest, I really, really, really hope it’s all it’s cracked up to be in his head. I have NO idea what he’s expecting or why he’s so gosh darn excited.
I know he’s little. I’ve never really put him in a situation where he’s required to sit still and be quiet, mostly because I thought it was setting him up for failure. The kid is LOUD. He has NO FILTER. And he asks constant, and I mean CONSTANT QUESTIONS. And he rarely keeps his butt in his chair. And most of the time, that’s totally fine with me. He’s 2 1/2. He’s curious. He’s chatty and lively and active. But I figured, whatever. If it’s terrible or he’s loud or distracting others, we’ll just leave. And try again when he’s older.
So… fingers crossed?
How old were your kids when you first tried a “show” or performance where they were expected to sit quietly? Have you ever been the parent of “the loud kid” at an event like this?