She Says… Hansel & Gretel

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?

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7 responses to “She Says… Hansel & Gretel

  1. Ethan saw his first show when he was only 6 months old. We brought him to a one-hour children’s show that encouraged audience participation, and for awhile, we did this every week! We figured we had to get him used to it — after all, this is what his parents do and it was going to be a huge part of his life, whether he likes it or not! 🙂 And my husband and I are of the same mindset: if it’s just not happening (if he’s too wound up, he’s too noisy, etc.), we just leave, no question. It’s not worth turning it into an issue and creating a bad experience for him. The good news is that he LOVES seeing shows now and he has learned, slowly but surely, how to sit still, clap appropriately, etc., so we can take him to pretty much anything now. He doesn’t always make it through the longer shows (anything over an hour and half is pushing it), but the experiences are always good. His little brother, on the other hand, is a different story. In fact, I was just mulling over the idea of taking the two of them to a concert on Monday morning. I know Ethan will LOVE it and I know Miles will HATE it. Sigh. I bet this Hansel and Gretel puppet show, if it’s truly for kids, will encourage audience participation and I bet Owen will love it! And if he’s this excited about it, you can totally parlay that into good behavior! 🙂 Have fun!

  2. @Carly, Thank you! I was so hoping you would answer this one, because I know you have a lot of experience with it. I’m excited to see how it goes, and definitely want to get him to more shows in the future.

  3. Haha, we do the same “Daddy, Ryan is doing such a good job eating ALL his dinner! I’m very proud of him!” His face absolutely lights up every time.

    I bet he’ll be so enthralled with the show that he’ll sit still – at least for a little while. Let us know how it goes. I’d love to take Ryan to something like that.

  4. That is hilarious and exactly how my little one is – ALWAYS listening!
    Good luck at the show! I bet Owen will be great!

  5. We haven’t taken the boys to a live show yet, but we took them to a train movie at the IMAX a few weekends ago and Liam LOVED it!! He changed seats a few times– sitting on my lap vs. sitting in his own chair– but he was totally into it! I’ll bet Owen will love it.

  6. I love, love, love imagining his excitement! I’m sure it won’t disappoint, as he’s clearly decided it will be the best thing ever! Have fun.

  7. I don’t have kids, but I am a firm believer (especially with my young niece and when my sisters children were young) that 1) don’t put children in a situation where you are setting them up to “get in trouble” but 2) when you decide to try, be prepared to make whatever changes necessary to make it work. So I think trying with Owen is great, especially since he seems so excited. Maybe he will be so enthralled that he will be still and won’t make a peep. However, like you said – if he’s not, you can get up and leave. No harm no foul. And then it can be learning experience of how to behave in situations such as a play or performance, and you can try again when he’s a little older. He may surprise you!

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