Last week we went to the circus. Not the real circus with tigers and elephants, but the other one with lots of people in tights and heights.
A little thing called Cirque du Soleil. You may have heard of it.
Of course I didn't know how to explain what Cirque du Soleil was to a certain three-year-old so I told him it was the circus with lots of gymnastics. Because he's in gymnastics (I suspect it's mostly for the girls...) and I thought it would help him aspire to do things like stand in line after his turn instead of running all over the gym after he's done trying out a cartwheel. You know, help him maybe want to focus. A girl can dream.
Anyway, this is the Cirque du Soleil: Saltimbanco version and I was lucky enough to get tickets through Mom Select . And I'm so glad I did because not only have I always wanted to go to a Cirque du Soleil of any type...
But I have to admit I was scared. I googled the show and couldn't find anyone who had dared to take a three-year-old and an 18-month old to the show who had lived to tell about it afterward. And after 7pm. Yes, the show started at bedtime. Aye-aye-aye. But I really wanted us to all go.
So here's what happens when you take two toddlers to Cirque du Soleil after their bedtime.
First of all, people look at you kind of funny. I got all gussied up and so did the husband (he wore his good khakis) and the kids wore their little polo shirts. There were actually plenty of children ages three and up accompanying their parents. But it was also opening night, so there were lots of couples. Oodles of them.
I am pretty sure we broke the record with the Mini. He was definitely the youngest one there.I did get some looks from mommies and non-mommies alike that said, "Are you freaking crazy?" Actually, the mommies were thinking that; the non-mommies were probably thinking that the 18-month old I had on my hip didn't go with the dress I was wearing. (Oh I'm kidding!) And all of their manfriends were oblivious by the way, stopping to make goo goo faces at him. That was kind of cute.
So when we got in, we found our seats and the husband took Poops to the potty and to get popcorn. If all else fails, have snacks. That's my theory.
I happened to have a 100 calorie-pack of Oreos on hand because we were about 20 minutes early, which meant it was 7:10, which also meant it was 10 minutes after bedtime and 20 minutes before the show started. This 20 minutes was precious. It could make or break the whole show.
So then it was Mini and me - and he sat on my lap and we danced to the music pumping as people flooded into the arena, pausing only for more crackers. The time went quickly, the lights dimmed, the family was back together and the show went on. Success.
The show opened with a bunch of Cirque-ish clowns doing silly things, some of them to the people in the audience, then the dancing and flipping and juggling and swinging and the "Oooh!"-ing and the "Ahhh!"-ing began. And the kids were pretty entertained.
Mini eventually became very squirmy and wiggly but was kept at bay pretty nicely with his popcorn. Poops was entranced. An hour and a half in (yes, we made it a whole HOUR AND A HALF with no major incidents to report!), there was an intermission where there was ice cream and two very happy ice-cream eaters. But on the flip-side of intermission, things started to go downhill.
Mini began talking in his loud gibberish, and only to hear his own voice. Which would not have been a problem except that it was during the silent parts. And silence in Cirque usually means that there is some sort of death-defying act happening and, well, the acrobats were really trying to concentrate. People who are suspended from the ceiling usually want to be able to do this.
But they lived and the only people who seemed annoyed were the "date couples" around us. Sorry guys.
He did pipe down (I think that must've been the last gasp) and he was almost asleep. He started the eye-rolling and the nodding off. And I briefly thought, SWEET! We were going to be able to stay! Yay! But at this exact same point, it turned out that Poops was now laying down in his seat with his head on Daddy's lap. So we decided to let a good thing be a good thing. We decided to take off.
Overall, I'd say: take the three-year-old? YES! The 18 month old, nah. I'd spare him, if you could, but you know, it's not the end of the world if you take him. It's like baby roulette. It could work out and he'll fall asleep, or it could end badly. Really badly.
Cirque in general, I loved it. It was silly in parts, it had some over-the-kids'-heads' jokes, it had beauty, it had a tiny bit of scary (a monster-sounding voice) but that pretty quickly turned funny (to my relief), the music and singing was absolutely unbelievably beautiful and there was even a point where they played just two notes that was unmistakenly from "Billy Jean", a little moment for Michael Jackson because the news reports were just coming out about him. There was daring and amazing and stunning and breathtaking.
I loved it. (Can you tell?) Maybe an earlier time would have been better for the kid(s). But honestly, I judge "success" on whether or not there was tantrum-throwing-crying-wailing-hitting-or just overall embarrassment. So, no we didn't finish the show. But there was none of that other stuff, so I consider the trip a success! Besides, I had a great time with the family, Poops saw real gymnastics (and really is totally excited about going to classes now!) and we knew when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. I think that part is key.
The show's moving out of Tampa next week, so find out when it's coming to you! It's a great show.