Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Another supposedly fun thing

David Foster Wallace has a book of essays titled "Another Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." I love the title, even if I didn't much like the book. I've started dividing my life's experiences into categories like that. Sunday's events definitely qualified as something that was supposed to be fun but wasn't.

Liz and I made plans to take our girls to see the Nutcracker. The tickets were pretty expensive, so I explained to the girls that this was one of their Christmas presents. I ordered them new dresses from Hannah Andersson and bought them cute tights to match. I was really looking forward to a nice afternoon with just us girls - they desperately needed some time with me. Brandon was going to stay home with Campbell and put up more Christmas lights. Everything was all set.

Then Brandon found out he had to work on Sunday. The clients he had been shopping on Saturday couldn't make up their minds and wanted to see more houses. Such is the nature of his business, and ordinarily it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. But we were both disappointed and frustrated by it this time. I considered calling in a sitter or a grandmother for Campbell, but I had pitched a big fit the night before in front of Brandon's mother about how everyone needed to leave me alone about not being ready to leave Campbell with anyone other than Brandon just yet. I figured that after having a tantrum, I couldn't then call his mother.

So I dressed the girls in their new dresses and Campbell in his best outfit and hoped that all would go well. It mostly did, but only because Liz was there to help.

I was pretty frazzled by the time we even got to the concert hall. We were supposed to wait and meet Liz and Ava in the lobby, but I couldn't handle keeping track of both girls in the crush of people, and it seemed that everywhere we stood was in someone's way, so we found our seats and settled in. Of course, as soon as we sat down, Lily decided she was dying of thirst. So I took her out to the lobby, leaving Ella behind. Campbell had been asleep through all of this, hanging out in his bjorn, but as soon as the show started, he woke up. I nursed him, hoping that would keep him quiet, but it didn't. He started crying, so I left the girls with Liz and took him to the lobby. He fell asleep pretty quickly and I went back to my seat. He slept through the whole first act, but the stress of waiting for him to wake up and cry was wearing.

At intermission, Liz took the girls with her and Ava to get drinks and snacks and to use the bathroom. I wandered around with Campbell, who was awake again.

Just like with the first act, as soon as the music of the second act started, Campbell began crying. So I climbed over everyone in our row and took him out again. As soon as I sat back down with him, the girls started asking if it was time to leave yet. Lily was so tired that she was kneeling on the floor with her head on the seat of her chair and her lovie over her face. I kept telling them that we'd stay for one more song. Finally I gave in and gathered our stuff and tiptoed out with them - just as the show finished. By the time we reached the end of the row, the curtain came down. Sigh. I herded everyone into the lobby and put on coats and hats and headed for the door.

The girls enjoyed themselves, and Campbell really was very good, all things considered, but it was very stressful for me. I couldn't really enjoy the show at all. But the thing is, I don't think I would have been less stressed if I had left the baby with a sitter. I would have spent the whole show worrying that he was at home crying or that he wouldn't take a bottle. I know Brandon can handle stuff like that, but I don't know about our sitter.

By the time we got home, I was wiped out. Fortunately, Brandon was there, so I handed over the girls and collapsed on the bed with Campbell. I told the girls we'd go again next year, but I promised that we'd leave Campbell at home.

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