Friday, February 12, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Today I took Liam and Ciara to see "Elmo Grows Up" at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.  It was our first foray into the world of live kid's shows... and, it just might be our last.  Here's the deal -- that fluffy red monster has a voice that could peel paint off walls.  I swear that even Ciara was rolling her eyes through most of it while Liam was just feigning interest so as not to disappoint me as I asked if he was having a great time.  He wasn't.  She wasn't.  But even so, they wanted all the trinkets and tchockes that were for sale... cotton candy, popcorn, Elmo ballons, Elmo activity books, Elmo water bottles -- you get the picture.  And, it's not pretty!

Here's what I learned from today's outing:  I learned what my kids really love -- they love train rides.  They love adventure -- even if the form it takes is ducking through the turnstiles on the subway or holding hands while racing through Grand Central at rush hour.  One of the highlights of the day was following Liam's suggestion to ride the escalators in the Grand Hyatt.  Why were we in the Grand Hyatt you wonder?  To use the bathroom, of course!  This is actually a great tip for any city-bound day out with the kids... do NOT seek out the restrooms in train stations, gas stations or Starbucks.  DO seek out bathrooms in the pristinely clean and very nice hotels that can be found on virtually any street corner in New York... a few of our favs are at the Waldorf, the Mandarin Oriental and now, thanks to the escalators, the Grand Hyatt.

In any case, I think what made riding the escalators such an exhilerating experience for them was simply this -- it was their idea and I listened to them.  For a change, I followed their suggestion instead of dismissing it with an authoritative "not now, maybe later, no, can't do it, babies are crying, it's time for bed, I have to go, you have to go, just can't do it!" Words can't do justice to the lovely, simple pleasure it was just to hold their hands and watch them squeal with a combination of joy and nervousness each time we hopped on and off the "magic stairs".  I think the last time we had such a carefree moment was when I gave in to an ice cream request one day this summer despite the fact that it was "close to dinnertime/going to melt/a bad idea/you'll get a bellyache," etc.

So, should your tots ever see a commerical for "Elmo Grows Up", "Disney on Ice" or whatever the show du jour is, I suggest you "just say no" -- and then hop on a train and see where the day takes you. While you're at it, listen to what your kids have to say -- I'm going to try to do so more often myself.

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

Had the same experience with Sesame Street Live with my nephew when he was 3. Vowed never to do that again. Do consider the Big Apple Circus. I find it to be much less commercial (albeit the popcorn and cotton candy has appeal) and its humor rewards our intelligence (and that of younger circus goers).