Thursday, December 15, 2011

Things Not To Do When Watching Your Child's School Play

I spent several hours yesterday preparing for the frenzy that most parents experience this time of year:  The School Christmas Program.  Whether it's a Christmas Song Roundup, a Band Concert, or a Christmas Play, this time of year is filled with these events that can truly either make or break a parent's Christmas Spirit.  I love seeing first time parents slide into their seats for one of these events.  They usually look like they've tangled with Captain Hook's crocodile nemesis.  Rushing around, trying to get dinner cooked early, a quick bath, and getting the kids dressed in cute holiday costumes, at which time inevitably they decide they need to wander outside to play in the muddy snow, or dig something out of the trash, or have one last drink of grape juice-which always leads to a last minute panic as you try to find a new holiday costume for them to wear.

Photo Credit: daveynin
Last night we had our Christmas Play.  After years of Christmas concerts, where we had to sit through over an hour of music, beginning with a cute preschooler chorale then quickly progressing to the nail-in-the-ear screeching of the first year band students.  I love the first year band students, I really do.  But oh my goodness, sitting through that part of the concert was always rough.  By the time the high school band was done, I was usually ready for a drink.  And the kids were ready for bed.

Last year, our band teacher retired.  Scratch that.  Our band-math-careers-PE teacher (plus Senior adviser) retired.  Hey, in a small school, you wear many hats!  She was great.  My kids loved her, and I actually cried when she announced her retirement at the last Spring Concert.  Finding one person to fill all of those positions proved a daunting task, and the school year began with no band program.  So our teachers got together and decided to do a Christmas Play this year.

The kids, and the teachers, did an awesome job!  The play was a little long, at just over an hour, considering that the primary performers were elementary aged kids.  We didn't make it home until almost an hour after our normal bedtime.  But, given that most of them have never done a play before, and the inherent stage fright that comes with being that age, the play was awesome.

Not so awesome:  The audience.  Since my oldest kid is 19, I'm a veteran of approximately 40 school performances.  And I can tell you, the audiences never get better.  Here's my list of things I wish audience members never ever did during their child's school play.

  • When you're videotaping, keep the camera at a decent angle.  That means do not hold it above your head.  If you don't want to get shots of everyone else's head, arrive early and sit in the front.  The people behind you cannot see around your arms.
  • Do not save an entire row of seats for Grandma, Aunt Marge, your neighbor down the road, and your imaginary friend.  They're not here, and I am, and I want to sit down.
  • Do not give the side eye stare to the family with the cranky baby.  They want to see their older kids perform, and it's not their fault, or the baby's, that the school play is nearing the bed time hour.
  • Do not give the side eye stare to the lady walking around with the toddler in the back of the auditorium, commons room, or cafeteria.  Toddlers were not meant to sit quietly for over an hour.  At least she's keeping her toddler occupied and reasonably quiet, while occasionally getting glimpses of her older kids performing.
  • Do not give the side eye stare to the lesbian couple watching their child perform.  In a small community, they should get bonus points for even coming out in public, because nasty things get said to them every single day.   Whether you like them or not, they are here, so deal with it.
  • Do not give the side eye stare to the pregnant woman sitting on the aisle, seemingly blocking an entire row.  You'll appreciate not having her eight months pregnant baby belly in your face when she has to pee three times during the performance.
  • Do not block the aisles to videotape your kids during the performance.  The pregnant lady who arrived early enough to sit near the front so she could wave at her kid may need to pee.
  • Do not bring a news crew type video set up to videotape your kids during the performance.  Your hand held camera will do just fine.
  • Do not arrive late and complain because all that's left are crappy seats.  The rest of us got here early, or resigned ourselves to bad seats.
  • Do not make your child stop as the progression goes through the middle aisle so you can snap a picture.  All the other kids are looking in the audience for their parents and not in front of them, so the pile up is inevitable.
  • I'm talking to the men for this one:  Do not run out to the car, and sit in the parking lot with your music blaring out of your open windows in December, while your wife gets your three tired children from inside.  I'm talking to you, guy in the white jeep!

This has been a Public Service Announcement by the Backwoods Housewife.


  1. Love it! So true! And so funny at the same time! :) Hope you survived the play and got your drink at a decent time.

  2. I wish I could email this post from our PTA...had a music concert on Tuesday and have an orchestra concert tonight. If only everyone would follow these suggestions!!

  3. That's an awesome list. Whenever I see a gay couple out enjoying something like this I want to run up and hug them. I figure they would think I'm crazy so I never do.


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