Last Friday, due to a combination of pester power and working mammy guilt I found myself at a children’s show with my three children at 6pm after a long day in work. The promise had been made, the threat of not going used liberally all week, and then I remembered that my husband had long made plans and if I was doing this I was doing it solo. I couldn’t break their hearts. OK, I could have, but I didn’t. I brought them.
I got caught in Friday traffic but I landed with seconds to spare to their minder, threw them into the car and darted up to the theatre. We joined the very long queue, feeling reassured as people joined it after us that we were less likely to be turned away at the door. The boys jumped around hyper kitted out in their pirate costumes. Miss L was safely strapped in her sling. All was going as well as could be expected. We got in (phew) took our seats and the MC came on.
The boys sang along to the music and screeched excitedly. The MC did his warmup. Istarted to feel uncomfortable when he started by asking if there were any single mammies in the audience. The kids were aged up to about 6 I’d say. Mine wouldn’t even know what single means. It went over their heads.
The kids loved it, Laoise was bemused and snacked her way through the show. I sang along loudly with them, watching their hero Jake and some obligatory fart jokes. But the MC kept repeating one word over and over.
“JESUS” he’d say responding to imaginary conversations with the characters. Not “Oh Goodness” or “Jeepers”.
“JEEEEESUS” he said to Gru and the Minions, and then to Jake and then to Doc. Repeatedly. The kids didn’t comment but I was annoyed. I winced every time he said it, normalising a word that I don’t let them use.
I am no angel but I try to watch what I say around the kids. I berate myself and I scold my husband and family for using “bold words” in front of the kids. I consider “Jesus” to be a “bold word”, something I don’t want to hear coming out of my kids’ mouths. I don’t consider it to be appropriate language for a show marketed to young children. His use of it wasn’t right for an audience of adults, and there were so many other “Disney Channel” type words he could have used.
The MC got some of the characters’ names wrong. It’s DOC not DOCTOR McStuffins. It’s Neverland PIRATES not the Neverlands. My five year old noticed this and commented. We agreed that he was “a bit silly”.
Sophia the First, the feisty Disney princess appeared on the stage next. The MC asked her what she wanted, she told him “a husband”. The feminist in me wanted to check the date, were we back in the 1980’s? So he found a Daddy for her to “marry” complete with fake vows which included doing all the washing up. I cringed some more.
Our Sophia is most definitely not that kind of princess. I cringed for the Dad who was made to “marry her”. I cringed for the child whose Daddy was marrying someone on stage, my older boy would have lost his life a few years ago to see something like that going on with his Daddy. (Ask me about the time Aunty Grá got kidnapped by the pirates at the circus!)
At this stage all were tired and emotional and willing the show to end. Not least me.
Did I complain you ask? No, I didn’t. Why?
I had three small children with me solo at 8.30 when it ended. I left as quickly as I could as there were tears and talks of people needing to wee. I did check the flier over the weekend but there’s no email address of even company name on it, I would have emailed them. I might contact the theatre and see if there is somewhere that I can contact them.
My kids loved the show, they couldn’t believe that they’d gotten to go. They didn’t comment on the “bold words”, but the older one did ask why the man kept calling Doc McStuffins “Doctor” instead of “Doc”, I fudged it. We talked about how fantastic the show was.
But it niggled at me. I don’t wrap my kids in cottonwool, they have been exposed to lots of “bold words” but I’d like to think that when I bring them to a children’s event that it will be age appropriate, with no bold words or adult concepts, nothing that might upset a small child.
That’s hardly too much to ask?