Tonight, we and my parents took Rachel to her first Nutcracker ballet. We've been looking forward to it, especially Dawn and my mother, for a while, and talking it up a lot, playing the music every couple of days, and so on. Dawn even goes and gets a nice new dress and dressy shoes for Rachel (which are ultra cute, by the way).
While Dawn's doing that, Rachel's playing more or less by herself, so I start on a project, a gift for Dawn. Can't say more about it right now, since Dawn might read this, but suffice to say suddenly it's 4:15 and I've got to get dressed, make a snack for Rachel, and get us all out the door - Dawn's been home for a little while and she and Rachel are almost dressed. I do all this and we are actually in the car by about 4:40, which isn't bad because we don't have far to go - we're actually only taking the truck to get it closer to where we'll be having dinner after the show so that we won't have to walk all the way home with Rachel right about her bedtime.
Problem is, I don't really think we should park right by the restaurant because it's metered and probably already busy, so I try to get somewhat close to the mid-point between the restaurant and the theatre, not really paying attention to the fact that there are a bajillion blocked streets in that area. Very quickly, now, Dawn and I are bickering over where to park and how to get there. Ugh. Finally, I just take a space. It is a lot closer to the theater and restaurant than our house is. This means that even if it didn't turn out near as well as planned, it isn't actually an unmitigated disaster. Dawn and I, however, are both annoyed and touchy.
Now we have to walk a few blocks. It's cold. Rachel doesn't want to walk. Dawn and I are irritated. Oh, what a delight. The ballet was actually great. Rachel did really well and sat through almost the entire thing without bothering other people. She wanted to leave just before the end, so I took her out to the lobby and we kinda tooled around looking at stuff until it was over.
Then we went to dinner. Dinner was so-so, at best, but the service was lousy and, of course, it's late and Rachel is tired and hungry, so the last thing we wanted was to have to wait a long time for food. Of course, the server clearly doesn't have children and didn't get our little hints. Things like "could we have a bit of tangerine for her to eat while we wait" that say to me "go get it quickly".
The walk home went a little better, except that we couldn't find Rachel's jacket. Hmm. Did we leave it at the theater? I wasn't in the seats when we actually left, and I hadn't taken it when I took Rachel out, but I couldn't remember for sure if I'd seen Dawn or my parents carrying it when they left. Instead of walking directly to the car, we walked a block or so out of the way to go back in the direction of the theater. Dawn is very upset at this point, because it's Rachel's only heavy jacket and if we don't find it or get it back from the theater fast we're going to have to replace it, which won't necessarily be easy (or fun, since Rachel's not big on jackets). We don't really have a lot of hope of finding it, since Dawn was walking in front of Rachel and me most of the way, and we'd have seen if she dropped it. Luckily, about 40 feet before Dawn went ahead of us (when we stopped so Rachel could jump off a little wall), there was the jacket. Some one had picked it up and put it on top of a hedge. Whew.
By this time, Dawn and I are starting to be a little more conciliatory about our... adventures on the way to the theater. My friend Chris one mentioned a book called The Tipping Point to me; I want to read this book - it apparently talks about how people behave when they are, or think they are, under stress. Like getting freaked out about whether we're parking as close to the theater as we thought. Or that we're not precisely on the same page about the plan.
All in all, it turned out well. Rachel was ultra-cute in her new dress and enjoyed the ballet. We had a good time and Dawn got to take Rachel to her first ballet.