The mighty foot

My daughter, Hanna, had just turned four, and her daddy and I took her to The Nutcracker Fantasy, playing at the very fancy Ordway. She was dressed in red velvet with white tights and little black patent leather shoes. Adorable. 

The theater was over run with families, as it should be at the holiday season. Such excitement from all of the little ones! We found our seats/ smack in the middle, with great sightlines of the stage. 

The lights dimmed, the music began. You know how the overture initiates, I hope. Light, airy, and delicate as a butterfly’s wing. Entranced, Hanna was moved to stand up and twirl, like a clumsy ballerina, her shoes tapping noisily. She was asked to sit down, and she did, only to pop up as the music began to intensify. She was dancing to the music, jumping up and down…and beginning to turn a bit red.

Families around us were giving us looks of sympathy, thank goodness. “No worries,” their eyes said, “we have ‘been there’ too.”

Then our daughter began to fidget in her chair, wiggling and dare I say it—did I hear an unmistakable sound escape from her lower extremity? Could it be she just—? 

I shot her father a look as in, “did you hear that? Did she really…?” He looked back helplessly, widening his eyes for emphasis. Yes, his eyes confirmed—she had. I began to giggle; but because laughing out loud would be entirely inappropriate, I began to cry instead. 

The end of the overture approached. Duh duh duh duh duh! Duhduh! Duh Duhhhhhhhhhhh!

And then it was as if the mighty foot from the opening of Monty Python’s Flying Circus was wielded. Hanna yelled into the almost quiet theater, just reverberating from the last notes, “I can’t stop!” then stood up, and let out the most rip-roaring noise heard in a theater, ever.

I put my hands over my face and sobbed helplessly into my lap as the audience applauded the opening number. Parents around me guffawed and pointed at my child, as she began tugging at my arm, telling me she needed the restroom. We beat a hasty exit.

Taking your child to the theater for the first time can be dicey. 

A word of advice/ sit on the end of a row whenever possible. Want more advice? Turn to page 20. And—happy holidays to all of you from Minnesota Parent.