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Entertainment Overload?

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Last weekend we took Declan to see Michael Franti & Spearhead in concert. This wasn’t just any concert, mind you – it was a kid’s matinee concert on Saturday afternoon between Franti’s two evening shows on Friday and Saturday night. Which absolutely changed the tenor of the show, let me tell you. Like, for example, there was a huge bouncy castle in the Fillmore. Let me repeat that. A huge BOUNCY CASTLE on the floor of the Fillmore Auditorium on Colfax Avenue. Not only that, but there were balloon animal makers, and craft tables, a huge Chinese dragon weaving through the crowd, and a little play put on by local actors before the band took the stage. In a word – surreal. AND FREAKING COOL!

But my son? He was completely overwhelmed.

And when he gets overwhelmed, so do I.

I have what I call “chaos moments.” Where the surrounding stimulation just gets to be too much and I need to shut down. Even for just 10 minutes sometimes, just chill. We are starting to see that Declan gets these “chaos moments” too. And the scene at the Michael Franti could certainly overwhelm a 6 year old.

I had so many thoughts running through my head as we tried to break Declan of his mopey, whiney mood. Do we, as parents these days, just have to *many* fun, crazy amusements for kids? Is it fair for me to be disappointed that he wasn’t as excited over the concert as I was? How could we have prepared him better for this kind of scene?

Bryan and I brainstormed later about the last question, and really – we did the best we could. We took him to the back. We let him play in the bouncy castle, something which he was familiar with. We got him used to the music and had *him* decide if we moved up closer to the stage or not.

As for the first question – whether he are just overloading him with crazy amounts of things to do? I really don’t know the answer. I do know that we sure had fun once he got used to it.

What do you think?

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  • comment avatar Megan December 4, 2008

    that’s a tough one. it’s hard to find a balance between the fun things and overwhelming them!!!

  • comment avatar Lori December 4, 2008

    When I predict my children’s reaction to something — a food, and event, a person — I am wrong about 80% of the time.

    Makes planning a big challenge.

    I’d really wanted to go to that concert. Enjoyed your tweets about it!

  • comment avatar kagey December 4, 2008

    We aren’t the amusement park type – even as a kid that was a RARE treat. The zoo on a crowded day is about as crazy as we get.
    And when we have to leave a kids’ event because they are overloaded or overtired, I’m always a little disappointed. But if they aren’t having fun, we aren’t having fun!

  • comment avatar Catherine December 4, 2008

    We used to work everything around nap time. If it interrupted nap time it just didn’t happen because we weren’t willing to deal with the chaos. But the two little ones are getting older now and we’re taking more chances lately. We’re just doing what you did. Taking them out… Testing the waters…. Planning the next event according to how the prior one panned out… trying to find some balance.

    This parenting thing…. FREAKING. HARD.

    But you and Bryan are so conscientious. Declan is a lucky little guy to have you!

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