Welcome to Tigersue's Jungle. Here you may find a Jungle of thoughts and idea's. You may never know what you will find!
Yes, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I am a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Woman To Woman: Is it really a family night out?

I am at that interesting point in life. I have been blessed to have children in two different batches. That makes life interesting on many perspectives about taking children out to many various activities. I honestly think much of it has to do with the temperament of the child.

As a musician my biggest pet pieve are people that take babies to formal concerts. I have played in a community orchestra that quite frankly wasn't that great, but we had fun. My husband would take our children when they were small, that was a great way to introduce them to the world of music and how to behave at a concert. Most of the performances were not much over an hour so the timing was great for toddlers and children. The last time I played with the group Kendra was only about 7 months old. We were performing The Messiah and she was singing along with the audience during the sing in parts. There was something about the music that touched her infant soul.

Going to a major symphony, opera, play, ballet, or extravaganza with a young child, where other patrons have spent their own precious money and perhaps the effort to secure a babysitter so they can attend without their children is not only discouraged but also widely frowned upon. There is nothing more disturbing than to have a child whimper in a performance or people moving up and down distracting from what is on stage.

I honestly think that society in Utah has slowly grown away from concert etiquette. We treat others who have put time and effort with distain when we do not sit quietly and respectfully through their performance. We need to teach our children that kind of respect.

The same thing bothers me going to movies. Others that bring their infants disturb me and little children to movies made for adult eyes and ears. Not only do I think it is inappropriate to expose little ones to the sights, but the sounds and language, and even the volume level can be hard on such tender little souls. Again, if the mother has to get up with the baby it disturbs the impression of the movie that I can see.

So where do I take my little ones? Informal concerts, (such as concerts in the parks, pops concerts, ward talent shows) are a good start. I believe in taking my children to church. As you can tell from my last post, and as any member of the LDS church that has had children deal with trying to keep children happy and quiet. For us we have standards that can be very hard to keep when our children see other families that do not follow the same practices. For example, we do not bring out books, crayons, snacks or anything to entertain the children until AFTER the sacrament. I want them to learn and understand that the sacrament is a sacred and special ordinance and I feel by given privileges before can ruin the teaching of the spirit in that moment. Kendra saw some children coloring during the sacrament and started to throw a temper tantrum because she wanted to color too. I ended up taking her out in the hall to sit quietly.

If we have to take them out into the hall, we are sitting on the couch or standing. They are not allowed to run around during sacrament meeting. We do not want them to learn that being out in the hall is fun. We want them to learn that we have their books, crayons and snacks to be quiet in the chapel. We are not going to reward bad behavior by allowing them to play in the hall. During the rest of the meetings, we allow them to stretch their legs, but the sacrament is a time to be reverent and quiet.

I have taken my little ones to funerals, but it has also depended on the child's temperament. If they are content to be quiet and do not fuss too much it has worked, if they are busy, active, and prone to temper tantrums I do not. It has also depended on who has died. If it is a family member, I am more likely to take them than if it is a friend. Still it is something I weigh very carefully as to the emotional and developmental maturity of the little one. I have hired babysitters, and I have taken them.

Right now, I am in a dilemma to take them to Idaho for a wedding. It is a 4-hour drive; we do not have a place to stay now so we may drive right back after the wedding. It may come down to Michael taking Natasha and Collin and my staying home with the girls. We have to decide in the next week.

Taking children to various things is always and experience. I have left Collin in charge of the two little ones so I can go to a swim meet, Michael and I have taken turns to go to concerts that the two older ones have participation. We want Kendra and Abbie to learn that to go to these things are special, and we want to be supportive of Natasha and Collin. We often are doing juggling acts, but that is the joy of having our children in two groups. It has made us all grow just a bit more, and perhaps be more flexible and understanding when it is not appropriate for the little ones to go with us.

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