Monday, February 23, 2009

Bean-girl's first symphony concert

“She’s changed so much in just three weeks!” my mother exclaimed of Baby Legume. Indeed, both children seem to be going through both mental and physical growth spurts. It’s more noticeable with Legume, who’s going through the fabled toddler language explosion. Just last week she learned the word “No”—pronounced more like “Neh!” in Legume-speak. So it has been “Neh, neh, neh!” around here, emphasized with a shaking head. I also swear that I heard her say “mine!” when she was tussling with Bean-girl over some thing. And she has finally learned to say Bean-girl’s name, much to Bean-girl’s amusement. “She doesn’t say it quite right,” Bean-girl pointed out.

The grandparents were in town last week, filling up on grandkid time before they take a month long overseas trip. Legume cried, as usual, when she saw her grandmother’s face. But this time she calmed down more quickly, and was soon sitting on grandma’s lap, listening to stories and playing. My mother is enamoured. “She’s good to me now, she likes me!” my mom kept saying of her youngest granddaughter. And Bean-girl has always warmed to her grandparents, from the very beginning. When she hears that they are coming for a visit she asks for how long, and is disappointed if they don’t stay the night.

Bean-girl went to her first symphony concert this weekend. There is a sleek modern community arts center down the hill from our house, in walking distance. We wandered through an art exhibit there when we first moved to this house, but had never attended a performance there. I saw in the paper that a childrens’ production of “Cinderella” was being staged over the weekend, with music provided by our city’s symphony orchestra. It seemed a good time to introduce the Bean to a little culture. My husband took a nap with the Legume while Bean-girl and I made our escape. The grandparents joined in on the pre-concert festivities—there was a “renaissance faire” (high school kids in medieval costumes wandering the lobby); medieval-themed crafts projects, and an orchestra petting zoo that Bean-girl took zero interest in. But she loved the crafts and the concert itself. I hadn’t realized that half an hour would be devoted solely to classical music from the symphony. Excepting the Police concert this past summer, I hadn’t heard any live music in years. The last time I attended a symphony concert was in grad school. There is something about the swelling of live music that cannot be replicated by any stereo sound system. The orchestra started off with an excerpt of the William Tell overture. “Hey, this music is like the Little Einsteins,” Bean-girl told me, referring to a favorite children’s cartoon series that features classical music in each episode. “Music can tell a story,” the conductor told the audience of children. “What story do you think that piece was telling?” “The Little Einsteins!” Bean-girl shouted from the balcony (I don’t think he heard her).

The conductor did a marvelous job of introducing short pieces to the children and explaining how music could mimic a rainstorm, or the bounce of Sancho Panza tossed in a blanket, or the flight of Baba Yaga the witch. Bean-girl beamed on my lap (although she also covered her ears at some parts of the musical rainstorm). Then the “Cinderella” production started. From the newspaper description I had expected a puppet show, but this “puppet show” was actually a ballet featuring masked dancers and dancers manipulating life-sized puppets. Bean-girl squirmed and got a little restless toward the end, but overall seemed to enjoy it. We went home afterward with her cardboard crafted dragon and sword, and she affirmed that she would certainly like to see a similar show again.

And I was reminded that someday, Husband and I will have to get out on the town ourselves for a full-length symphony concert or bit o’culture. It’s been quite a while. But this past Sunday it was also lovely to share the moment on a one-on-one date with my bestest Bean-girl.

Things have been busy here, what with work, kids, relatives, etc. Blog posting and reading are both taking a hit. I hope to remedy that soon. . . But it’ll have to wait a little while longer. The Bean family is taking a short vacation this Wednesday to a water park resort. Umm, it’s not the kind of vacation I would have planned sans kids. But other parents have all raved about this place.


ScienceGirl said...

I love symphony! So glad the Bean-girl likes it already :) (And I didn't realize Baba Yaga was internationally renowned?)

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

That sounds like a great idea for kids!

My sister called me Didi when she first started to talk, and my parents thought it was so cute, they corrected her with "no, it's Didi!" when she started to call me Dafwin. Poor confused child...

nana said...

that sounds like an awesome time! i remember seeing really great theater productions when i lived in kzoo.

i am also overrun w/ culture here and am making up new outfits to wear to the opera and museum. one is a burlap sack with a red bebe belt!