Sunday, April 15, 2007

Child Avoidance


Thaddeus and I went to the ballet in Princeton today...one of our many places that is typically child-free.

My Child Hating Ways
I don't really hate children, but I prefer to not have to deal with them unless it's an appropriate setting.

Unfortunately, the woman sitting next to me at the ballet, felt it was appropriate to have a four year old child at the ballet.

Perhaps it's understandable to think it would be okay to bring a child to such an event. It was Sleeping Beauty and it was a sunday matinee.

But from my perspective, the child was very distracting. She insisted on sitting in her mother's lap, which kept her constantly in my periphery. She spoke frequently throughout the show, despite the mothers' hushes, and she was extremely fidgety, including pointing at the ceiling, kicking my leg or the seat in front of her, or clicking her large-bead bracelet.

I'm glad that the performance wasn't very good, otherwise I would have been incredibly annoyed. As it was, I was moderately annoyed.

Current Knitting
I've made some progress on the first sleeve of the colorblock cardigan.



I was hoping to have finished the first sleeve this weekend, but I found myself distracted by other things. I even came up with an idea for the recently plied bulky merino handspun. I'm planning on swatching that soon to see if I like the concept.

Belated Birthday Prezzies
James never ceases to make me feel incredibly special. For my birthday, he sent me a lovely package all the way from New Zealand. This is what I saw when I opened it.



And this is what was inside.



It includes some delightful chocolate, and an even more delightful little sheep story about a sheep named Selma.



I have to admit, if James hadn't written a nice note in the little book, I would have definitely considered re-gifting this little gem to knit-friend, Selma.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the sleeves on the colorblock cardigan, Leslie asks, "The colors seem to also match at the seam on the first and third row; will the colors continue to meet on alternate rows or was that just serendipitous?"

Completely serendipitous. That kind of planning would have taken way more energy than I care to expend on a sweater.

Erica writes, "This may be a totally lame question, but how come you're not knitting that sleeve in the round?"

Not a lame question at all. Many folks love knitting sleeves in the round, but I'm not one of them. I don't like the patterning that the increases (or decreases if you're knitting from the top-down) make on a sleeve knitted in the round. I know it sounds strange to some, but I'd rather see a seam than uniform increases.

Also regarding the colorblock cardigan, Cara writes, "Do you sketch out your design (in color) before hand, or do you like to be happily surprised with the FO?"

If I'm not sure my color scheme will work, or if I'm trying to make sure the finished sweater has a balanced composition, I will mock up the design using MS Excel, or PowerPoint. I needed to do that for the Fiestaware Pullover and for a baby blanket I knit for my sister-in-law a while back. But for this sweater, I knew I would like the color scheme, and wanted it to be random with no apparent composition, so I didn't do any pre-planning.

18 comments:

Ann (yet another) said...

Man! How do you get on James' mailing list!?

As for the annoying child, I'd have looked around for any empty spots away from bothersome persons and asked the usher if he could possibly seat us there. But then, I'm like that.

M-H said...

I think that four is too young to attend an adult performance. Children need to be able to sit still for quite a long time to do that. Most ballets have children's performances - shorter and with special introductions etc) from time to time. OTOH, I suppose that that might have been the only way the mother could get to see the ballet, so maybe I shouldn't carp. But I'd have had the same reaction as you, bitch that I am.

Marilyn said...

My first theater experience was at age 8, at a Met working rehearsal of Die Walkure. My mother dared not take me anywhere before that. As for my own children, they were also kept away from adult activities, until they were teenagers, at which time they didn't care anyway. As my nephew Nick said, when my sister dragged him to tea at a local tea house, "This place is for adults, not for kids. I wanna go."

The color block sweater is even more beautiful in person--I've seen it. Of course, considering that Joe has no color sense, I guess maybe the cat chose the colors. He's smart enough.

kmbr said...

Joe, I love seeing the progress on your color block sweater. No way do have the patience for that.

As a mom of 2 small boys, I have noticed there seems to be a correlation between parents who are unaware that it is their job to teach their children what is appropriate behavior, and parents who take their children to wholly age inappropriate venues.

There seems to be some bizarre competition as to what amount of "adult" entertainment they can get their poor kids to endure, (oops, I mean "expose them to") regardless of the consequences for the kids, or anyone else present.
I feel for you.
kmbr

Elizabeth said...

Regarding Erica's question: It's also a royal pain the neck to do something that approximates intarsia in the round. (Or was that not the sleeve she was talking about?)

I think the colors on the colorblock sweater look great together. I can't wait to see it all done.

ginchy said...

I am guilty of taking my baby daughter to age inappropriate places, such as restaurants or pubs. However, we go early, and we leave if she gets upset or starts to disturb other patrons, or one of us takes her outside while the other finishes up. I wouldn't be taking her anywhere like the ballet for years, and certainly not at 4 years old, unless it was a specific performance for children.

Dawn said...

Hi Joe,

I was reading in the Dutch newspapers about the amounts of money the various presidential candidates have collected so far, 26 million was the most. It is early days yet, and this money will probably be spent on getting the party nomination, never mind the presidential campaign.

When HC declared, I read that the Republicans had spent 80 milion on a campaign against her for the NY election.

These amounts, such conspicuous waste, make me sick to my stomach. What do you and your American readers think of this? Is this how you want your politicians to be selected? Think of what could be achieved with this money if it wasn't spent this way every 8 years or so. Think of how many Kiva projects (publicised recently by your friend Carol) could be financed.

I would be interested to hear your take on this aspect of American politics.

Kim said...

While I feel your pain on the kid thing, not every little kid is incapable of attending an adult performance. Some of my favorite memories are of being taken to the opera and ballet when I was between 4 and 7. The earliest of these performances were at the old Met in New York (we sat so far back and high up that I could touch the ceiling).

But I was prepared. My parents and grandparents played the work we were to see on the phonograph. We talked about the story. I had to practice sitting and listening. I was dressed up (fancy clothes can help blunt the urge to behave as a kid).

Being a breeder, I've indoctrinated my own kids in the same way. Even small they could be taken to fine restaurants and performances. I've had people roll their eyes at having to sit near us, then after the event, turn to me and say that they didn't know that a kid was nearby during the performance. But I've also sat near the annoying kids of others, so I know that the behavior I expect from mine is rarely achieved.

Erica said...

Thanks for clarifying on knitting the sleeve in the round, Joe. :)

Elizabeth - I was referring to the sleeve...I've never knitted a sleeve at all, and wondered if there was a technical reason that it couldn't be done or if it was just preference.

angie Cox said...

As a mother I still agree that 4 is too young to take a child to the ballet . I loathe the school holidays as they seem to be allowed to run riot all over town. The ballet and Opera are very expensive here so I'd be very annoyed. I know lots of people say children are allowed into more place in countries like Italy but maybe they behave better ? Times have changed a lot and parents seem unable to control children. It is awful watching them pick up goods in shops and especially my L.Y.S where the yarn gets thrown on the floor.

Carol said...

Oh, Joe, the reason you hate children is that you haven't met mine yet.

Mwah.

Sandy said...

I understand about the kid at the ballet. I have kids and don't take them to things like that unless it is a sunday afternoon show, My lg likes this stuff and will sit still and quite once the lights go down. As I work in this field I think these types of things are important for kids. Thst being said I only take them to afternoon shows that suit their age. In my neck of the woods this is the show all the moms take their kids to and the blue hairs of corse. I love the color block. I can't wait to see it done.

Carol said...

Oh yeah, it pays to always travel with M&Ms. You can shut the little f***ers up for quite a while with those.

Marilyn said...

I always believed that duct tape would work wonders with my little f***ers. However, usually junk food did the trick. If they didn't try to throw it at each other.

Traveling in the car was usually the time for gross acting out. That was when Mamoo pulled over and stopped the car. And gave 'em the eye. That usually sufficed.

Kathy said...

Mother of three heartily agrees with propriety of children at adult shows. Hell; bad behavior at Children's shows (Kennedy Center Kinderkonzerts for heaven's sake) really pisses me off.

If your kid can't sit still, don't ask them to give it their best shot at other (paying) people's expense. So sayeth I.

Cara said...

Powerpoint & spreadsheets? OMGoodness, I was thinking like a sketchbook. But the important thing is to have your plan, whether it be a loose plan or a tight one. Thank you.

In sympathy for people like you, Joe (and I fit into this category as well), I have yet to take my child to a movie theater, but ...last week I took my 3YO daughter to a violin quintet performance by Hidetaro Suzuki "& Friends". Apparently a whole busload of teens (in my experience, bands of teens are more antsy than a toddler on crack) was supposed to come but didn't make it. We sat in the very last row (for quick exits and less distraction), and I told her beforehand that if she made noise or fidgeted that we would be leaving. Since she Loves violin, she was pretty good, and 2 ladies at intermission were surprised that they hadn't heard a peep out of her. The second half, though, it was late and she got antsy, so we left. I'm pretty sure the people sitting in front of us knew she was there (fidget, stand up, sit down, etc) but we were there when they arrived, so I figured if they were going to make a stink, they could have found another place to sit. I find that explaining consequences and expectations (even to a 3YO)and being willing to get up and walk out goes a long way. It was a great performance, too.

On the other hand, I got annoyed in church Sunday by the nice couple next to me with their 18 month old crowing and fussing during the musical interlude and meditation. There's a cry room where you can hear and see everything ....

Personally, I always pack duct tape in the "diaper" bag in case of emergency.

Cara said...

ps, the prize for child unfriendly establishments, imo, was a little bistro in Louisville with a big sign stating "NO STROLLERS" even the little bitty umbrella stroller I was using that day. After a brief discussion with the proprietor, I realized it was a legal and yet unsubtle way of preventing people with children from visiting their establishment.

Anonymous said...

As a mom, I think the idea of taking one's child to a ballet or play is enchanting (now that I'm an empty-nester, it sounds enchanting anyway). Back to earth, though, I understand how annoying children can be at such events. When my daughter was two, I took her to the public library's storytime for two year olds. Most of the children present sat wide-eyed on their mothers' laps and didn't make a sound. My child, however, slid off my lap after about five minutes, made the rounds of the room, grinned and pulled at other children in an attempt to get them off their moms' laps. The woman in charge --unbelievably she was the children's librarian -- finally stopped the story and said loudly "Would you please control your child?" I took my child and left the room in tears. I couldn't believe that at an event for two year olds, my child was apparently too rowdy! The head librarian, to whom I complained, apologized and said she would speak to the children's librarian. I found out later that many parents had complained about this woman and she ultimately found another job.