Have Twins, Will Travel

Big Apple Circus

Boston, Massachusetts – The twins are turning three on Saturday!

Twin S is doing his best to get in his fair share of  the Terrible Twos before his time is up. But that’s another story.

We started the birthday festivities early, with a visit today to the Big Apple Circus. We were going to go on the actual birthday, until we figured out that tickets are more than twice as much on weekends. But at the Thursday matinee, we could sit in the FRONT ROW for $40 a person. And since the twins are not yet three years old, they could sit on our laps for free. Bargain.
The Big Apple Circus is a small, one-ring circus. It takes place in a tent on Government Center, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the action. There are trained horses and dancing dogs (all rescue dogs, we learned today), but no ill-treated elephants. Most of the show is acrobats and aerialists, with a few clowns who keep it real.
This was our second attempt at the Big Apple Circus. We actually tried to do this last year for the second birthday, when the twins had a much more rigid nap schedule and less tolerance for dark places, bright lights or loud noises. It was basically a flop since the twins spent the beginning of the show whining and squirming, forcing us to leave the tent several times, so that neither of us actually saw much of the first half. Then we left at intermission.
Daddio insists that this was a successful outing, which is an example of how he is making sure that these kids remember a happy childhood, even if he has to invent it. He is an expert reframer, which I truly admire.
Anyway, the twins are now 50% older, so we decided to give it another shot. We talked it up for a few days in advance. We watched an episode of Curious George where he goes to the circus. We sang the “Flying Trapeze” song. The twins were psyched. This morning, there was so much anticipation that we had to leave the house early, because Twin V couldn’t wait.
Finally, we were settled in our seats (did I mention they were in the front row?). The lights went down, colorful spotlights flashed all around the tent and music came over the loud speaker. The ringmaster made his first appearance in a sparkly top hat. The performers came out into the ring and were dancing, jumping, spinning, flipping, juggling, unicycling, etc just a few feet away from us.
Twin V was petrified.
For the first 10 or 15 minutes, I wasn’t sure he was going to make it. It was too dark, too bright, too loud… just too weird.
But he was intrigued. Even while he was clinging to me with his face buried in my shoulder, he would peak out to see what was happening.
He didn’t see much of the trapeze artist who performed first. The horses were perhaps too big and too close for comfort, but he couldn’t resist the beautiful white show ponies when they came prancing around. The slack-rope walker was amazing, but more importantly (for Twin V) was that he had seen this on Curious George, and I think he was comforted by the familiar. The clowns kept interacting with people in the audience, including borrowing a jacket from the guy sitting right next to us. Nobody else seemed too concerned, and Twin V took note. Slowly but surely, he began to loosen his grip.
Meanwhile, Twin S was having a ball. He was mesmerized by the acrobatics and totally cracking up at the clowns.
At intermission, Twin V asked to go home. But after he had a chance to eat a snack and look around the tent with the lights up, he had a major attitude adjustment. During the second half, he was literally leaning on the edge of the stage. He couldn’t take his eyes off the dancing dogs, the bicycle acrobats and − especially − the clowns.
The twins spent the rest of the day arguing about who likes horses and who likes ponies. When addressed by name, Twin V corrected us, saying he was Clown. And Twin S has proclaimed himself “shoe master”, which I think is the ringmaster. Even I am dubbing this one a success.

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