We went to this kind of crazy event Friday night. Tom mentioned a couple of weeks ago that he could get tickets to a "Marine Corps Evening Parade" thing and thought that the kids might get a kick out of it. The Marine Band and the Drum & Bugle Corps were going to perform, and there would be battalion drilling, including the one unit that does their drill without commands (they go through the whole thing completely silent...ah! Here's a video, from last year, but it was basically the same.). So I said sure, sounds neat. Then a week or so ago, he got the official invitation and sent it along saying, "Huh, looks like this is a fancy thing! Opportunity for Soren to wear his kilt!" Uh, yeah, fancy attire, and the parade doesn't even start til 8:45pm. And runs til 10.
So I was HIGHLY skeptical about this being a good idea. Eleri has been..oh, let's just say fragile...lately. Extra fragile. Major freakouts when she doesn't get her way, just horribly unpleasant 3 y.o. behavior. Especially if she's tired and/or hungry. So yeah, fancy-dress event starting almost an hour past bedtime and involving a considerable chunk of time where you have to be QUIET? This did not sound like a good idea. I told Tom maybe he and Soren should just go, and he thought Eleri would probably be fine but conceded that maybe it would be too late in the evening for her after all. In the end, we agreed to just see how Friday was going, see how her mood was by the early evening, and go from there.
Friday I made the kids take it easy in the afternoon, hoping no one would get overtired. El had a bit of whining before dinnertime, but one we sat down at the table, she plowed through all of her food like a champion and was in a perfectly pleasant mood. Like, charming and happy and calm and smiley and cute. So...I figured we were go for launch. So we all got dressed up in our fancy clothes. We drove into DC. We parked and got escorted to our seats...which were in the VIP section. We were seated two rows behind the event's host and guest of honor (Sen. Claire McCaskill). And it was not a spot from which we could very easily make a quick getaway if things were to turn south. Welp, here goes nothing!
And no kidding? The kids were amazing. They were AMAZING. They were all smiley and enthusiastic and sweet and well behaved. There were a few instances of quiet talking when we were supposed to be, you know, not talking, and had to be reminded to whisper, but no one yelled. No one cried. No one got upset or made inappropriate comments or rude noises. And we stayed for the WHOLE thing. All the way to 10:00. The lady sitting in front of us turned around at the end and told Eleri what a wonderful job she'd done, behaving so nicely through the whole thing. It seriously couldn't have gone better. I was flabbergasted. And happy to have been proven wrong. I'm glad we went. It really was quite cool, and everybody had a really good time.