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The Big Red One

Thousands of screaming fans. Girls,
collapsing, sobbing, at the sight of their hero. A stage with
hundreds of lights focused on the star, and beefy security guys
down front to make sure nobody mobs the talent.

The Jonas Brothers in concert?

Nope. Bigger.

Elmo is in town.

Sesame Street Live! came to town last
week, and we got the girls tickets. We didn’t tell Maddie and
Cora until a week before, which turned out to be an incredibly wise
decision, since they pestered us the rest of the week.

“Go see Elmo? See show? Elmo in it? Zoe? Abby Dabby?”
Cora would demand, every day. The night before the big show, we
picked out our outfits, and Cora agonized – the Cookie
t-shirt, or the Elmo one? Unable to choose between her favorites,
she ended up with an Elmo t-shirt and a Cookie ponytail holder.

We warned the girls we’d have to wake them up a bit early to
get out to the show the next day, which of course was wasted
breath; Cora was humming Sesame Street’s theme song before
our alarm went off, and Maddie was up soon after. A remarkably easy
breakfast time flew by, and after a short(ish) drive in the car, we
were there.

Sesame Street came to the local concert venue, which hosts rock
stars and Rockettes. With 6500 seats, it’s large and
impressive and rather intimidating. We were here for a kid’s
show, right??

At first glance, the answer was yes; Petunia Picklebottom bags
trumped Fendi baguettes, and sippy cups replaced the plastic beer
glasses I’m used to seeing at a concert. Vendors roamed the
aisles hawking cotton candy (at 10 a.m.!!! Are you trying to ruin
my life???) and toddlers melted down with reassuring regularity.

And then the show started.

The first person to step out was Bert, and Cora, sitting on my lap,
gave an audible gasp. They’re real! They’re really
here! One by one, cast members came out as they sang about the
alphabet, and with each appearance, the screams grew stronger: Abby

The cast had artfully worked the audience into a fever pitch, when
with precision timing they stopped in the middle of the song.
“Hey, everyone,” Bert mused out loud.
“Aren’t we missing someone?” The audience froze
– could it be? “Yeah, that’s right!” said
Abby. “Where’s Elmo?”

“Hi, everybody!” the red monster stuck his furry head
out from behind the curtain and gave a disarming giggle. Half the
audience promptly wet their pull-ups in ecstasy, and the other half
struggled in vain to get down off a parent’s lap and rush the

Both my girls reacted in their typical fashions: Cora squealed,
clapped her hands and said, “’At’s Elmo! Hey
Elmo! Is Cora!” while Maddie froze, entranced. She stared at
the stage and her eyes lit up, every nerve focused on her friends
up there, but otherwise completely immobile.

The show went in typical fashion; Sesame Street had a problem, and
everyone joined together to fix it. During intermission we stood
and stretched, the girls eating the animal cracker’s
I’d brought as a treat to stave off demands for other crap
from the local vendors. Both of them paid attention the entire
show, which clocked at ninety minutes. About eighty minutes into
it, the audience became restless and fidgety, longing for the
nearest McDonald’s Playzone and some good old-fashioned
run-around time. But all in all I was surprised at how undistracted
I was by four thousand preschoolers and toddlers, which I guess
tells you how easily I now tune out the whining and crying.

I think Maddie’s highlight was getting to meet Zoe; some of
the characters came and danced in the audience a couple times, and
when Zoe came down the aisle Maddie screwed up the courage to walk
up to her and say hi. Zoe even patted Maddie on the head, which
almost froze my star-struck girl in her tracks.

When the lights came up and the kids came out of their collective
trance, it was as if the alarm had rung on a Monday morning in the
midst of a particularly lovely dream. Trudging up the stairs, we
saw cheerios and goldfish crushed underfoot, lost sippy cups and
abandoned Elmo balloons purchased a mere sixty minutes before. Not
your typical trash for this concert venue, I’m willing to
bet, but then most of their patrons probably aren’t carried
out of the stadium whining, “No! Don’t wanna nap in the
car! I won’t! I won’t! I won’t! Wanna play more!

Or maybe they do.

So I’ve had my first kid’s show extravaganza
experience. I’m glad we did it, and glad it was Sesame
Street. The girls had a great time, and are acting out some parts
of the show, which I love. But it was a lot of money, and I’m
not sure I’m in a rush to repeat that experience.

Disney Princesses on Ice, you’ll have to do it without


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