The Ringling Brothers Circus was in town last weekend and it was a show we just HAD to watch. Sam has been obsessed with all things Carnival and Circus after she watched it on one of her favorite shows (I’m not sure if it was Dora or Team Umizoomi, but anyway one of those). I for one don’t actually remember having ever watched a true authentic circus in my life — the one with a ringmaster and a big top tent and all of that. I remember watching Cirque Du Soleil in New York decades ago, and an acrobatic exhibition a few years back in Shanghai, but none of the typical things you’d usually find in a circus.
Coincidentally as well our latest Netflix movie was Water for Elephants, so it served as a good primer for the event.
Sam was super excited about going to a circus, and while it wasn’t really in a “big top” but rather the RBC stadium, it didn’t really matter. Thanks to my friend T of Teacup Moments we were able to catch the pre-show which took place an hour before the actual show started. There people were allowed to down into the ring and view some acrobats, clowns, jugglers and animals performing some form of entertainment for the crowd. Sam also got a tattoo on her right hand, which up to this day, won’t completely come off.
Then the show started and I was surprised that she took it all in. There was a lot going on, with the three rings filled with animals or clown acts and acrobats, but she was dancing to the music and asking “What is that Mom?” for things that she didn’t completely understand. Her favorite parts of course were the ones where the animals did tricks, like the rings of baby horses or the tigers and the elephants.
Jamie as well didn’t want to settle down and was happy to be part of the action. She kept pointing to the ponies and the elephants as if she was telling us she wanted to be brought to them. She collapsed close to the intermission (when she got hungry and went straight to sleep) and fortunately was able to sleep through even the loud horns, music and firework displays.
I have to admit now that I’m (much) older I was able to appreciate these acts a little more as well. I kept thinking about how dangerous it was in that tiger cage – what if one of them decides to pounce on you? They are still after all, wild animals no matter what you say (Thank you National Geographic)? Or for the acrobats on the spinning wheels and the high wire trapeze artists — good god have they fallen off? How do they practice those routines? At one point the wheels were spinning so fast and they were jumping off them that they looked like they were flying. But still… what if someone didn’t screw one screw on properly? They might fall! Oh motherhood… what have you done to my nerves.
Typical of Sam, we left with her saying, “That was so great! Can we go back again next time?” To this day she’s been singing lines from the songs that the Ringmaster would sing, and I am amazed that she remembers it. Of course, the fact that she has been telling people with full confidence that she went to the circus (and she happily answers their questions) makes the entire experience all worth it.
It is noteworthy to mention that I was proud of dad too, as Sam pestered him for a toy in the end; and he held his ground and said no! I guess she was too happy about the event that she didn’t make fuss and instead clutched her free brochure like it was the most precious thing on earth.. (I would have liked it if we took home a souvenir program — I am a souvenir program type of viewer. Sam would have probably treated it like one of her books and would look through it everyday until the pages fell off.)
I love the age the girls are in now; Sam is old enough to grasp everything, remember and appreciate the little excursions we make as a family, and Jamie is also old enough that it’s easy to bring her along. She may know what she’s pointing at or looking at in that instance… I don’t know how much of it all she’ll remember though. Hopefully it will help her build her knowledge of these things in the future.