The weekend after Disney, we had more fun plans on tap: we were taking the kids to the circus! Naturally, it was their first time, and was only my second time ever. (Eric surprised me with tickets to the circus when we were living in D.C.. We did also see the elephants marching into NYC but didn't see the circus there). We bought the tickets before we left for Disney because we figured, hey, Ellie loves animals, she'll think this is great! I was so excited to take her because I knew she was just going to love it.
Well, then we went to Disney and learned that Ellie is TERRIFIED of anything involving loud noises (and fireworks especially). So, I was unsure how this circus thing would go.
We arrived at the arena shortly after the circus was already underway, just in time to see the elephants entering in the big opening number.
Elephants helping to kick things off!
When we reached our seats, the camels had taken the stage.
Camels doing their thing
However, Ellie wasn't seeing any of this, because she was too busy clinging to Eric, hiding her face in his shoulder and crying to go home. Darn it.
E.J., on the other hand, LOVED it. (This is an example of how we have come to claim the song "Everything is Awesome" from The Lego Movie as E.J.'s theme song—because in his world, everything is indeed awesome.)
Soon I saw the human cannon come wheeling out so I suggested it might be a good time for Eric to take Ellie out to get some popcorn. He shuttled her off to a quieter land while E.J. and I enjoyed more of the show.
The human cannonball is flying through the air!
When they came back, Eric and I swapped kids and Ellie cried into my shoulder for a long time. I had hoped that the popcorn trip would serve as a sort of reset, plus she loves popcorn so I hoped that would be a sufficient distraction. It was not and I just could not get her settled for the longest time. Finally, however, I was able to get her to sit on my lap and look out to watch the elephants. They were a crowd-pleaser, and even Ellie liked when they were "sleeping."
The elephants "sleeping"
Time to wake up, elephants!
Kicking beach balls into the crowd!
Ellie also liked the clowns (THAT she's not afraid of, because that makes total sense).
A small sampling of all the clowns
The elephants were the last act before intermission. During intermission, they had what was essentially an ad for some brand of car (clearly, it was a very effective ad), and included the clowns climbing in and out of it. Ellie loved that part.
Hanging out (happily) during intermission
When the show resumed, Ellie actually watched (and enjoyed?) the next act: acrobats, including mermaids swinging on large hoops. The music was calm and peaceful and she watched intently.
You can sort of see Ellie on the right, actually out of my lap and enjoying the show
After the mermaids, however, the music turned ominous and a little louder and it was back to Major Freakout Mode. Resume crying into my shoulder and refusing to watch the show. So close!
The next scary act
The tigers were up soon and I tried desperately to get Ellie to watch that part because I knew she would love it. I even tried to sell it as, "Look at all the Daniels!," a reference to one of her favorite TV shows, "Daniel Tiger." Still, no luck.
A whole row of Daniels
She did finally turn around again to see the performing dogs towards the end. She was expressionless, but she watched it.
When we could sense the show winding down, we booked it out a little early to avoid any potential "big finale" fireworks (and thus, hopefully could avoid scarring our child permanently).
Needless to say, although Eric and I enjoyed the show (from what we could see/hear through Ellie's panic), she did not respond nearly as we had hoped. But wouldn't you know it? As soon as we got to the safety of our car, and ever since (so, for weeks now), she keeps talking about how much fun we had at the circus: "We saw animals at the circus! They were so silly! The elephants were sleeping! And there were clowns and a car! And we saw the dogs! And lots of Daniels! It was so silly."