Monday, November 9, 2009

Under the Big Top

Saturday was the big day my kiddos have been waiting for – the Big . . . Apple . . . Ciiiiiiircus! (that’s me using my announcer voice, fyi. Its’ really much more impressive in person, no matter how annoying my children say it is. And while we’re on the subject, do are you agree that a two year-old should never be able to say ANYTHING is annoying, much less the well-intentioned attempts of her mother to bring her joy? Basically, the entire second year of life is one big annoyance with moments of cuteness and marvel sprinkled in).

So, the circus. It was Seconda’s very first circus ever, and so it was with a mixture of glee and trepidation that we entered the big top on Saturday, because if there is one thing my thrill-seeking, acrobatic daredevil of a daughter is cut out for, its running away with the circus. In our family she is voted Most Likely to Successfully Tame a Lion. But all went well, better than that, in fact – I’d say we had a bonafide Kodak moment with all four of our mouths agape and cotton candy on our fingers. I haven’t been to the circus since I was a young’un and being there with the kids made me recall two things:

The circus is a sticky place. I truly felt like we needed one of those showers they have in research labs for when you get a toxic chemical in your eye, the kind that douses you with 20 gallons of water in 2 seconds. It makes a movie theater look antiseptic.

The circus is one of these very rare events that you enjoy as much as your child. As a matter of fact, I think I might have enjoyed it more than my children because I, for one, know just how difficult it is to say, juggle five balls with your TONGUE.

Here were the highlights:

Flying Trapeze: The great thing about the trapeze is when the crowd starts exclaiming stuff like, “I can’t take it anymore!!!!!” and “Oh my God, she’s not going to MAKE IT!!!!” It’s this terrifically innocuous kind of mass hysteria. Of course, there’s a safety net so nothing awful’s going to happen but nonetheless you feel this queasy kind of thrill. And since I don’t do roller coasters or horror flicks, this is basically my only source of such a feeling.

Juggling: There’s juggling and then there Juggling. And the Big Apple Circus’ guy is a juggler with a capital J. I liked the mouth juggling, sure, but what really got my blood pumping was when he took some white dishes and basically hurtled them directly into the crowd with all his might. Gasp. Horror. Lawsuit? And before they can get close to anyone, the dishes just reverse direction and come flying right back into his palm. Wowza.

Wheel of Wonder: Take two huge hamster wheels, connect them with a Eiffel Tower-esque beam and start them spinning. Then put a person in each wheel and have them keep up. Oh, not exciting enough? Ok, take those people and put them on the OUTSIDE of the wheel. With no net. Primo and I could not get over it. It was mad and wild and – literally -- wonderful.

So, after giving the children such a beautiful night to remember, they were, of course. bubbling over with gratitude.

"Is it nighttime?" Primo asked, as we stepped out of the tent into darkness.

"Yes," I said.

"But we didn't do ANYTHING today!" he complained, standing in front of the circus tent.


If you want to see the feats of wonder for yourself, you can score discount tickets with these codes which the good people at tee Big Apple Circus have passed along:

Online: and submit the code MOMMY10 in the Promotional Codes box

By Phone: CALL 888-541-3750 and mention code MOMMY10