If you’ve gotten as far as the title in this post and things have stopped making sense to you, please catch up by reading this post. We’ll wait.
My cousin Liz and I pulled into town around 10:30 p.m., exhausted but content. Our girls were sleeping in the back and the car was stuffed with our gear. As I unbuckled the car seat and gathered my sleeping daughter into my arms Liz said to me, “We did it. We took two toddlers on a roadtrip to the capitol, navigated our way around the city, ate dinner, and survived Yo Gabba Gabba live. All without incident. We did it.”
We felt like heroes home from war.
When you leave the house for an extended period of time with a toddler, you want to be prepared. Diaper blowouts, wardrobe malfunctions, pachas for different scenarios. In addition to the usual necessities, I packed a few toys to entertain Isobel along the way and stuffed them in her vinyl “I love NY” purse. When we go on road trips we usually head to the Bay Area so Isobel and I were dressed in tons of layers. I must have thought we were heading directly into the ocean itself with how warmly I dressed us.
When we loaded up the car Victoria, Isobel’s 2 and a half year old cousin, clutched the New York purse with glee.
“Carrie Anne, I think Isobel really wants to play with her toys.” Isobel was looking out the window, barking at imaginary chuchos and speaking in tongues.
I let Victoria open the purse and distribute its contents liberally over the back seat. After awhile I hear Isobel fussing. I turn around to find Victoria cradling Isobel’s stuffed cat on lap while Isobel lunged for it uselessly from her car seat.
Me: “Victoria, I think Isobel would like to hold her cat now.”
Victoria: “I think Isobel really needs to share,” she said sweetly.
We planned on eating dinner before the show and I picked several kid-friendly options before hand. We agreed to try Momiji Sushi and Grill. It was so freaking good. The name didn’t reassure us that the restaurant was particularly child-friendly, but Yelp did. And it was. The staff was so friendly and accommodating. They peeled apples for the girls to eat and came over several times to ask us how the girls were doing. Most importantly, the food was excellent. We absolutely destroyed our dinner. (Figuratively in my case, but literally in Isobel’s.) It was Isobel’s first time of trying edamame that was still in the pod, and she realized that as much as she loves the little soybeans, she loves the container they come in all the more. That kid chewed on two dozen pods at least.
I’ve never met a child that didn’t love miso soup and Victoria slurped hers down with abandon. She insisted her mom have some because it was that good.
Isobel wanted to sit like a big girl like her cousin: no high chair, no booster seat. It worked out really well and I was right there to make sure she was safe. She didn’t move around a whole lot so she really was. Victoria took turns sitting across from Isobel and next to her.
My cousin had never had gyoza before which I thought was odd.
“I really don’t care for fried food,” my cousin said.
“Philistine!” I shouted as I crunched on my shrimp tempura.
If you go there, absolutely order the chicken with homemade sesame sauce. OMFG.
When it was time to pay our restaurant bill we fished for cash in our purses to split the check.
Liz: “I have a ton of ones for some reason.”
Me: “Liz! What are you planning on doing later?!”
Liz: “Yo Gabba Gabba is not that kind of show, Carrie.”
Me: “Hey, all I wanted was to give DJ Lance a high-five.”
The Memorial Auditorium itself is gorgeous. I would have loved to take a photo of the outside of it, beautifully lit, but I was carrying a two-ton toddler and a giant diaper bag and it was exceedingly hard to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Parents were bringing kids wearing YGG shirts and hats and we saw several toddlers dressed like Foofa and DJ Lance. I found out too late that they were selling glowsticks at the door for ten bucks. For half that I could have loaded up on dollar store glowstick necklaces and bracelets for the kids. Parents who are planning to go: take note.
A table by the door offered paper DJ Lance glasses and I grabbed two, thinking Isobel would immediately destroy one. She spent the first twenty minutes in our seats carefully chewing it to bits.
I wanted to get a picture of each of the girls wearing their glasses. Victoria’s came out really cute:
Isobel tried to hold them up to her face correctly, but didn’t quite manage it.
We got there early enough to relax a bit before the show started. I took photos of the stage and I could see the balloons that would be dropped later on in the show. Of course they were placed over the expensive seats so I figured we wouldn’t get any unless we rushed forward into a mob. With our children. No thanks!
Victoria wanted to take a few photos, too. Here’s one she took of Isobel and I:
A really nice little girl sat in front of us. Her parents seemed a little standoff-ish at first, but our girls really got along. Isobel laughed and laughed at her antics. After awhile I showed Isobel and Victoria how to give her a high five. Her name was Ruby. Her parents smiled at us.
Victoria took a photo of the back of her head.
The thing about going to concerts as an adult is that you really don’t want to make friends with your seat mates. There’s always the person who’s sitting in the middle of the balcony who insists on standing and dancing and blocking peoples’ views for ten rows back. Then there’s the person who talks incessantly or is on their goddamn cell phone. Or is really drunk and always getting up to puke. Anyway, my friends and I remember a particularly irritating encounter with a bum we decided to call “Rufus.” The point is, adults are very annoying.
But here we were at a show for kids. The best thing you can possibly do is make friends with them and encourage them and join in their excitement.
I tried to get photos of Isobel and I because I love the whole cheesy mother-daughter shots. They were not totally successful.
Isobel was really in the zone, as my cousin calls it. She was entertained before the show even started, just watching all the parents and children.
Liz was a bit more successful trying to get a posed shot with her and Victoria.
Liz and I tried for several minutes to get the girls to stand next to each other, face the right way, and smile for a cousins’ picture. We wanted them to have a photo that years later they could see and think to themselves, “We’ve had so many wonderful adventures together! Here we are at Yo Gabba Gabba!”
All that effort and it still turned out like this:
As promised, it was the real DJ Lance himself on stage. It was awesome just to see him in person, even though I could tell he wouldn’t make it all the way to where we were sitting for a high-five. That was a little sad but I’m not giving up on my dream of high-fiving him.
We high-fived Ruby in front of us so many times that night, however, I left feeling satisfied on the high-five front.
Photography really wasn’t happening once the lights went down. I tried getting a shot of the show once it started, and this is what it looked like:
Confetti exploded everywhere when they came out. Isobel’s face was priceless.
The Secret Musical Guest was Keller Williams. I hadn’t heard of him before but his song was awesome. He made and recorded different sounds with his synth and then played them back on a loop to make a percussive background track while he sang about hula hoops and played guitar. Half way through all the lights went out and several people with LED-lit hula hoops went on stage and danced. This combined with all the glow sticks in the audience looked awesome. The photo of it, however, is less than awesome.
It was epic. You’ll just have to trust me.
I’m totally going to download some of his music.
The moment Liz and I dreaded had come: the balloon drop. It wasn’t worth it to us to run all the way forward to get some. It was a mad rush of parents and adults grabbing balloons. But that’s where the stories I heard on the internet became different from reality. See this boy? He grabbed six balloons:
He gave one each to Victoria, Isobel and all of his siblings. He didn’t even KNOW us, internet. His family didn’t even speak English. And he got enough balloons for all the kids in his area.
Sometimes, humanity, you are all right.
What happens when you give two little kids balloons? BALLOON FIGHT!
Isobel is lunging back to wallop Victoria on the head and Victoria, for her part, is winding up to smack Isobel across the face. Good times.
It was all in good fun though so thankfully it didn’t end in tears.
Toward the end of the show they sang a song about how to give a hug. Victoria demonstrated her knowledge by hugging Liz, Isobel and I several times. Then she just hugged Isobel for the rest of the song. I would have attempted a photo but Isobel was on my lap and it was too close. It was very, very cute. Part of me thinks they were hugging because by that time they were exhausted.
Someday, DJ Lance, I will high-five you. Thank you for the fantastic show.