“Hey, Down in Front!”

Warning – rant alert. I may have spent a little too much “pre-Christmas Break” time in a grade school gym in the past 48 hours…

I have been to The Nutcracker Recital and two different school Christmas programs in less than two weeks and I’m not going to lie, I was less than thrilled. The performances were great, the children were phenomenal. My annoyance grew with the audience. The chatting, the random standing up mid-performance to take a photo, the freaking bright glowing cellphones hoisted randomly above people’s heads to video an entire song as if there was nobody sitting behind them.

Well, I had a view of my sibling’s kid – until you covered their entire body with your giant smart phone. It’s okay. It was only a 3 hour drive to come watch her 98 seconds on stage that I now have missed because, not only did you obstruct my view, but you blinded me with your screen so by the time my eyes adjusted, she was off the stage.

What the heck is wrong with people?! And don’t get me started on the multiple phones ringing and vibrating around me! If your husband is coming out of heart surgery and that text can’t wait, I get it. However, I’m an RN and happen to know that we have a very, very limited number of doctors that can perform that procedure at any given moment in Central Oregon at the same moment.

So stop it. Step outside. And don’t hold your phone above your head like a lighter at an AC/DC concert to film your little one. It pisses off EVERYONE sitting behind you. It’s also a crappy video. And everyone sitting behind you knows that because it’s all our eyes can focus on with the dimmed lights.

Infants and toddlers are tough. Everyone that has ever been around one completely understand that. It’s why we all cringe at a boarding gate at the airport when we hear that ominous wale. It’s not like any of us can get off a plane, mid-flight, to comfort our babies. However, an auditorium has doors that are easily exited to big empty hallway full of other parents calming their own screaming children. Use it. Most of us have been there – it’s what we do. Well, it’s what we use to do.

There were 4 screaming babies at the last program. Simultaneously. One started crying and the others caught on. Pointing at your screaming infant and mouthing “ear infection” doesn’t make me think more highly of your choices. Have you considered that the vibrating speakers might be contributing to the reason the child is screaming inconsolably? For the love! It’s not just about every single person around you, it’s about your kid, too.

I know I’m old. I know I come from a different generation. We considered the thoughts and feelings of those around us – even strangers. We were raised to be respectful of those sitting behind us. We weren’t all about “me” and “what I need” in a 24/7 world where FOMO has become a diagnosed social disorder. Documenting ever moment on social media wasn’t an option. We asked our friends in the front row if they could grab a few pics of our kids and then offered to pay to develop the film in return. I know. I said I was REALLY old.

These days, sharing photos and videos couldn’t be easier – so why aren’t we doing it? Sure, we can post an Instagram video for our many unknown followers to see, but why not share that great pic you took with other parents of kids in the same class?

I’m sorry you couldn’t find or don’t use babysitters. I feel for you as the parent of a screaming child. I can’t tell you how many times I left a public room with my fit throwing niece in tow because something made her mad. Once a simple fork set her off. So know, I truly, genuinely feel for you. But no. I’m not going to pretend that your child isn’t blowing out my right eardrum with their well exercised lungs. Comfort the child in the hall with the rest of the exhausted parents.

I know this falls out of my “try to see the positive” way of thinking but I confess. I’m a bit grumpy. My ear is still ringing from the toddler screaming next to me and I’m still seeing spots from the annoyingly bright LED screens held up in front of me.

Is this the new normal for social etiquette? Is the expectation to view your little ones when you attend a program too much? What is appropriate? And how do we deal with other parents that “just don’t get it”?

Next year, I’m sitting in the front row. Problem solved. Rant over.


  1. I hear you! I’m old too~and teach 2nd grade and don’t for one moment understand the new society.
    I just found your blog via Pinterest… honest it wasn’t one of your lovely martini recipes, (I’ve never had a martini, but you have a new convert!), it was the post about your nephew and concentrating on abilities, not the ‘dis’.
    I run in to many, many different abilities and disabilities as part of my life, and your writing has touched my heart.Thank you for the birthday post about your friend lost on the day before your 22nd birthday, thank you for the post about the successful New Year’s Eve ski trip, and let’s just say thank you for your blog!
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your words touch my heart. Please keep ‘fighting the good fight’ teaching our second graders and helping them find their strengths. And on those really bad days – the days you go home wearing 2nd grader DNA – enjoy a really good martini. I will keep screening out the bad ones and only post the best.

    Thank you for your kind words.


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