Sunday, May 25, 2008

And Then Finn Threw His Bra on the Stage. Oh, Maybe That Was Me. My Bad.

We took Finn to his first concert festival yesterday. They called it Jiggle Jam, and it's a weekend full of seedy booth wares and bouncers, miniature hookahs that blow nonstop bubbles, face painting that made every kid look like an extra from Apocalypse Now, the unrated version (joke provided by Dennis!), a water fountain of nymphic decadence (and rather unfortunately, I mean that a little more literally than I would like), the lilting (and now I'm going ironic) jams of kids' music--all topped by a rousing performance (meow!) by They Might Be Giants.

(What is it about musician dads with hipster flair that gets to me? Bear, I think you started it.)

Finn, liberally doused with equal parts sunscreen and sugar, loved it. We met up with a few handfuls of his chums and he climbed, accosted, and boogied his way through about three hours of the festival before we made it to the culminating concert--a full hour of They Might Be Giants' ABCs, 123s, and adult sing-a-longs. (Istanbul!)

I have to admit, I had a lot of expectations for the concert--mainly because I haven't been to a live music anything on this side of forever--and They Might Be Giants fulfilled.

But I had other expectations that, unfairly, were all wrapped up in Finn and his reception of his first "rock" concert.

I imagined him screaming in recognition and delight as They Might Be Giants took they stage with the "Alphabet of Nations." I imagined him clap and stomping with abandon to "Clap Your Hands," sweat scattering in slomo like Peckinpah squibs. I imagine him reaching a banshee pitch, ripping his hair out, stripping off his t-shirt and waving it around, salivating, his eyes full of tears, when they sang "No"--in a feverish identification with a band that finally understands who he is and how much absurdity he has to put up with.

That didn't so much happen.

Finn sat and then later stood, front row center, and watched the concert. He clapped, mostly at the end of songs. And he asked to leave the concert early to get an ice cream.

Maybe it's because he didn't know any better?

To provide context, this is the first full-scale hootenanny we've ever taken Finn to. There have been no monster trucks or Disney characters on ice or other freakishly scary children's concert extravaganzas. (The circus scared him.) And most of that was done with deliberate calculation.

As much as we could, we've limited Finn's exposure to the Wiggles and folk music. We didn't announce tour schedules. And when his toddler buds swaggered into those forbidden conversational territories, drunk off juice boxes and eating out of the dog bowl, we'd whisk Finn off to other, more acceptable topics of conversation. Like, who should Buffy choose, Spike or Angel? (Finn says, "Spike. And Angel . . . Buffy should choose.")

So it's not his fault that Finn didn't lose control when presented with some fortysomething hipster dads. He hasn't been instructed on the art of mania.

Don't get me wrong. Finn throws a good fit. He's well-versed on tantrum. The difference lies in the fine line between excited aggression and aggressive excitement.

Or maybe it's just the difference between what he wants and what we do.

1 comment:

carie said...

This sounds great! I wanted to go to the Jiggle Jam, but knew Isobel wouldn't like it. We instead took a trip to Minneapolis.