I'm finally one of those parents for whom the highlight of the month is a school play.
Jack's very first school play came around. Helen and I were really looking forward to it. We bought our tickets early and counted down the days. We both made efforts to keep the whole day clear and planned a trip to McDonalds as a reward for performing well. We acquired permission to film it, though they explicitly said we couldn't post it on the web, sorry, and we went armed with the camcorder.
We were so happy to find out that Jack was playing a shepherd, partly because we already had a shepherd costume that still fit him, but we didn't like the idea of him playing a cow, or a rock. I didn't know a lot, or anything at all, about the play and assumed that the cows were more or less scenery and that the shepherds were a somewhat bigger role. It didn't really occur to me that these kids were only three and four years old... so things like role differentiation were not likely.
The school play was a recorded narration speaking between group sing-a-longs that roughly resembled the nativity. The kids all sang along to 5 or so songs that were popular songs (Disney related mostly) that had been adapted lyrically to include nativity related subjects. Sometimes they danced, sometimes they played along with air-instruments.
Jack did none of this, I'm not sure if it's because we were there and distracting him or what but for the whole ten minutes Jack did his own thing while most of the other kids followed the routine as best they could.
He fidgeted, and giggled, and talked to his neighbor Conner. A nearby teacher very patiently tried to encourage him to play along but he paid her little mind. At one segment all the kids had to sway from side to side then spin around a couple of times. Jack missed this all together, was then reminded by one of the teachers and spend the next 2 minutes spinning around. When prompted to stop he struggled to stay on his feet.
Some of the other children had similar things going on as well. One child was was pulled out of the group very early on when he burst into a fit of tears. Some of the kids shouted when they were certain of the words and then barely hummed when they weren't.
Jack spent the second to last song with the flaps of his hat wrapped up on his head like a turban, the teacher tried discreetly to pull them back down but this of course just encouraged him.
The last song is when he pulled his hat down over his eyes, he thought it was very funny.
I sat in the audience with my camcorder held high and proudly pretended that mine was another child.