corsetra (corsetra) wrote in gbacg_costume,

eventing with small children

I am looking at the calendar and planing what events to attend and I wanted to get opinions of which events are good or bad for attending with small children.
We already go to Dickens, so we know what that is like.
My children would be properly attired.
They are currently 2.5 years and 6 months.
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Dear corsetra,

I'm surprised you have no comments from current mothers. Perhaps they are too busy to LJ. My "small" is long grown up, but I do recall vividly the days of motherhood, and the struggle to provide a healthy growing up experience for children while retaining your own sanity in the process.

Overall, I'd say, let your heart be your guide. Your children's needs will change as they grow. Pay attention to where they are in their own growth and progress to adulthood. It's a long journey. The experiences and support you give them will pave the way to their own independence.

Organizations (speaking as someone who's been on a few committees in her day) will often specify events as being family-friendly. Fancy dinners, balls, teas -- things that involve great expense of hiring the hall -- are generally not suitable for the very young. (Can be a thrill for the socially adept adolescent, tho.) Plus there is the issue of having very young children out far past bedtime and overexciting them. If you must show off your Victorian infant costuming, do enlist a friend to act as nurse and whisk them off after making an appearance.

Open air events, or fairs such as Dickens, are generally more family-friendly. There's space for antsy preschoolers to run about, or withdraw to sooth a fussy infant. Hopefully you will find other parents or supportive adults who share your costuming passions. Groups vary over time and the degree of family-friendliness does as well. GBACG is member-driven, so you can take a lead by posting to the yahoo group or proposing events.

If you are a dancer, check out some of the local country dances. We often have small children at Regency dance parties, some babes in arms moving to the music, older children actually dancing the figures. It's an excellent experience in coordination, social interaction, and spatial movement.

Re: older children, my son said living history saved his sanity during high school. We worked Dickens Fair and RenFaire, and went to Gaskells and Regency balls. He behaved like a responsible person and was treated as one in return.

Don't forget yourself. Remember the oxygen mask rule: put your own on first before attending to children or seatmates. Some interests must be set on the back burner with active motherhood, but never neglect yourself entirely. I hope you will find activities that nourish your spirit while providing new windows on the world for your "smalls."