I was right to be voicing my slightly nervous concern to a fellow mother, at the preamble to the "Live!" Bob the Builder show at the Science Museum today. Nora was sitting on her own but surrounded by similarly parentless kids, and seemed to be talking to Bob's "Helpers" confidently... as soon as supersized, foam Bob appeared, she needed to be sitting on my legs, in a protective mummy-sphere, after looking like she was well on the way to bursting in to frightened tears.
I'll tell you what it's all about, with Noo. When she, along with other kids, was asked to perform a specific task, she loved it. She loves joining in, in small, discreet tasks. Particularly tasks where she can identify with the adults or older kids in some way (oh, how I recognise my young self in her, sometimes) but mostly, simply anything to do with problem solving, where she can practically help, and become involved with a smallish group of kids, with no freaky foam-and-fleece 8 foot cartoon characters blundering about). She was genuinely freaked out by 8 foot Bob.
It's difficult because you never know what children's plays will work for her, for example. There's nothing I would rather do than take her to see plays - to take advantage of one of the very positive outcomes of living in the capital. But would she completely freak out if anything disturbing happened - even if only in the realms of a strange puppeteered character appearing, for example?
Anyway. It's been (deliberately) an age since we took her to something of that nature, and it's sad to find that she's still disconcerted by performance. When that aspect of life is so meaningful to both of us, and I *know* given the person that she is, that she loves that kind of thing on a personal level, I hope very much that we can continue to gently introduce her to performance. I really, *really* don't mean in order to transform her in to a childhood stage school loony, by the way. Christ, no.
Writing this up, it seems clear to me that the answer is more, not less.