performance lessons

by humanmama on February 1, 2011


Living with a 4-year-old reminds me that there are not enough of them being employed. I’m serious: TV, radio, Broadway–there would never again be the dreaded “dead air” threatening the entertainment industry. They are like the best sports commentators: even when there’s nothing to tell, they’re telling it.

I signed Helena up to be in The Nutcracker with her Ballet company this year. I began ballet when I was three, and was in the Nutcracker at age 5 or 6, and just loved it totally. Still to this day, the first strains of the Tchaikovsky classic give me butterflies, recall the smells of pine flooring and dusty curtains. We danced at the Ford Auditorium and later the Fox Theater, both in downtown Detroit, and both really important venues, and danced alongside some of the most world-renowned dancers of the time, which gave us the feeling of real performers instead of just kids. Like the mini-Rockettes. Naturally, when the time and opportunity came for Helena to be involved here in Pittsburgh I jumped at the chance, eager for her to know the joys of ballet. Or perhaps become a famous and rich ballet dancer. Either way.

Of course later, I was regretfully thinking “why??” as I sewed and re-sewed her costume for the performance. Showed up to countless rehearsals wherein she was required for 20 minutes out of the 2 hours. And to top it all off, she is four, so there is a natural irreverence about anything you’re doing. And, of course, for anything your mom is doing. It really is like a sitcom.

This was the show as I sat there ripping old seams:
Helena: “Dee dee dee, dum dum dum, now THIS is comfortable, mommy. Mommy? MOMMY! EXCUSE ME MOMMY, I want to show you something.”
Me: (looking up) “Oh, dear, are your underpants over your pants? How did that happen?
-30-second interlude, noises of straining-
Helena: “I FORGOT! These pants don’t go ON YOUR NECK! Hahahah!”
Me: (sewing)
Helena: “Maaa-maaa, what are you doooooo-ooing?”
Me: “Sewing your costume honey.”
Helena: “I don’t want to wear that costume.”
Me: “Too bad.” [I mean…] “It looks so beautiful on you, Helena, like a princess.”
Helena: I don’t want to be a princess. I want to be an explorer.”

-sigh.-

The Nutcracker went great, though, and she did not wear her underpants over her costume. But again, I find myself doing the same thing at Valentine’s day: wondering if there are auditions for anything nearby:

Me: “Honey, here are your hearts that we made for the kids at school. Let’s put their names on them.”
Helena: “NO! NO! NO! I DON’T WANT TO GIVE THESE HEARTS AWAY.”
Me: “Honey, you have to give your hearts away sometime” [I’m thinking, hey! New country song!]
Helena: “NO! NO! NOONONONONONONO! Boo hoo hoo [hysterical sobbing].”
Me: “I bet it’s past your bedtime.”
Helena: (No tears, instantly happy and not crying at all) “Why, mom? I’m not even tired.”

Well, I am, I think to myself. Hollywood, are you listening? Because I think someone deserves an Emmy.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mt. Lebanon Women Aware February 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Ahhhhhh the days of tights and splinters! I love the new country song!

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Jessica {Team Rasler} February 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm

So freaking true. Sebastian was also (temporarily) hysterical at the thought of giving away the valentines he made. Apparently they can employ 2.5 year olds, too.

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