Saturday, September 20, 2008

Moms = 1; Ungrateful Children = 0

Here’s a story for every mom who drew the line.

My seven-year old daughter is involved in a show. Did I say show? I meant EXTRAVAGANZA because that is what it truly is. It’s a two hour show and we’re doing five of them over two weekends. The hours of preparation are unimaginable. Many of the moms are going to pursue their lifelong dreams of becoming petty thieves, as they’ve been relieved of the bondage of fingerprints, courtesy of hot glue gun projects.

Its an outdoor show and our dressing rooms are tents and easy-ups There are four dressing domains: 1) the Big Girls Tent and I’ve no idea what goes on in there but they’re in the coveted spot right behind the stage and they have a real floor. Nobody wants to piss off a teenage girl, so we just let them be. Then there are the In-Between Girls and they have the biggest tent. If you’ve ever tried to get a 12-year old ready in time for school, you’ll already know why they need a large space. We have some Boys and Men in the show and they’ve landed an indoor changing area. At first I thought this was a travesty. I wondered why they would get the best dressing room in the show, as if greater income potential wasn't enough. That is, until I attended the first event and noticed that their dressing room is also the walkway from the audience to the backstage. Therefore, they’re usually doing their costume changes with women and children running through their space. Don’t worry; they’re all wearing Speedos or something.

Then there are the Little Girls. That’s us. We have the best tent, even though it’s the smallest. Our battery operated lanterns dangle from the poles by ponytail holders. Our floors are a conglomeration of tarps, blankets, and old carpet pieces. The tent is 15 x 15 and there are nine girls and their mothers in the tent at once. Our group has seven costume changes that include clothing, headpieces, and props. Some of the costume changes are less than two minutes, making this tent a tornado of bobby pins and lipstick.

All the performers and backstage parents arrive approximately two and a half hours before the show. With all this time on our hands, we are obligated to throw ourselves a party. Last night we had wine and champagne, bottled bubbly water, sushi, homemade lumpia, kettle corn, crudités, baby heirloom tomatoes, and feta stuffed olives. This is also where we apply our daughters’ stage make-up. When you’re seven years old, you need a lot of glitter and blue stuff on your eyes in order to perform correctly.

Because we must be there for such an extraordinary amount of time before the show, we the mothers want to feed our girls to prevent pre-show breakdowns and scorn from other mothers who’ve noticed that we don’t feed our kids. But the girls are all excited and running around with their sparkly blue make-up and hair buns, they’re making up games to play and sneaking around and peeing in bushes. They don’t want to stop and take a bite of anything that remotely resembles something possibly a little bit healthy. But we try, bless our little mommy hearts, we try.

One mom walks past me with a plate. On this plate were two warm cheesy pieces of pizza. I admonished her for not bringing enough for everyone, because that’s just rude to stomp around with a plate of warm cheesy pizza in front of me. As I’ve mentioned before on numerous posts, I love, love, love pizza because I never, ever get it. Sweetly she offered this plate of love to her daughter who was darting past her with her gang of other little girls. Stopped in her tracks, her daughter looked at her like she had a hairball hanging out of her nose and said “I hate pizza” and tried to scoot out of there to catch up with the gang. Mom and daughter lovingly discussed the pros and cons of eating some nourishment before the show. It went something like “Look, if you don’t eat this pizza now, you’re going to be hungry later and don’t come crying to me!” The daughter scoffed at such a ridiculous prediction and rejected the love-on-a-plate.

This has been the threat handed down for generations. We all heard it as kids and we’ve all said it as parents. Yet, we mostly just give in later and buy them a bag a chips just so they’ll stop that incessant whining campaign. After we’ve slaved and saved and microwaved our brains out just to bring them something warm and yummy. They don’t care because children are completely ungrateful and don’t deserve us, most of the time. There’s always a piece of something that looks weird or its touching something else so they refuse it. They reject us, as parents and caretakers. We are thrown out of the car on the freeway of life. Tumbling to the side of the road and they don’t care.

Later that evening, I’m in the changing tent and I hear the little pizza hater say to her friend “Can I have a piece, I’m starving.” Her tone was both pleading and pathetic. The other little girl says flatly “no” and I look over to see what she is asking for and that’s when it happened. Karma! The Girl was asking for a piece of … Pizza!

So poetic was this moment that it had to be reported secretly to the mother. The threat paid off and she lived through it. If the mom had been standing there, I’m sure the little girl would have never admitted her hunger nor her desire for a piece of pizza. But I was the spy and the informant and I couldn’t wait to tell Mom that it was a complete success. We Won! The Moms Won. It wasn’t just a win for her; it was a win for all mothers everywhere. So, I’m dedicating this post to her, for her perseverance and mostly because she let me eat her daughter’s pizza.

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