Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Following in Her Sister's Footsteps

A few years ago, three to be exact, Sonya was in a play at school called the Jungle Book.  It is something that the 2nd grade class does every year.  You might recall that she was not so happy with doing the play at first, as I told about here.  This was well before she pulled on the red wig and blew everyone away as Annie a few months ago.  That was when she was still terrified of having anything to do with performing.  Well, Lana is 2nd grade this year, and don't ask me where the hell the time has gone because I have no answers for you.  Lana had a much different approach to the Jungle Book performance.  Hers has been nothing but excitement since school started back in September.

The bad news for Lana, was that the teachers weren't sure they were going to be able to do it this year.  There were some recent changes made and they were thinking they might not have time for it.  I kept checking in with the 2nd grade teachers to see who I needed to complain to and be THAT parent, in order to make sure it DID happen this year, but not to worry they were on top of it.  When January rolled around we were told it was indeed happening.  It was at that point that Lana dug out Sonya's CD to listen to and learn the songs.  Starting in January we could hear the Jungle Book songs coming from her room.  EVERY.  SINGLE. DAY.  I was pretty certain that by the time the play rolled around our entire family could get up on stage and sing every song start to finish.  

They had "auditions" for the kids to see which parts they would be playing.  This basically meant every kid told their teacher which part they would like.  From there the teachers choose the kids who are the best behaved and do well in school to give the main parts to.  They kinda have to do it that way, because even if little Johnny is a kick ass actor he might be a total asshole to teach.   The goal of this play is not to make it a Broadway production, but rather to give the kids an opportunity to get on a stage and learn how to work together.  I think it's one of the best things they do during their elementary school years, because everyone eventually gets to participate, not just the kids that can afford after school lessons. So they give the parts to the kids who do well.  However, as long as you can keep it together during rehearsals and follow directions, everyone gets a part of some kind.  Even if it's not a main role.   

Lana had decided early on that she wanted to try out for Big Bear Baloo.  I knew she would have a shot at getting something, since she is one of the better kids.  I am very fortunate in that fact.  As crazy as my girls may drive me at home, they are amazing students both academically and behaviorally.  Their teachers can never say enough about how great they all are and I feel very fortunate in that fact.  Of course now that I've thrown that out there into the Universe, no doubt I will get a call from the school about someone doing something they weren't supposed to.  OK I will stop with the bragging about how amazing my kids are.   Even though they are.  Well, at school anyway.  Like I said, at home they turn into demon children half the time.  

So Lana had it set in her mind who she wanted to play.  Unfortunately, she did not get her first choice.  She was a little disappointed, but not crushed.  Especially when she was chosen to play the same part Sonya did just three years ago, Colonel Hathi, the main elephant.  

She continued to practice and knew the songs backward and forward.  I helped her memorize her lines and tried to give some suggestions on how to make her character sound better.  Then I contemplated for a minute maybe teaching kids acting.  That is until Lana took none of the advice I gave her.  Ah well.  

Yesterday was the big day.  When she was going to sleep on Monday night she told me she was nervous.  I told her it was totally normal and she would do great.  

Andy and I went in to help the kids with their makeup and costumes in the morning.  This was something I didn't get to do the first time, since the other two were little.   In fact, if I remember correctly, Georgia had a migraine and I had to have my neighbor come stay with her so I could see the show.  I digress.  We manage to get a good seat up front since we had been there volunteering and were able to make it in before anyone else.  

Lana stood up there and sang her little heart out to every song she had memorized over the last few months.  When her part came up she marched down to the front of the stage and leading all of her "elephants".  Then it came time for her lines.  She was doing well, but then stopped suddenly.  It got quiet for about two seconds.  I'm sure they were the longest two seconds for Lana.  Fortunately for her, her friend Lauren, who was playing Mowgli knew EVERYBODYS' lines.  She was the kid who was  mouthing along with everyone for most of the play.  I know everyone knows what I'm talking about.  Good thing for Lana!  When Lana stopped Lauren half whispered half said Lana's line and then Lana picked it up from there.  It was so damn cute and so second grade.  Everyone in the audience kind of giggled.  I was worried Lana would be distraught about it, but if she was she hid it for the rest of the play.  

Afterward when I congratulated her she told me,

"I forgot one of my lines!"

"It was fine," I reassured her.  "Lauren helped you out and you remembered the rest.  I doubt most people noticed and if they did they thought it was cute."

She seemed satisfied with that answer.  

Just like Sonya, I know she will remember doing this for the rest of her life.  She had such a great time and is sad that it is over.  I only hope that the teachers don't run into problems next year so that they can do it again.  I still have one more Colonel Hathi to go!  
With some of her elephant friends and Baloo

She kept that makeup on all day. 

Mowgli, Baloo, Colonel Hathi


Friday, April 3, 2015

The Beginning of the Emotional Puberty Roller Coaster

Lately I have been dealing with something that is both familiar and foreign to me.  Yes, I know that is an oxymoron, but I will explain.  Sonya is ten.  I don't know if any of you are aware of this, but ten is an age where things start to happen.  You know, puberty wise.  The truth is, she has been kind of on and off moody for about a year now, but in the past few months it has started to increase and intensify.  I knew we were in trouble the other day when she came home from school, completely irritated, in a bad mood, and crying in bursts.  When she finally admitted she was upset, after arguing that she wasn't, all she could tell me was, "I don't know!  I don't know why I am acting like this!"  I do, and I remember it well, but damn I'm not ready to mother it yet.

I honestly don't remember what age it started for me, but boy do I remember feeling like she did the other day.  Truth be told I still feel that way sometimes usually around once a month, but it's not as intense and I know better how to handle myself since I'm adult.  Well most of the time anyway.  But I remember being that age and just feeling so distraught and not having a reason to feel that way really.  I did feel like my world was about to end, just because my sister did something to annoy me, or I couldn't find the right shoes to go with my dress, or because in that moment the sky was the wrong color -dammit!  Yeah, completely irrational.  The other day Sonya came home and started stomping around the house for no reason other than to let everyone else know she was upset.  Here was my biggest problem with her.

"Sonya?" I asked very nicely.  "What's going on, hon?"

"Nothing," she said angrily.   Certainly sounds like nothing!  I pressed on.

"Okay, well you seem to be upset about something and are acting like it." I told her.

"No I'm not," she argued.  "I'm acting fine, mom!"

Oh yes, because you yelling at me telling me you are acting fine means you are perfectly fine! See here is where I have the problem.  This drives me insane.  If you are in a bad mood, even if it's for no apparent  reason, just ADMIT it!  Say-"Listen everyone, I'm in a bad mood, I don't know why and I just want to be left alone."  Done!  We leave you alone.  This is what I do during those once a month times.  I just warn them all.

"I'm bitchy today because I feel bitchy and you would be smart to steer clear of me." Love, Mommy.

Then nobody can say I didn't warn them.  Lana gets this.  When she is in a bad mood she will tell us and then put herself in her room to be left alone.  Not Sonya.  She doesn't ever want anyone to think any less of her, so she is not in a bad mood, and if she is she certainly is not admitting it. So unfortunately, because her not admitting it irritates me, things escalated and she eventually ended up crying in her room, while I sat out in the kitchen fuming.

At one point Andy called and he talked to her for a bit.  She was reluctant to talk to him at first, but after she did she seemed calmer.  But no.   I called her for dinner and  we were right back at it.  Me asking her what was going on, her saying there was nothing.  WTF?!  That was when I realized.  It WAS nothing.  I remember feeling that way so many times as a tween to teen to adult.  I was just sad and mad at the world and my mom getting mad and grilling me did nothing but make me more upset and angry.  This was it.  The beginning of the puberty emotional coater.  Yay.

So after dinner, I pulled her aside and told her I got it.  Although she didn't really get it herself.  I explained that she was going to be going through a lot of changes over the next few years (God help us all!) and that these changes were going to make her feel this way from time to time.  She was going to feel upset and angry for what seemed to be no reason.  It was called hormones and we woman have to deal with them our WHOLE lives.  From puberty, to pregnancy, to menopause.  We really don't get a break do we?  Then I reminded her how I sometimes get cranky around my period and she agreed.  She was a little quick to agree I will say, but whatever.

"Do you remember what I say around that time?" I asked.


"Sometimes I say to you guys 'mommy's in a bad mood today guys.  It's nothing anybody did, I'm just having a rough day so please try not to make it worse'.  Do you remember me saying that sometimes?" I said.

"Yes," she agreed.

"Then you guys know what's going on and that you should try to behave a bit better, right?  There is nothing wrong with me telling you guys that and there is nothing wrong with you saying the same thing to us." I told her.  "This way I know how you are feeling and can help you, and also keep your sisters from making you more crazy because I know how that is too, ok?"

"Okay," she said.

"This is going to be happening to you a lot more and we have to find a way to work together through it, right?"

"Yes!" She said.  "Thank you, mommy.  I love you lots," then she gave me a hug and went back to her sunshine self.  The puberty cloud seemed to have lifted for the moment.  

I know this is only the tip of a very gigantic iceburg for me.  Not only do I have her to navigate through puberty, but two more very close behind.  Hopefully we can all make it out on the other side in one piece.  My sisters and I somehow managed to, and I believe my whole family was closer after all the growing up was said and done.  Sorry mom and dad for how shitty we were sometimes.  I know this is gonna suck, but hopefully it will make my family stronger in the end too.  I may just need to start scheduling mom weekends away every other month.  Or at least start buying wine in box form.  Perhaps both.