Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I Am Speechless And (Mostly) Wordless! A First, Or, My First Grader's Writings About Music - Am Both Giddy With Glee And Weeping With Joy, by Allison

So now is the end of the school year, children bring home Santa-sized sacks of all of their journals, workbooks, art, and detritus from their desks.

Is a lot, and I always feel like cruel evil monster for weeding out the things that cannot possibly be saved or our house will crumble to the ground due to giant tubs from Target full of kids' schoolwork.

I have a system:
(Granted, non-linear, no defined rules as I abhor restrictions I don't invent myself, is more a visceral, "this is a keeper, this is not.")
of what stays and what goes, and tonight I am sorting out M the seven year old stylists' giant pile of stuff.

Her pile is hysterical, because her yearlong journal is named "Lindsay" and she writes in it as if she is having a little chat with this journal Lindsay.  Her teacher does not edit or help, this is 100 percent M.

And gems like, she has to write in the voice of her big sister E, and imaginary E is giving M advice:

1. Don't wear Uggs in the rain, they will get messed up.

2. Don't play your drums too loud.

Very sage advice from E to M, and I am sure those tidbits of wisdom have been communicated, repeatedly, at varying levels of voice and tone.

It is still totally making me laugh and get teary-eyed.
(I am a SUCKER for these end of year journals.
Am Toast.
Will cry.)

But then, the bestest thing in the world ever ever:

More than when a rainstorm drives away dreaded sun,
Owls stop existing,
Every band I want to see ever comes to my house to play a show,
All the lip balm in the world is at my disposal -

Those things are fab.

But this journal entry is better than all of that.

And I do not say that lightly, as I covet and adore rain, hate owls, love music, and have a lip balm addiction issue.

But that stuff?

Totally junior varsity,  compared to this treasure I stumble upon in the pile she brings home, at end of first grade.

Journal Entry by my M, seven year old stylist:

Entitled "Me." With lovely colorful music notes scattered around as illustration along with her ME! as emphasis in case anyone was confused.

"Music to me is . .

A Wonderland of all my favorite stuff.

It's like a world of dreams.

Or a waterfall of memories.

Also a field of the prettiest flowers.

Possibly a forest of friends.

Maybe my best friend.

A rocket that goes all the way around the world and back again.

Like a rock and roll song that never stops."


Ok, reading that, written by my seven year old M, not only am I a weepy mess, but I am so damn proud -

I feel what she feels, and could not have written it better, painted a picture of what music means, I am gobsmacked by the awesome.

I mean, I know she has the music bug - she loves the concert T's I bring her, wears Black Keys shirt during a presentation to the class so she can be "loud and cool," and has a drum kit by her bed.

But still.

Life around here with the girls and the good and the bad dog and the constant rehearsals or swim meets or who has to be where when - we are whirling dervishes.

That she can absorb and communicate her feelings about music so absolutely gorgeously, at age seven, I am both astounded and giddy.

She had no idea I'd see this journal entry, or that anyone would -
She wrote it because it was in her head.

And I get to have her as my girl.

I am lucky.

And totally, completely psyched for years of music and concerts and drum solos from my beloved M.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How can I be a gazelle and then a hyena that fast?, or Why I Love Dance Recitals: by Allison

So this weekend was dance recital weekend, with all three of my girls participating in various performances, over the course of several days, not including rehearsals (And dress rehearsals,  And you better get the railroad track eyeliner right, MOM)
I am a known recital junkie, tracing back to the days in which I was in them.
Blame it on the fringed pink flapper outfit I got to wear in first grade.
That thing RULED, it was so cool - it had fringy pink stuff all over it, and I loved it beyond a million trillion and tried to work it into my wardrobe as much as possible.
When sadly it shrank or I grew or both, my sister was bequeathed this fantabulous fringy pink awesome thing.
In my memory, she would roller skate while wearing it.
This could be totally made up by me, is completely possible. But if she didn't roller skate in it, she should have, because it was fab and there are so many bad dance recital costumes, oooh Tangent Alert!!
Bad Dance Recital Costumes I Have Worn, by Allison
1. Kindergarten ballet costume of Parfait.
Meaning, fluffy ugly pastel nonsense with horrific top-of-your-head thing that I think was supposed to be whipped cream or whatever?
I hated it.
There are photos of me wearing it, and my face is young Allison expression:  "Do NOT take a picture of me in this. When someone invents some way I can write a lot of words, some I don't know yet but I will learn them, I am so going to detail how it is mean to make children wear humiliating outfits, and dressing like food, even a dessert, is ridiculous."
2. Spangly Outfits That Are So Bad In So Many Ways, Surely This Is A Form Of Torture.
I had a slew of these things, as I very much liked dance classes and every blue moon, your ballet ensemble was gorgeous purple flowy tutu thing that I adored.
But sometimes, adoration is not the feeling I was having.
More like, Terror, Horror, No, No, No, Why Do You Hate Us?
I can't make myself think of all of them -
(Note: I am choosing not to expound upon: Tophats, Canes, Chairs,
Feather Adorned Shellacked Hair, and the worst:
Hideous "Suntan" Colored L'eggs Support Hose.
Subnote: I am a person who does not suntan, even when that was the cool thing to do, it was not happening. Not possible, and I was fine with that.
Except when I had a dance thing and the absurd leg covering requirements were foul dark, dark orange hose sold in drug stores in cartons or something weird and about 100000 shades off of my face, arms, any part that was not swathed in "Suntan" by L'eggs)
3. It gets worse!
(Spoiler! It totally does, prepare yourselves)
One year, my dance school did a tribute to Michael Jackson.
This should not be attempted in a suburban dance school, it is not a tribute. It is a series of :
- Embarrassing
("Thriller." though I can totally teach anyone the "Thriller" dance - ask anyone at Matt's cancer center parties where his wife, otherwise known as me, teaches everybody the "Thriller" dance, .
Note: We are still married.)
- Extremely Creepy and Prescient
("P.Y.T., Pretty Young Thing", which was vaguely pervy at the time and totally gross in retrospect, plus bad spangled outfits)
-Stupidest Thing I Ever Put On Myself
("Beat It", in which our silver sparkle newsboy caps, red sparkle vests, black sparkle KNICKERS like we are playing golf with Dolly Parton - and striped socks.
Possibly a necktie of sorts was involved, but trust, me, those  pictures are GONE.
First fire in the fireplace that winter? Also location of the destruction of any pictures of me in that outfit.)
4. It gets worse, Part Two! Electric Boogaloo
Santa leotards, with white fur stuff at neck and sleeves, with dreaded suntan hose, added bonus?
Puppets on our hands.
For when we danced at the MALL or retirement homes
(Note: I am not a total loon. I did not dance in aforementioned attire at the mall or retirement communities on my own. My dance troupe did this, as well as parades, another reason I hate parades)
Puppets, Santa hats, hideous Santa dancewear, for when anyone we knew ever was Christmas shopping, and would pause before getting to  Cinnabon and learn the basics of heckling.
Tangent over -
Despite the above, seriously embarrassing ensembles,
I love dance recitals.
I love piling on layers of alarmingly blue eyeshadow and lipstick (Not everyday, but the lights are bright! You must pile on the makeup with a trowel)
and watching everybody hustle about, bobby pins, frantic loss of shoe, etc.
So, with that backstory, I am totally happy and cool when the girls began dance recitals.
And their dance program has these extremely amazingly impressive recitals which are pretty much a huge Broadway production, with little kids to senior students -
And the costumes?
They do not make us spend 500000 dollars for acetate honeybee outfit like some places do, they get these amazing costumes for whatever show, Aladdin, Alice In Wonderland, last year, Lion King, this year Cinderella and other than lots of rehearsals, it is painless and fun.
This year, in a delightful surprise, the girls were only wearing one costume - the M and the mice were mice are mice the whole time, E as birds and the other birds the same.
V's ballet was before the Cinderella show.
And her gold and white tutu is so gorgeous I can't process it - I stare at it, wondering where in the world I can wear it and would that be weird?
Last year, the girls were all a variety of animals in The Lion King.
And as I have learned to volunteer for stuff I can actually do and not lose children, I am on makeup patrol.
I coated darling, innocent children’s faces with Insane Clown Makeup for Big Dance Recital rehearsal.
I am  completely happy smothering the girls in Insane Makeup, and offered moms who were not up on the alarmingly tons of makeup we have to put on the kids my shorthand for the required makeup:
Which was:
eyeshadow-Spangly Disco Xanadu Jumpsuit Blue,
 blush-1970’s Mary Kay saleslady in sensible shoes,
lipstick-What Fantine from Les Miserables would have worn to her job at world’s oldest profession before she caught the whatever and died which is very sad burgundy color.
But wait!
Since these shows are seriously good in all ways, after regular Insane Makeup, there is also makeup artist on hand.
This year, to make M a mouse and E a bird. Was super cool -
Last year it was a variety of animal faces, as was production is of Lion King,

And to my delight, makeup artist is totally Harijuku girl backup Gwen Stefani dancer person with Crayola red pigtails, knee socks, track shorts.
And all sorts of kids to adult people are running around in unitards and crazy wigs and it is super fun.
Like, I wanted a costume for me and for the crazy lady to do my face all up.
I still want that. Probably always will.
But the memory that is sticking in my head is this:
After a rehearsal when I arrive to gather the girls, I witnessed a memorable, heartbreakingly hilarious scene:
Outside of the theater, a teenage girl in wacked out animal makeup was weeping on her cell phone, “But I am fine with being a gazelle!
but how do they expect me to change into a hyena that fast???”
So I have to turn the corner and get a hold of myself,
because that is both an absurd conversation to overhear,
and also the existential dilemma of all teenage girls, minus the safari animal outfits.
So I leave the weeping girl and  enter the theater amongst elephants, flamingos, water buffalo (Note: Not kidding, E is one in her jazz part of the recital), cheetahs, hyenas, and monkeys.
In fact, must track down lost monkey ear, which is not something I ever thought I would have to do in life.
"Help! I've lost a monkey ear!" - not making that up.
But I am equipped with my handy Tide to Go and Neutrogena Makeup Wipes (Note: when will they please pay me?)
to remove Insanity Makeup Plus Animal Faces. and hustle children off to regular world, which is equally as bizarre, just in different ways.
But not much can top the excitement and panic attacks and alarming makeup and hairspray and pins and overall "we're doing a show!" vibe of backstage.
And as we seal up the Insane Makeup and put away the costumes
(Fine, maybe I still have V's gold tutu out, I'm not telling either way),
 immediately leaping from dance hairspray scent to swim team chlorine scent - I am taking a moment to revel in the hectic, swirling whee and yay and camaraderie of a Show.
Swim team is similar in the team spirit and all, but I can't volunteer for makeup patrol at swim meets. They would think I was insane.
Oooh, but I can start plotting my flash mob - maybe costume this year.