Click, Click

“You want fame? Well fame costs and right here is where you start paying, in sweat,” that’s what Debbie Allen yelled every week in the early 80s on the popular musical television drama that most of watched. And although, my daughter has never seen the show, she obviously thinks she’s the next Cocoa.

Since she is now 3 years and some change, and in her third dance season, she is no longer enrolled in toddler and toes, but pre-ballet with two other former classmates. With this new status comes parent drop off, which took me a few weeks to get used to, but I’ve adjusted. The downside to dropping her off instead of staying and participating in the class is, I really don’t get to see how she’s doing. So I was overly excited at the Fall Observation class that allows parents and visitors to bring cameras, video equipment and whatever else you can think of to make it “special.”

I invited grandparents and sudo-aunties to the occasion and pulled out her handmade tutu her Godmother made for her. She has almost a whole bench of members of her fan club present; me, her daddy, baby brother, my mom and Auntie Sherri are all in tow. They open with their traditional warm up song and all miniature ballerinas are up on their toes dancing around. Right before the song ends, Morgan runs to the middle of the dance floor, crosses both arms with a clear attitude and plops down, crisscross applesauce. One of the two instructors runs to her aid and kneels down to survey the problem.

I’m glad she got to her first, because I may have just yoked her up. I see a short exchange and then Ms. Ericka stands and announces in my direction that “Morgan is upset because no one took her picture.” Are you serous? She just interrupted the entire performance at the top of the class because no one took her picture? Now, I have to tell you that all of her guests had camera phones out and on, but apparently we neglected to have her POSE for a picture.

Speechless, I pick up the “real” camera, point it in her direction and hit the button until a flash appears. At that moment, she smiles, joins the rest of her class and puts on one heck of a show. As we exit the classroom Ms. Ericka says “that’s a true sign of a diva, she can’t perform until someone takes her picture.” My husband and I just look at each other and laugh and for the next several minutes we are trying to figure out which one of us to blame for this attitude.

Without a clear culprit, we just chalk it up to Morgan being Morgan. And despite my personal opinions about this over the top Diva moment, I am mighty glad I had a camera with a flash ready to take her picture.

 

Tic Toc

I am eternally grateful that my mom lives just a 10-minute car ride from me. Every morning on my way to work I take my son, sometimes in pajamas to her house. I pack him a lunch but most days she doesn’t even open it. She cooks him breakfast, cuddles with him and relishes in their alone time.

Between her and a flexible work schedule I never had to worry too much about daycare. By choice, we sent Morgan a few days a week at about 16-months and she loved it. They say time waits for no man, or woman and that must be true because it’s time for Baby G to start his daycare journey.

Last week I took him to the same center his sister went to and was in awe. First, I know my babies are relatively close together but these people knew me by name and asked about Morgan, which gave them mega bonus points when I walked in. They basically opened the doors and said “welcome home.”

But it wasn’t me they had to convince, I wanted to see how comfortable Baby G felt. As we toured the facility, our first stop was the 15-month room and he didn’t seem interested at all. In fact, for a minute I started to second-guess my decision. Maybe he’s not ready, I thought. I then asked to see the 18-month room as January is fast approaching. As I am interviewing and asking questions about staff turn over, child ratio, nap times, meals,  etc… this little boy jumps out of my arms, walks over to one of two tables full of children, pulls out an empty seat and sits there looking around for instructions on the activity.

Once again I was in awe, but this time at my son. I couldn’t believe how comfortable he was and I couldn’t believe it was time for this already. So all weekend I have been trying to wrap my mind around the idea that my son will get dressed in the morning and go to what we playfully refer to as “school.”

See when he’s with my mom, there’s a ton of stuff that I just know. I know if he’s not feeling well, I can take him anyway and grandma will make him feel better. I know if he’s sleepy, he can go right back to bed. I know if he misses me, she will pick up the phone and let him call. The thing is, I just know, know, know.

But the list of things I won’t know in this new arrangement is lengthy. I won’t know if he’s lonely will they give him a hug. I won’t know if he picks up after himself or if he’ll miss grandma’s house. Yeah, yeah I know I’ll get a report each day that tells me what he ate, how long he slept, when they changed him etc…but it’s not the same.

When we told Morgan her baby brother was going to “school” she clapped and smiled at him and said “Yeah BaBa, I’m so happy for you. That’s so exciting.” And I know she’s right. So I will try to piggy back off her excitement and tuck my tears away and pray that time will slow up just a little bit so I can continue to enjoy my babies.

So simple

Like most parents, I am always on the lookout for new bribery tools for my children. I look for inexpensive activities, unsweetened treats anything that does the trick and lessens the guilt. You know what I mean, “if you help mommy get out of the house on time for work, I will give you…” or “if you sleep in your own bed all night, tomorrow we can do xyz.” Okay, fine, maybe it’s just me, but I was looking for one of those “tools” last week when my husband was out of town on business.

“If you eat all your dinner, we’ll do something fun,” I said. “Like what,” my three-year-old asks? “I don’t know, I mean it’s cold outside and dark, so we can’t go to the park. So let me think about for a minute.” Of course mere milliseconds pass by before she asks me for clarification on what “fun” activity I have in store. Off the cuff, I remember Chick-fil-A has an indoor play area, so why not have some ice cream and let them jump around for about an hour right before bedtime. The more I thought about it, the more I was disappointed I have not used this idea more often. My announcement was a hit and she cleared her plate; veggies and all and helped get her baby brother ready for the journey.

When we arrive, to my chagrin, there are two older girls in the play area and they are preparing to leave. We order our ice cream and sit to enjoy and after about three happy licks of her kiddie cone, she says “I’m done, can I go play now?” In hopes of stalling for new playmates, I ask her to eat a little more and she does. I gather our belongings, remove shoes and head inside. As soon as we get in there, two beautiful little blonde girls, one age 2 and one age 4 enter. Whew, am I glad about that; that means I am no longer on the entertainment committee and can resolve to sit on the safety committee.

But what made this outing telling wasn’t how we got there, but how comfortable these three children became without hesitation. As soon as they entered they approached my daughter and said “Hi, I’m Ashley, and this is my sister Emma, what’s your name?” When she responded they said “how old are you?” “I’m three,” said Morgan “and on my birthday I’ll be four.” So, I’m not sure if knowing your name and age is the requirement but from that moment on they held hands, ran up and down the steps, played on the slide and played a mean game of hide and seek.

And as their time dwindled and it we prepared to leave, she and her new friends smiled and hugged and said “bye, see you later.”

So the qualifier was so simple, just your name and age. Can you imagine if adults didn’t make things so complicated? If we didn’t judge by professions, degrees, median income, political affiliation; just our names and an age range life would be so much easier.