Friday, January 30, 2015

The Audience

I have unfortunate memories from my childhood in which my sister, our neighborhood friend, and I plugged in our tape player with my dad's orange extension cord and choreographed dances to hit songs in the front yard. We worked with songs from the likes of NKOTB and Milli Vanilli, and we dubbed ourselves "The Glitter Girls." We even had a small green beaded treasure chest of money that was basically a collection of our allowances, which we intended to use for costumes until the neighborhood friend's mom stole it to "buy makeup." But that's another story. We spent hours in the front yard amusing ourselves on summer mornings and creating superfly dances that we then forced upon hapless audiences such as Martha, our sweet elderly next-door neighbor. We even charged her a quarter for the privilege of watching our productions. (That money was probably stolen by the neighbor's mom, too.)

Ah, youth. And, ah, how it comes full circle to bite us in the asses.

I am now hapless Martha, and my two older boys are the Glitter Girls--except the productions that I am subject to viewing are choreographed ninja moves, wrestling positions, pratfalls, "spider jumps," and nude dances. Yes, nude dances, because my children think it's hilarious to disrobe for a laugh, and then run out to where I am so that they can dance, giggle uproariously, and shout out the names of body parts that usually aren't subject to public viewing. Apparently my exasperation is enough to keep them coming back for more.

Over the course of the last six months, my role as a mother to Silas and George has shifted from 'primary playmate' to 'negotiator/peacekeeper.' Now they mostly are entertained by playing with each other, which is both a blessing and a curse. Now I do get a few extra minutes to prep dinner, text a friend, and start laundry, but I'm also frequently needed to break up arguments and draw figurative lines in the sand when someone took the wrong Lego or stuck a foot into the other's fort space. Silas and George dream big dreams when they're together, and their conversations are wonderful to hear. They talk mostly about "skeleton work," what they want to be when they grow up, and what superheros they are. Also, their conversations can be hilarious, such as the following:
Silas: Can I do something to your finger?
George: What?
Silas: I can't tell you. I just have to do it.
G: Okay.
(Pause) Silas: Does that hurt?
G: No.
Silas: Is it going to hurt at some point?
G: Ummmm. No.

Yesterday the boys were in the garage unraveling strings from bundled wooden stakes, and then using those strings to set up "booby traps" for bad guys around our front yard. All at once, Silas remembered a doctor's kit that George was given for his birthday and asked if they could play with that. George was immediately on board, as the doctor's kit has been a huge hit. Silas said to George,
"George, our days of fighting bad guys are in the past. Now, our doctor days are just beginning."

Then, of course, there is The Vanners. Both boys love Van greatly, but George is definitely the better playmate. George fits the bill of the middle child pretty perfectly: he is the go-between for our youngest and oldest, belonging in good relationships with both. He also seems to struggle with a bit of that identity crisis that seems to plague middle children--namely, the swift transformation from mature thinker to tantruming infant. Each morning when Van wakes up, George is always allowed to be the first one in to get him. George always stops me in my tracks with a dramatic crossing-guard-type gesture and tells me to wait. "I tell you when you can come, Mommy. I need alone time with Ban." Sometimes those two go for 20 minutes playing in the crib together before I intervene and get Van for breakfast!

Not to be outdone, The Vanners would like to remind us that he is the ultimate cake-smasher.

Motherhood is definitely a changing journey. I find myself at times longing for a newborn again, and the next minute I find myself breathing a sigh of relief about finally having my body (mostly) back to myself after five consecutive years of either being constantly pregnant or nursing. Each January my very favorite tennis tournament, the Australian Open, causes me to reminisce about the greatness of sweet-smelling newborns as I recall that two of the last three years were spent watching live tennis in the middle of the night with babes who needed feedings. As I consider that next month we're enrolling Silas for kindergarten in August though, I'm reminded to not hurry these days along. They will go fast enough on their own. That thought keeps me smiling and sitting for yet another performance by my two little vaudevillians---as long as they don't charge me 25 cents for the pleasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment