|something blue until I find something better...|
I took my two sons to the Blue Man Group last Sunday at the Warner in Washington D.C (a.k.a "The Blue Heads" as my five year old likes to call them). I have a habit of doing things like this with my kids. My enthusiasm grows itself a giant head much like a fun balloon (the kind you bop with the rubber band) and then POP.....but this time I kept my mantra of "high hopes, low expectations" at hand.
I fully expected that they would enjoy the show but perhaps not as much as me. Which is a funny thing to say when the guys on stage are munching Captain Crunch, covered in blue paint, banging on drums and catching paint and marshmellows in their mouths. I'm sure they'll include this brief synopsis on their website soon.
And so I've realized lately that I don't always get to be the parent I want to be...sometimes I just have to be the parent they need. And that's really hard when the kid sitting across from you in the "touristy hip" Hard Rock Cafe has his jacket up to his ears all mutant style and the kind maitre de (is that what you'd call him at the Hard Rock?) keeps coming over to ask if everything's okay. Is there anything he can do for us? Just ask. "Yeah, can YOU tell me why my son is mad at me?" I'd like to ask. Big tips for that.
And it turns out he's upset at me for telling him that I didn't have any cash so he could buy a Washington DC sweatshirt off a vendor outside the restaurant. Now, I'll tell you if I hadn't come down with another awful stomach bug on the two preceding days I would have had cash in my pocket, extra water in the car, self inflatable raft, tissues, gum, notebooks, crayons, the Flip Video, and anything else a Boy Scout would be proud of. All of this to ward off all fronts the boy could throw. Be Prepared is a motto on my flag I never planned on flying-I was a fly by the seat of my pants girl until I had my oldest.
Now, some of you who don't know my son might be saying-ungrateful child, he should just be happy going to the show and eating at a pretty nice restaurant and believe you me, I'm thinking the same thing. But almost 8 years of this has taught me that it's not about the sweat shirt and it's never about the socks. It's about something else-taking him out of his comfort zone, and his acting out to gain control. Our back and forth, our relationship, me and my oldest son. I know, I'm starting to sound like an expert on the subject, well, I am.
And so I gave in. Found a place that would take a debit card, griping the all the while that we are going to be late and how stupid it is that he wants the sweat shirt which looks just like one he has at home. He's pushing me and I am giving and rising like homemade bread dough. My guard is down.
I'm not feeling well. I just want to get to the dang show. Credit card machine goes down, temper up. But I contain it enough. Woman behind the counter (small, Asian, sweet) says in her choppy english, "You know, sometimes you have to think, hey, life short. Don't worry much." As she takes my 15 dollars, smiles. She's right though.
I still can't help barking at the boys to pick up the pace, the theater is still 3 blocks away. I wonder why they run everywhere except when I need them to. We arrive safely and plop ourselves in line, enter the theater with no more tempest. Calm. Our seats are in row TT, way up in the clouds, a.k.a the balcony.
And now, my oldest can't see. I am beginning to kick myself, I should know better than to do things like this with young children. What to do, what to do.
"Look Mom," he shows me his prize winning sweatshirt balled up in the bag, " I can sit on this." And he does and he can see over the man's head in front of him.
And because of that whole debacle, it allowed me to the be the parent I want to be, one that shows my kids creativity, fun and encourages them to use their imagination and shake their money makers (you have to see Blue Man to understand).
I swear sometimes there's camera on me.
"See Mom," he says grining, "We really DID need the sweatshirt."
I look above at the elaboratedly decorated theater ceiling along with a massive chandelier that will soon be covered in dangling toliet paper, really, see the show and silently say a thank you.
The boys sit on the edge of their seats loving every part of the show. And I think to myself, Beth- no worry so much, life short.