Further adventures of the introverted parents with the extroverted kid
Today P and I put the kid in her wagon and set off for the park. As we approached the wooded play area, A could see that there were a few visitors already there. "There are people at the park!" she exclaimed. "Everyone will see me!"
The kid, on stage, completely univited
And that is truly how she goes through life - every day is an opportunity to be seen.
Headed to the park to greet her peeps
On Sunday evening, we were invited to attend a 10th wedding anniversary party in honor of my friends Nancy and Gary. (When I told the kid we were going, she said, "I love Nancy and Larry! They're my friends!") Now, this was not a kid-type party per se, and please believe me when I say that I tried like hell to find a sitter. It's tough to do on a holiday weekend when all the sullen teens are out of town. But my friend assured me that it was okay to bring A, as it was better than not making an appearance at all. P had to work, so it was just the two of us.
The party was held at a local theater (which is actually an old library - it's a very cool building). My friend and her husband are members of an improvisational comedy troupe, and the theater is where they perform. The first challenge we encountered was that Nancy, God love her, had set out bowl after bowl of "neminems" all around the lobby and in the theater itself. The party had a Mickey Mouse theme, so all the M&Ms were black, white, or red. I spent half the evening wiping black saliva off my child's beautiful face.
After the kid had consumed copious amounts of chocolatey goodness, all the guests were instructed to take their seats inside the theater. There was a video presentation that included footage from the wedding, the reception, etc. Then Nancy, Gary, and their pastor took the stage for a vow renewal ceremony. The kid started yelling, "Hey, it's Nancy! Hi Nancy! What are you doing!?" She just could not squelch the compulsion to chat directly and personally with Nancy, as though there weren't 50 other people in the theater. After a few moments of intense, whispered negotiations, I gave up and pulled her back out to the lobby. There was another guest sitting at a table out there and of course A had to chat with him. "I'm eating cheese because it's quiiiiiiet," she informed him. "But I'm not supposed to eat botata chips because they're not quiet." (It always cracks us up when she puts out her little fists and makes us play "one botata two botata.")
After the vow renewal ceremony was over, the masses poured back out into the lobby and it was then that the kid was truly in her element. I had a couple glasses of riesling in hopes that I would mellow out as my child became increasingly gregarious. I watched her walk into the middle of a group of five adults, give them her full name, ask them for their names, and then ask them what they were eating. I can't pull that off and I'm 38.
Extroverted improv comedy people, I think, tend to recognize their own kind. And so it was that no one seemed at all worried about my kid's behavior . . . except perhaps me. I was trying to walk the fine line between "who brought this adorable child?" and "why is that woman letting her brat run rampant?" I don't think anyone thought the latter at all - I just wanted to make sure they didn't have a chance to. At one point a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a fedora was laying on the floor with A, arm wrestling her.
The highlight of the evening, without a doubt, was when a woman tapped me on the shoulder and then said, "Um, your daughter is trying to get into the men's room." I think you'll agree that the average mom doesn't ever want to hear that phrase uttered. Ev-er.
After dinner, the next item on the agenda was improv games. Nancy was up on stage, explaining to the crowd how the games would work (there are two teams of performers that play improv games, often using material and ideas gathered from the audience). The next thing I knew, there was a curly-haired girl standing next to her on stage, talking loudly to the performers. She was completely unfazed by the large crowd watching her. I took a couple of snapshots and then attempted to catch her and pull her off the stage. But she's a lot younger and a lot faster. Eventually one of the performers caught her and handed her to me. She starting hollering things like "put me down!" and "I don't wanna go!" At that point it became obvious to me that we had to leave. There was no way she was gonna sit in the audience when clearly she felt her calling was ON stage.
In the car on the way home, she sang loudly for a while and then announced, "My butt just farted."
The born performer.
When I tried to get her dressed this morning, she told me,
"Not right now. I have to dance."