Kembe and India had their preschool Christmas play tonight. I really wanted to go, but it was the last class of the semester so I was feeling responsible to be there, too. At the last minute, I called in my TA and had her run the first potion of class so I could drop by. My TA did a great job and I realize that this semester could have been much easier if I were better at delegating. A lesson I always seem to remember in retrospect. It bears mentioning that I am ABSOLUTELY THRILLED that this class is over. It was a graduate class on diversity issues in psychotherapy – a class that I’ve been wanting to teach for a while. It is a subject I feel passionate about and it was a lot of fun to teach, but I tend to go into psychotic research mode every time I teach a class for the first time . . . preparing about ten hours worth of lecture notes for every three hour class in the off-chance that I should, I dunno, run out of things to say or have a student ask me a question that I can’t answer with complete authority GOD FORBID. So, thankfully that syllabus has been written and next semester I will be teaching an addiction class I’ve already overprepared for. Anyways, back to the Christmas play. It was, as I expected, completely adorable. I took the good camera and I was so excited to capture this quintessential childhood moment – India in her lamb costume, Kembe as a stable dog(?). But of course, the moment they come singing down the aisle is the moment my camera declares via an offensive red text that it is OUT OF BATTERY. So I had to take the photos with my sluggish iphone. Wow. These really capture the moment, don’t they? UGH. They really were too cute for words. India has been singing one of the songs at home with great enthusiasm – a little ditty called “Christmas is a Time for Love”. Her singing of this song was so dissonant that I could not figure out if she was completely tone deaf, or if the preschool was doing some kind of avant-guarde, atonal music for the children’s play. Unfortunately for India, it was the former. The song sounded quite lovely as sung by the whole group, and I sat in the audience overcome with the sad realization that my unmet musical theater aspirations will not be met via India. She certainly wins the Drama Desk for choreography and enthusiasm, but alas she will not be a triple threat. I’m afraid that Kembe is unlikely to carry the showtunes torch, either, given the fact that during the entire program Kembe neither smiled nor uttered a single lyric, despite belting out the songs all week at home. In fact, he spent most of the show scanning the audience looking for us with a quiet desperation. Oh, my heart. I guess every parent probably feels this way but I just want to jump up and shout, HERE! WE’RE RIGHT HERE!! WE’RE SITTING OVER HERE! He looked a little deer-in-headlights. So I guess my Mama Rose projections will have to land on another child. Hmm. . . who should it be? *This is the volume of Kembe’s voice most of the time. Other times, he is asleep. Karis spent the entire program trying to make a run down the aisles and on to the stage. We were seated in a very crowded pew in a very crowded auditorium, and she wanted to be anywhere but in that row. She was unrelenting in her attempts to squeeze around us and make a run for it . . . a feat that was cute and funny THE FIRST TIME. By the fifth time, we were getting “that look” from the other parents. Finally, we had to cage her into the pew by both Mark and I creating a sort of barricade with our legs, with her between us, screaming and clawing to try to get out. And then , she was gone. She had made a break for it by crawling straight ahead under the pew in front of us, and suddenly our human barricade was empty. Except that Mark and I were too busy trying to frantically identify ourselves to Kembe to notice, so quite some time had passed before we both said to each other, um . . . where’s Karis? And then we had to get up and search for her, asking all the rows in front of us if any of them had seen the baby we had lost. Kind of like when you drop a pen in an airplane. Only this was a child. We finally found here, several rows up. We went back to our seats and reinforced our leg-shield-pew-barrier, and she spent the rest of the time screaming “Mine!” and trying to take my shoes off to wear for herself. Ah, toddlerhood. Jafta, on the other hand, spent the entire program slamming his foot into the pew in front of us, trying to make his new, hideous Star Wars shoes light up. Which I think was appreciated by the folks in the row in front of us just a smidge more than being asked if they wouldn’t mind lifting their feet up while we looked for our daughter. Can I just say, I am so bitter at my husband for buying him character shoes that light up. (Character shoes as in the kind with pictures on them. Not the kind you wear in showchoir. Though those are hideous too). I have avoided these things for FIVE YEARS, pretending to my children that I couldn’t find the character shoes in their size, and frantically avoiding the shoe aisle at Target with children in tow. I hate character shoes. I hate them even more when they light up. And now, each of my children is BEGGING me for light-up character shoes. The veil has been lifted. Thanks, Mark. Anyways, tonight was not a shining parenting moment. But, it is a step from last year, when I realized a week after the fact that we had completely forgotten to take the children to their Christmas program. At least we made it this time.