Friday, August 22, 2008

Saving The Drama For Her Mama

Last Friday, summer camp officially ended.

To mark the occasion, the counselors decided to stage a hip-hop dance recital, because after all, nothing says “I’ve had a great summer” better than a bunch of white Jewish kids trying to breakdance to the vocal stylings of Kanye West.

The NIGHT BEFORE (thanks for all the advance notice, counselors!) I was informed through the state of the art “crumpled note in backpack” communication method that I was supposed to pack a black t-shirt for her to wear as a costume.

The Girl hates black, so she didn’t have one. And because I didn't find the note until after the stores had closed, I couldn’t buy one. So I made a rookie mistake, stupidly assuming that she could just get through the entire two minutes that she was going to be on stage in one of MY old shirts.

The morning of the show, The Girl put me on notice that I had to be at camp by 6, an hour before the recital started at 7. This of course guaranteed that some coworker would decide they absolutely HAD to have a last-minute meeting, and since it was critical to have it THAT DAY, it of course started at FIVE O’frigging clock.

So I didn’t even leave the office until 6, prompting a white-knuckled Grand Theft Auto-style drive up the Merritt Parkway.

I walked into the auditorium exactly 5 minutes before the show started. I looked around and it was like I had stumbled onto a battlefield scene from Braveheart: face-painted anarchy. Wild-eyed kids were running around in various stages of physical undress (and emotional distress), waving their arms and shrieking at whichever dazed-looking parents happened to be closest by; whether or not they were their own parents didn't seem to matter.

I spotted The Girl, who was accessorizing my black t-shirt with a look of white-hot fury. The shirt was enormous on her; the sleeves hung past her elbows and the bottom was brushing her knees. Her mouth was stained with fruit punch and her hair was matted with partly dissolved cotton candy, giving her the appearance of a tiny, ferocious Courtney Love.

"YOU. WERE. SUPPOSED. TO. BE. HERE. AT. SIX!" she screeched at me. Manager Dad threw up his hands and gave me a look of You dug your own grave on this one, Miss Latey Laterson.

She stomped over and stretched her arms straight out and started whirling them around in tight helicopter circles, making the sleeves flap like gigantic mutated bat wings.

"This (sob) shirt (sob) is (sob) too (sob) big. (sob sob sob) I can't be expected to PERFORM in THIIIIIISSSSSSS!"

(Insert additional sobbing)

I looked around, desperate for an assist, but everyone was either scraping their own kid wreckage off the floor, or was deliberately avoiding eye contact. Finally, one of the counselors saw an opportunity to upsize their end of summer tip by helping me out.

He hustled her onto the stage, where her tears magically dried up and she danced her little heart out, bringing her role of pint-sized hip-hop-‘ho to life with a level of enthusiasm that made Manager Dad fear for her future commitment to chastity.


But I was in no position to complain. If a dash of pop culture misogyny can be THAT effective in curing emotional outbursts, bring it on. I will sell out my feminist principles faster than Jamie Foxx can drop a chorus of, "Git down girl, go 'head, git down".

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67 comments:

that girl said...

Too funny..putting her in your old shirt? ARe you sure you're not my mom?

matt said...

That was a heck of a hiatus...was beginning to think you were never coming back...three days? Whew!

Ahhh....these are the days that make us better parents, yes? I'm guessing she didn't ask about your day? Sounds like she made out just fine, even with the Stevie Nicks shirt.

PS - Can I have your expressed written consent to use "pint-sized hip-hop ho" in every day conversation?

Ann said...

Okay, SPILL IT - are you QUITE sure you and Flavor Flav didn't get it on in that one elevator and this isn't his love child? I can put 2 and 2 together, you know, Ms. Hiatus!

Tina said...

I just choked on my lunch from laughing so hard...this is a great post!

cIII said...

"I will sell out my feminist principles faster than Jamie Foxx can drop a chorus of, "Git down girl, go 'head, git down".
*snorts Black Tea out nose*

I reckon anything is better than listening to what I refer to at Home, Inc. as Whinese.
I'm not well versed in that dialect.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

Ha ha!! Glad that hiatus was short-lived.

Tiffany said...

I'll have to try that next time my 4 year old has a fit. I'll tell him don't make momma bust a move. Thats scary enough to stop the crying right there.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

A supremely told story...I was right there with you.

Ms. Moon said...

It's stories like this that remind me of why the empty nest is so empty and why I am quite happy for that.
I swear, I am sitting in Florida going through a tropical storm and I would rather be here than in the shoes you were in last night.
Nice bit of writing, MM!

MereCat said...

I'm just glad YOU HAD a black shirt. Do they even make black shirts for kids? Kids don't need to be wearing black unless it's for a costume anyways. They'll have the rest of their adult lives to hide in black clothes.

Glad you're back in black! *snort*

Julie said...

That's too funny that you put her in your shirt! I hatehatehate last minute notes that I find crumpled up in backpacks because it usually means a late night trip to the Stuff-mart. You got points for improvising, right?!

Captain Steve said...

Awww, poor kid! Don't worry, it makes good therapist fodder. Or Oprah. Hope for Oprah, I hear she pays for small child angst.

Dora said...

Ah, yes, I know the end-of-camp talent show of which you speak; nothing like a bunch of little kids bumping and grinding on stage. My son dreaded it all summer; I couldn't wait to hand the counselors their envelopes and leave. This brings back memories...

Fortune Cookies said...

"nothing says “I’ve had a great summer” better than a bunch of white Jewish kids trying to breakdance to the vocal stylings of Kanye West."

that made me spray coffee on my monitor via my nostrils, think I.T. will notice? ;)

Maggie, Dammit said...

Ahhhhh, I'm relieved you're back. ;)

for a different kind of girl said...

I love how, in the face of the spotlight, she sucks it up and goes on with the show. That is the mark of a true artist! Get this girl a development deal with the Disney Channel post haste! She has range! She can dance! Let's say she can sing (because I don't know if she can)! You could be set for life!

This has been a tough three day hiatus...please say you're back!

patty said...

Next time, you're inviting me. I'll repay the favor by bringing you to the performance done by the so-called Italian (you'd never know it by looking at my two little micks) children up the street, at the IC Day Camp. Each group does its own song followed by its own dance, then the entire herd attempts the Macarena (aka "aimlessly milling about because we didn't like this year's dance instructor") at the end of the show.

CT Mom said...

LMAO! So glad you're back!

At least when you lend your daughter a shirt, it's too big on her. I'm giving T shirts to my 11 yr old because they're too small on me. She's a size 10. Youth size. Dryer must be shrinking my shirts. Yeah, that's it.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Ha ha! I didn't have kids and this sort of story makes me glad of that. That was a great read ;O)

Marketing Mama said...

Don't you have 24 hour walmarts near you? I mean come on.

Just kidding.

Glad you are back.

Laurie of the Seven Stories said...

Secretly, I think that all kids want their parents to fail at such things like bringing appropriate costumes and arriving on time to impromptu talent showcases. This way when they throw tantrums, we can only thank our lucky stars that they are dancing provocatively to the lyrics of Conway West.

Kids are smart. Don't believe the hype. Word to you, Motha

Laurie of the Seven Stories said...

P.S. I am not a total idiot- I meant Kanye West, but it's Friday at 11:17 and I have had two glasses of wine.

B_squared said...

Welcome back! Loved the story. I thought I was the only mom who had these working mom/good mom/bad mom moments at important performances. So funny, and I feel much better for my sanity :)

Ginaagain said...

Well it's better than dancing provocatively to the lyrics of Conway Twitty I suppose...

Always Home and Uncool said...

Hip hop by the kids at the local Jewish center is enough to send anyone on an extended break.

Stamford Talk said...

Yes- I also understand now why you needed a little break. Why didn't you just cut the shirt, just curious. I'm always cutting stuff up.

Also, little Courtney Love could have borrowed my (tight on me) "Fairfield County Happy Hour" shirt with the martini glass... we would have turned it inside out, of course.

Kelley said...

A black tshirt is better than the monkey costume I had to make out of an old teddy bear at 11pm the night before a concert I knew NOTHING about.

Future pole dancer in your future? Just think of the cash and the blog fodder woman!

LceeL said...

There is nothing - nothing - like being on stage - and if your little girl appreciates that now, well, hang on to you pantaloons tootsie, cause that's where she needs to be.

And I am SO GLAD you're back.

themommykelly said...

Hell, I am glad that you made it for the show, meltdown and all. Just imagine the consequences had you not been there for the Girl to bitch at just before her performance! No mere Manager Dad or counselor can handle that kinda breakdown.

I can just see you now celebrating in your own updated version of the old Enjoli commercial alla hip hop: "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan ... (insert witty rhyme here)..."

Enjoy the weekend and while we miss you, take all the time you need with the hiatus. Life is like that sometimes.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

And next time you'll find out about the t-shirt need during normal business hours!

Immoral Matriarch said...

LMAO. How was she afterwards? Still mad or had she forgotten about your lateness in the afterglow of successful gyration?

Trooper Thorn said...

That may be one of the funniest post I've read. Not just of yours MM, but of everyone’s. Such great language: "kid wreckage", “crumpled note in backpack communication method", "ferocious Courtney Love".

I especially liked "pop culture misogyny". I think I'll title my autobiography that (with your permission).

I hate staff that schedule meetings after 3. Nothing productive ever happens when people are thinking about dinner, golf and kid pick up.

Cocotte said...

"White Jewish kids breakdancing to Kayne West"...........stuff like this is what keeps me coming back to your blog. You truly do see the humor in life! Hugs & glad you are back!

Jen W said...

And you came back with a bang! Totally hilarious post.

"bringing her role of pint-sized hip-hop-‘ho to life with a level of enthusiasm that made Manager Dad fear for her future commitment to chastity."

Bwaaaahaahaaa!Love it.

floridagirlinsydney said...

Glad to see your hiatus was just a temporary stint!

floridagirlinsydney said...

Oh, and funny enough I was just in the middle of writing a blog posting about white jewish toddlers rapping-- hmmm, parallel lives?

list mama said...

What else could you do? That is a great story! Sounds like it worked out in the end. That's what matters, right? I am visiting by way of Twitter. Great stuff here!

Jen
http://www.ListPlanIt.com

Lisa said...

Reminds me of second grade when my mom put two different colored shoes in my school bag for a performance later that day.
One navy blue mary jane, one brown mary jane.
I still haven't forgiven her.

Putz said...

the TEACH gave out the happy feet award....the girl is one of my favorites,,, no all of you are my favorites...i would die without my blogg friends and i am happily married, but those of you fill up so much of me and my life and none of you are my lovers, romantically speaking...that was quite a mouthful, wasn't???/you know what i think it is,,, you are all so successful, well adjusted that you can take others in your life without getting all screwed up tshe other way..i am sure you know what i mean

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Poor kid, although this will be fodder for the future campcounselor "couch" of therapy for The Girl on a sunny afternoon exploring "Why my Mom Left me Hangin Hip Hop in a Manager Mom size Medium black shirt and I'm now a mess at age 15". (oh, wait, that'll happen anyway, despite what you do, Fifteen sucks)

This event sounded a little Dirty Dancing meets Parent Trap camp. A good sit-com script can be written...or wait, was it just written? Good Job, MM, we all missed you. BFF, and all.

Vodka Mom said...

life is so fucking great, isn't it?

Bahama Mama said...

This sounds just like something I would do and just like mine would react. Too funny!

John said...

LOL. I love that you're back. : ))

The sobs might have been avoided with the simple explanation that ALL Hip Hop clothing is at least 14 sizes too large and her shirt was supposed to look just. like. that. Did you at least remember some Flavor Flav clock bling for her? ; )

Did I mention I'm glad you're back?

Alice said...

I used to pull that crap on my Mom - "Hey, I need a grey sweatsuit for school tomorrow because I'm supposed to be a mouse!"

I'm so OCD now that I can't figure out my past self and when the change occured.

taawd said...

glad you are back and there's nothing wicked horrible going on in your life.

even tho I don't smoke, after reading this post, i feel like I just had my first cigarette in days... aaahhh...

Eve Grey said...

This sounds somehwat reminiscent of a Christmas pageant where I was told to dress the girl in a white shirt appropriate for an angel. In my mind, the most angel-like was one of daddy's big white T's. No need for pants right? Much to my chagrin & her embarrassed outrage, the shirt was see-through, the panties Sleeping Beauty. The other kids? Their own white T & jeans. Some angels.

The Mrs. said...

Well despite stepping on 3 upside down matchbox airplanes, having a lego tossed at my head, and being jabbed in the love handles one to many times today after reading this I'm a bit relieved to be the mom of boys!

Pollyanna said...

HEHEHEHA! That is TOO funny. This is why we don't do summer camp, too much pressure baby. :)

Thank you for stopping by my blog!!!!!!!!!! Your comment was sweet and much appreciated.

Karen MEG said...

There ain't nothin' like hip hop.

It's a shame that they don't want to wear your stuff once they're past the age of 4.

Your daughter probably would have killed me if I were her mom... I would have been on the stage dancing with her. Love me some hip hop ;)

amberpeace said...

As someone who has worked at a sleep away camp for about 200 Jewish girls,

You have no idea how much that story made me laugh.

anti-supermom said...

I can totally picture the girl flapping her bat wings screaming/sobbing at you. So funny (maybe not for you at the time, but makes a great post)!

Practically Joe said...

This will make a great background story when she lands a spot on "So You Think You Can Dance"!

noble pig said...

Ah the old shirt trick, I would have cried my eyes out too! LOL! These years are brutal aren't they?

carrie said...

Oh yes! The "state of the art crumpled note in the backpack communication method" is no stranger to these parts either!

GAH! :)

Joe said...

Too funny. I remember those crumpled notes from school days - always forgotten in the backpack until the night before or the morning of when they were miraculously revealed.

Of course, you could have told her that extra, extra large tees that hang past the knees (look, I'm rhyming!) are actually hip-hop style.

Brandie said...

Haha! Hilarious! That sounds about right too -- it doesn't matter what the kids are supposed to wear to these things -- first of all, I never get the notice in time, and secondly, I never have it!

Glad you pulled through, though, and hope you got good pics!

StationStops.com said...

Good to have you back!

"white-knuckled Grand Theft Auto-style drive up the Merritt Parkway."

Is there any another kind of Merritt drive?

You might want to advise your kids that Adam Horowitz is an anomaly and get them a good book on podiatry. j/k!

mysecondjournal said...

they really need to supersize and laminate those notes..really..
fyi I tagged you

Manager Mom said...

At LEAST Jewish kids have the Beastie Boys to point to for a shred of hip hop hope. Spawn don't even have THAT, because they're Christianesque.

I can't let them listen to Eminem...he's too much of a hot mess. Guess I'm going to have to start playing Vanilla Ice tunes.

Or maybe I can borrow him from Alice.

the (new) cheap chick said...

God I love you. Promise you will never leave me again, even if it is for only 3 days, and you managed to post comments on my blog all three days. But comments aren't the same as the full-on AWESOMENESS that is you.

Seriously? Glad to have you back.

the (new) cheap chick said...

God I love you. Promise you will never leave me again, even if it is for only 3 days, and you managed to post comments on my blog all three days. But comments aren't the same as the full-on AWESOMENESS that is you.

Seriously? Glad to have you back.

the (new) cheap chick said...

And why that posted twice, I'll never know.

Jennifer H said...

Ah, the crumpled note in the backpack...gotta love technology these days. How hard would it be to email a notice? (...Is what I think every time I get the news late like that...)

Denise said...

So glad your back girl! "Git down girl, go 'head, git down".

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle online: http://tinyurl.com/6hwlhy

Kylie w Warszawie said...

I loved the Courtney Love reference! I can totally picture that!

Great post!

Rhea said...

pint-sized hip-hop-‘ho

LOVE this. Such a classic parenting moment.