Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Middle School Perils

I'd be happy to report this was a normal "freak out" if in fact it was not me "freaking out". And if I was happy about it.

I should be more descriptive. It's less of a peril and more a landmine positioned on top of quicksand. In space.

Hints have been wafting through the fetid air of my house for weeks. I'd chosen to save my sanity by ignoring all of it. I've learned a lot of calming techniques over the past several years. Change my focus. Breathe. Do math in my head. Tap-tap-tap. The hints kept coming and I tapped harder, focused on bigger unicorns, exhaled the entire tidal volume of my lungs and attempted the Fibonacci sequence (I can do double digits now!).

There is a dance this week. At the middle school. Where my daughter attends! I sort of feel like I just announced they found snakes in the toilets or a sniper on the roof. Or both. How are you going to tell me my 4 year old is going to a school dance (in my head she's still 4- see that cute pic on the right sidebar? That's her, forever) that will have booooooooooys! Boys who might want to daaaaaaaaaaaance! WITH GENEA!

Because lemme tell ya, no hormone addled mini perv is going near my daughter. I'm not the kind of parent who wants to be friends with her kids friends. I want them to fear the sound of my footsteps in case a foot slips and lands where the sun don't shine. I want them to stutter when they speak to me. I want visible shaking. Because your limited life experience means you cannot even imagine what I will do to you if you touch my little girl. And it will hurt.

A few weeks ago, Genea came to me- very serious- to ask how she would know if she 'like' liked a boy, and how she would know if he 'like' liked her back. I covered my stomach with a pillow to hide the sudden onset abdominal convulsions and pinned my face with binder clips to reflect calm curiosity. My brain was screaming- get those thoughts out of your head right now little girl you are only four! Fortunately the screaming stayed in there and didn't fall out, so I asked her for details.

What passes for interaction these days slays me. This boy has an ipad, and doesn't let anyone watch him play on it except for her. Aaaaaaand, she thinks he is cute. ACKKKKKK!

Being only 4 years old, Genea had already jumped to wanting to ask him on a date.


Okay, see honey, you're skipping a few steps there. What do you know about him (#anyfelonies)? What does he like (#betterhavenetnannyonthatipad) to do? What makes you think he might like you (#checkthesexoffenderlist)? What's his full name and address, parents names and occupations (#backgroundchecksforeverbody!)?

I get that this is the goal and I should be proud of Genea (I am). This is what moms are told to do- lay the groundwork when they're little so when big things start coming up kids come to us with them. I just think the theory is a much better thing as a theory. One I'd still be working towards. Sigh.

At any rate, thankfully Electronica Boy moved with just a few days notice and *poof* the issue is gone. I won't get that lucky again. And now this dance is coming.


I'd like to interrupt myself with an elevator pitch. I was sent this super cute spa bag by simply bridal  to review. I answered the original email by saying, my blog is about adoption and most of the people who read are already married! She wrote back- I know but check out our gifts! And sure enough! This is the cute spa bag:

(there's a way nicer pic on the link with all the different colors)

It holds full size bottles and such. For me though, it works awesome for my daily stuff of distraction. I was kind of surprised at how much fit in there. My tablet, day planner, knitting project with 2 skeins of yarn, water bottle, sunglasses, notepad and some pretzels.  Anyway, it's really well constructed, super cute and can be monogrammed. The best thing though is the fabric can be easily wiped clean. UNLIKE my other travel- stuff bag which has a multitude of messy reminders all over it.


So anyway. The dance is this week after school. It's even in the afternoon. I'm letting her go with a friend despite my reluctance. She's actually 11 years old. That's young, I think, for a boy-girl dance. But all the kids are in that range and if I can remember that far back, mostly there's a lot of ignoring and giggling going on between genders. It's a costume dance. I'm thinking she can be duct tape- which I'll apply. With precision.

Have I mentioned she's learning the saxophone? It's big and it's heavy. I gotta teach her how to swing that thing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

And then.....

We saw Aladdin Friday night. The group rate must have been something awesome because we were in the 3rd row- I've never been so close in my life! Genea for sure never has. It was her first "Big Production" and she was in awe. She'd met Courtney (Jasmine) earlier that day and it was cool to see her perform.

Leaving the hotel to walk over to the theater.
(That's my- holy hell I hope we can find it if one more person tells me how easy nyc is to navigate and holds their hands up to show me a rectangle I'm gonna drop down and do the wango tango -face)
(Sigh, actually it's my -no my eyebrows are not sagging down to my chin because I'm so danged old if I lift them up they will look like they used to- face)

The theater was an amazing place with beautiful details. This is the main entrance.

A shot of the inside.

After, Aladdin and Jasmine came out to chat with the kids in their normal faces and clothes. Two ensemble members joined as well. They made a big deal about how flying the magic carpet is a Big Secret. Genea raised her hand to tell them she knew it was on wires- I shushed her just in time, in case anyone had not grasped that for themselves. She asked a different question then, about food that appears on a table. "Disney magic" was the answer. She has come so far- just a few years ago she would have frozen like a rock and now here she is asking chatty questions of Broadway theater performers!

We were told the cast exits the same door as the audience so we waited around to try to grab some autographs. However, the guy who told us that was lying- there were the expected back door exits and we were not there. Because we were here.

Yes actually, we did plan for her sweater to match the color scheme of the production.

At this point, it's like 11:30 at night and Genea's bed time passed us by 4 hours earlier. But, as Genea said, we had the "staying up late disease" city people get. We still had to walk back to the hotel and- wait! What's that? A gelato shop open at almost midnight? We couldn't pass up that opportunity, and btw, it was delicious!

Back at the hotel Genea was certain she was not... tired so..... she........ thunk- and- out.

Saturday morning was a tour bus thing called The Ride. I'm not sure how to even describe it- it was hilarious and definitely not the usual tour bus! There were 3 rows of stadium type seats running sideways and 2 hosts to facilitate. They had microphones that could talk to people outside, which was wild. At a red light, they were talking to a man with a delivery package and broadcasting music when the man started tap dancing right there on the street. Similar things happened at each red light and we finally realized it was set up that way, lol.

It was raining- which I had prepared for but we still got wet- and we had planned to go to the TKTS booth (the place with the huge red stairs where  The Amazing Race started this year) but even in the rain the line was ridiculous. They are in Times Square and sell theater tickets at a discount 3 hours before a show and usually have great deals. I knew I wanted to take Genea to see Mama Mia because she suuuuuuuper loves ABBA, so we slogged over to the theater and got good seats straight from the source, and for the same (or better) discount!

Seats were pretty good!

Following the show we did  more tourist-ing.

This is from the Disney Store. They use these mannequins that I just think are creepy. They are all basically the same with different "skin" tones. A clown crawling out of a sewer grate would be less creepy. In my opinion.

Sunday was check out and we packed ourselves up but still had 4 hours until our airport bus would arrive (whee!). Genea and I walked over to the Museum of Modern Art, which was a block away, to browse their design stores. I'd heard they have something to do with innovation and inventions and awards? Anyway, they had cool stuff to see and play with.

AND THEN, we went back to the hotel and waited for "maggiek", who often comments here and on other blogs. She came with her children to meet us and go on a backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall. How cool was that of her!

That was something special because we got the rare chance to go on stage!!!!!!!!!! They said, "it almost never happens"!!!

We're Rockettes on a day off in our normal clothes. Seriously.

Why yes, I did take a picture of the bathroom. I love art deco and this was gorgeous!

Looking down from maybe the 2nd floor balcony? I think there were 4 stories of seating.
We bummed around with maggiek and her adorable daughters and headed over to Rockefeller Center. maggiek is lovely and her daughters are polite and silly and cute. Here is one of them photo bombing us-
Here I am with that damn scarf again. You'd think I didn't bring 2 other choices!
Everything was as perfect as could be. For Genea, it showed her a world of experiences and choices she hadn't even imagined. She loved everything we did and never got "symptomatic".  She was flexible, she went with the flow, she put in her opinion. She didn't seem to get overwhelmed and it was crazy overwhelming! She was happy and enjoyable, calm and pleasant. Wonderful.
Then came,
The airport of doom.
Can I just vent?
 Dear Southwest Airlines- you can call it "open seating" all you want. When you divide passengers into 3 separate groups for boarding, then divide each of those into  2 more groups, then have them line up in groups of 4 to stand next to a sequentially numbered pillar (and don't you dare mess up your pillar) YOU HAVE JUST ASSIGNED SEATS!!! Who do you think you are kidding?
(I really like Southwest and normally wouldn't bitch about a few mishaps but this was ridiculous)
It was so fucked up, seriously. We were at the end of the last group to board and Genea and I could not sit together. I was lucky to find 2 middle seats, one behind the other. One row had 2 enormous buffalo men and the other had 2 lovely, fit women. I debated with myself for just a second before I directed Genea (the smaller of us) to the spacious seat with room to hula dance between the 2 women, while I jammed myself in between the buffaloes. And you know what else? They were both armrest assholes.
But we did not have it the worst. Just before boarding another mom who had come with her 2 young girls approached me with tears in her eyes. She asked if I would watch out for her daughters on the plane and make sure they were okay through Milwaukee and on to Green Bay. There were only 2 seats left on the plane and she was going to send them alone so they could get home, leaving her to flounder around LaGuardia indefinitely. Ultimately people bumped and she got on, but what a horrible plan to have to make.
And so, we got home around 1 AM. And I was sad when no one came to make my bed in the morning or bring me dry towels. And Genea went to school Monday because I was like- hey, you want to be a performer, this is the performer life dude! I however, went back to bed after the kids went to school and slept until 2:00.
As promised, I am lowering the price of Parenting Pandora significantly. Mwah!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Here, and probably staying forever

NYC is fabulous!

We left Thursday morning at 4:30 AM, otherwise known as the buttcrack of dawn.

 and got in at about 1:00. Our bus from the airport took the kids straight to their first workshop- with the cast of The Lion King! Parents went to the hotel and dragged in all the bags. I'm not going to say we over packed because I like options, but maybe the over flow bag was one too many.

ANyWAY, the kids met us at the hotel and we went to Ellen's Stardust Diner- where the wait staff also puts on a show. So much awesome! Here we are....

The guy standing in the middle was standing on a table singing- they were so good it was scary.

So, when a group of performers goes to a diner to see performers, you get a lot of back up vocals and assistance with your chorus. It was cute.

After dinner I thought we would be exhausted but we weren't. Genea said she thought we probably got that disease that makes people in the city stay up all night. We decided to go to the 9/11 memorial. We got out "in the area, right over there". We walked a few feet, turned around, turned around again, and asked for help. I thought it would be obvious- there are 2 enormous water features, but I couldn't find it. Just about every 20 feet there was a city police officer, so that was really helpful and I spoke with each one individually. Finally the last guy was like, you're there. Oh. Oh!

It was incredibly quiet and peaceful, with a small crowd. I know there is some controversy around it, but I thought it was beautiful. Names of those killed surround the edges of the square pond and are backlit. Water is pooled around the edge up high, then cascades into a pool and disappears into a smaller square at the bottom. Here are pictures I took.

Friday, it was off to another workshop with Jasmine (aka Genea's new best friend Courtney) from Aladdin. They ran some scenes and got critiqued. According to Genea, she got no critique. Instead they told her she showed great emotion and expression. True/not true, I don't care, works for me!

While she was there, I bopped over to Grand Central Terminal and met Casa Bicicleta! Hold your green stones people, she was as awesome as she seems! And totally adorable! Here is a picture she took of me:

(I dunno, it didn't LOOK like an old lady scarf when I put it on!)
I don't have a picture of her and she keeps pics private on her blog so I didn't ask. I guess that means my claim is suspicious and without evidence.

Genea and I spent the time afterward roaming Times Square. In my persistent quest to find a benefit to some of the more *ahem* intrusive behaviors, I have to say Genea seems born to live here. Child maneuvered crowds like a pro! Her compulsion to be first in line, first to "get", first to see, makes her incredibly quick and worm-like when getting to her goal. I think she walks faster than she runs- and I'm no crowd slouch, I've long considered myself a crowd-maneuvering savant.

(I would decide later I don't like all those people. It's not that I mind the crowds per se, its that I cannot stand any of the people in front of me blocking my way with their picture taking, map reading, confusion).

Toys r Us here has an actual live Ferris Wheel inside. WHAT? I was excited we got the Barbie car.

 We also stopped in the M&M store. I've seen one before, Vegas maybe? But this one was 3 stories tall. Genea was highly impressed with the unique colors.

Wow, so yeah, this is all still Friday and I haven't got to the evening yet!
Okay, last thing. When you are in a place like New York City, you sample from the world renown cuisine right? The top restaurants anywhere are right here. Genea agreed. She's pretty good about trying new food but not so good about liking new food. So we went super- exotic.

Genea is getting antsy so I will continue this later. I have to say again, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who helped us- including CH for her donation. It has been absolutely amazing and I'm pretty sure I'm going to stay!


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