Today is one of those teacher in-service days at Bambina's preschool, so we had the day off. It was great timing, because Bambina has been in need of what I always called "a sanity day" when I unilaterally decided twice a year to not go to work. It's sometimes easy to forget that kids are prone to the same feelings adults are; that sometimes they just don't feel like doing stuff, sometimes they're just tired, and sometimes they just need a day out of time. So we started today building a fort out of our couch cushions and a blanket, which morphed into her "art studio with a skylight," which led us to make paper crowns with green pipe cleaner antennae.
Bambina’s preschool had done a whole segment on music and instruments from around the world. One part focused on orchestras where they learned all the sounds of the instruments, facilitated by Peter and the Wolf. She fell in love with the story and the music, so I amazoned a P&TW CD along with the Royal Ballet Nutcracker and a “classical music for kids” CD. We spent a good part of the rest of the morning listening to Peter and the Wolf, narrated by none other than David Bowie. I was a little dubious about the whole Bowie thing, but he is remarkably well suited to the task of telling the story without being the story. It was a neat walk down memory lane because my mom and dad used to play classical music all the time in our house (with a fair measure of Perry Como, et. al thrown in), with P&TW being a favorite. It’s also a measure of how old you are that the iconoclastic musician of your teenage years (yours, that is, not mine, darlings) is now doing his best work narrating Prokofiev.
(Speaking of musicians from one’s teens, we somehow ended up watching “Run’s House” on MTV the other night. It’s a reality show starring Reverend Run from you favorite rap group and mine Run-DMC. What’s amazing about this show is that it is the most positive and normal reality show I have ever seen in my whole life. I continue to wonder how it is still on TV, so uplifting and sans-stripper/hooker/psychotic girlfriends/violent drunk frat boys that it is. The Simmonses (the family) are all normal kids (living in some nice digs, to be sure), but all respectful and caring toward each other. Last season (when I ahem cough accidentally watched it) they had just lost their newborn baby daughter. This show covered the day their adopted baby girl was coming home, so it was a bit of a cyclical storyline, and one that was handled so beautifully. It’s a rare day when I recommend a reality show (unless it is called Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style or Project Runway), but if you get a chance you should give Run’s House a chance. There’s a little bit of Jesus talk in there, so if it wigs you out then don’t watch. It doesn’t happen to bother me one bit, mostly I think because what you’re viewing is a family living by—and not just talking about or judging others because of—their beliefs. Folks who need a point of reference can compare it to The Waltons, only with less sap and more rap.)
Anyhoo, all the music listening this morning led us to Bambina's computer where she did a bunch of online art drawing with Ariel and the Disney Princesses. Which led us to Bambina's favorite thing in the whole world: The Morning Bath. We all like morning baths because there is little urgency to get the kid in, washed and out before bed. You just actually have fun, while away the time, and very genuinely spend 55 minutes playing with her floaty kitchen as she cooks up "Ariel's Heavy Chicken Broth."
I'm getting okay with Bambina's princess thing, mostly because of the way in which she is internalizing and expressing it. She loves the dressy-uppy stuff, the mermaid pretend games, and the fact that she has a castle, which I loved as a kid too. She couldn't care less, however, about the Prince or any of the actual backstory of Ariel or the other princesses, which I am feeling good about at this early age. Yesterday she made up a whole scenario in which all the Disney Princesses showed up one day because all the bus drivers had fevers and had to stay home, so they were going to save the day and get all the people to work by offering musical bus rides. The musical bus ride involved sitting on the bed behind Bambina as she "drove" while tooting deafeningly into her kazoo. I held my hands over my ears and thought, "Any princess who can operate a Class C vehicle with minimal training and a non-existent CDL license is A-OK with me."
Anyway, all of the bathing and morning excitement was in anticipation of her Very Special Trip with Gram and Pop to see Horton Hears a Who. Maybe we're bad parents, but we have never taken Bambina to the movies. At first it was because she was too young, so we just got DVDs for home, and then it was because all the movies available for kids didn't seem age-appropriate (or "mom-appropriate" in terms of what behaviors I want my kid to learn) for a 2 or early 3 year old. So now that she's almost 4, movies like Horton seem a little more in line with where she is. So we spent the past couple of days describing a movie theater to Bambina, feeling with each very obvious sentence that maybe we had somehow deprived her of something: "see, there's this big screen, as big as that wall, and there are all these seats, and you can eat popcorn..." She's mostly psyched, I think, because I told her that she could have some Sprite since it's a special occasion.
Which is why I am online for the first time at noon, still in my pajamas. Time to clean up the morning's flotsam and jetsam, shower, and then clean my house just in time for the cleaners to arrive. :) I always made fun of people for cleaning for the cleaners, but it turns out that you actually have to if you want to a)not be a complete a-hole to them, and b) want to make it possible to actually get the house clean rather than just tidy. I never saw myself as a person who would ever have someone come and clean my house. Obviously my immune issues have made it a necessity, but barring that, I would have been totally against it on the basis of whatever class issues I still have in my head since childhood. I always just thought, "what are you doing that you don't have any time to empty your own wastebaskets and wash your own bath out?" Am I working 60 hours a week? Nope. Am I planning world-class charity balls quarterly? Nope. Am I busy curing childhood cancer? Nope. I'm just getting someone to do stuff I don't want to do myself because I can. So I feel lazy, but I recognize that for the time being someone else will have to vacuum my house for me until I can do it again myself. Although I've been told by more than one person that I should lie still for a while until that feeling passes...