Sunday, July 17, 2011

Afternoon with kids

Today my little niece Barbara and my little nephew George Andrew went with me and my brother George (their dad) to Jazz at the Albright. The Latin jazz artist Wendell Rivera was playing.

That is Barbara pictured above! She is a living doll and there is something so great about girls her age, which is 5 or 6. She has this car seat. I was supposed to sit on the driveshaft in the back seat between her and George Andrew. They are both in their car seats.

Barbara got out of the car and waited for me to get into my middle spot. Instead I stopped and sat down in her car seat.

"This is great!" I said. "This is my seat! I love this seat! Thank you, Barbara!"

And Barbara gets all agitated and laughing: "No, Aunt Mary! That's my seat!"

"No, it's my seat!" I actually sat in it. Thank you, Zumba, for making my butt fit in a kid's car seat!

"Aunt Mary! Aunt Mary! It's my seat!"

Kids are so funny!!

So after that we had a great day. We were listening to Wendell Rivera at Jazz at the Albright and all these hip-looking people were up dancing. And Barbara goes: 

"Aunt Mary, want to dance?"

So we got up and danced. Barbara was the brave kid who broke the ice and soon we were joined by six or seven other little kids, some with their parents in tow. The kids all started dancing together and I was dancing by the side with one of the moms.

Then, crisis!

Not one crisis but two crises!

Crisis one: Barbara was joined by George Andrew and they got into a fight. Over me! Both of them wanted to dance with me. Georgie started pulling Barbara's dress and she started pulling his hair and there was this very embarrassing meltdown with me trying to separate them and all these people laughing.

Crisis two happened after Crisis One was resolved. Wendell Rivera, on stage a few feet away, made the mistake of inviting the kids up on stage. They all took to this idea. This one mom and I, we were nervous and tried to put them off. We kept saying, "Wait till Mr. Rivera starts his next song, and then maybe..."

Finally we relented and let them get up there. These 3- and 4- and 5-year olds. It was so funny. Immediately -- within seconds! -- the woman in charge of everything swoops down in. She was nice about it, but she let us know she couldn't have these kids on stage, liability issues, etc.

This mom I was standing with and I, we swung into action, scooping up toddlers -- ours, and other people's -- and getting them off the stage. I felt awful! Because that woman in charge, I had just talked to her on the phone this week, writing a story. Now here I am wrecking the show. I am apologizing all over the place. 

Then later I thought, well, maybe she doesn't know it was me. 

Why would she know it was me? It's not as if she sees me out a lot or anything. We just talked on the phone.

So I cling to this hope of anonymity.

After that we went back to my house and Barbara and Georgie helped make dinner. I taught them to use a salad spinner and they washed and dried the lettuce, fighting over who got to do what. Then they designed a salad. They decided they liked walnuts so walnuts should go in. They crumbled feta cheese. Barbara wore a beautiful vintage dress-up hostess apron I got at some garage sale and she wanted to take it home and I told her yes. We got Georgie into a crisp white Sorrento Cheese apron. It was too big for him but he insisted so we wrapped the belt around him several times. He looked like a little Italian chef! Too funny.

Why can't they stay like this forever, and not grow up to get tattoos and piercings, you know?

They will think I am uncool with my classical music and Latin Masses.

On the bright side by the time they are at the tattoos and piercings stage, my book on Leonard Pennario will be long out and it will have swept the world and been made into a big-budget movie. So there will be that.

Surely that will make me look cool!

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