'Tis the Season...of my child misbehaving
not have a good track record. Let's just dwell on last night, for now.
We kept him with us in the bleachers until the last minute. That way
(we thought) he could not run wild and get up a good head of steam
for the performance. We had a talk about his behavior at these
programs over the last two years. He promised to be good. He
said he would make me proud, not embarrassed. I promised that
I would take away his GameBoy until the weekend if he acted up.
We both agreed to the terms. His dad took him to the staging
area. I saved his seat. I felt like Elaine at the movies, on that
episode of Seinfeld where the four of them keep missing each
other and describe their friends to ticket-taker: "Big wall of hair,
face like a frying pan?" "A short guy with glasses, looked like
Humpty Dumpty with a melon head?" "About 5'11", big head
with flaring nostrils?" "Tall, lanky doofus, with a bird face and
hair like the Bride of Frankenstein?" Something like that.
The start was only 5 minutes late. Grades 2 & 3 marched out of
the band room and into the gym. My first inkling of what was to
come was his position in the 160-member choir. He was in the
center of the first row, carefully packaged between 4 girls on one
side, and two girls on the other side. He walked out like a little
gentleman, hands in the pockets of his dress pants. My Hillbilly
Mama said, "Oh, he's being so good." I wanted to say "Bite your
tongue, Woman! He is freakin' walking across the gym!"
The choir sat on the risers, three rows high. My boy sat down. He
was good for the first song. But wait! There were still 6 songs left,
and in between, 4 acts of the Frosty-the-Snowman play that some
good kids got to perform.
He couldn't see the play from where he was sitting. I'm sure he was
just bored. He must be gifted, you know, and have a short attention
span. Yeah, that's the problem. The little girl on his right had on a
long Christmas dress. He put his shoe on the bottom. She gathered
it up and pulled it around her legs. He lifted it up and poked at her
shoes. She gave him the cold shoulder.
He pulled up his pant legs past the knee one by one. He pulled up
his black socks to his knees. He admired them. He put his pant legs
back down. Time for a song. He gave the girl on his right the bunny
ears. He gave the girl on his left the bunny ears. He gave them both
the bunny ears at once. Talented, that boy of mine. His dad was a
giving him the "stop it" sign, like how an umpire spreads out his arms
to say "safe." I frowned and shook my head. Oh, he saw us. The
giveaway was that little grin. A grin that said, "Oh, but the night is
mine, Mother and Father, for you can not come out here and spank
my butt. There is a musical program in progress, you see. And I
am the center of attention."
A fifth-grade teacher was sitting next to HH. She laughed. She
thought it was hilarious. Because she knows she is safe for 3 more
years. The choir sat down again. My boy picked at some dried
Silly String on the plastic liner put down on the gym floor. It was
left from a senior class 3 years ago who did not obey the principal's
command of "No Silly String. It will ruin our brand-new gym floor
liner." The custodians struggled for a week to remove the petrified
string. They tried every cleaner imaginable. Silly custodians! All
they had to do was bring in a crew of 2nd-graders and say, "Now,
don't touch that Silly String! It is dangerous."
My boy began to kick his foot. Because he was wearing his
"churchy shoes," the Wal-mart slip-on loafers. His right shoe
went sailing through the air, and crashed to the floor about 15
feet away. Good thing the teacher was about 20 feet away. He
got up to get it. He karate chopped himself in the genital region.
He opened his mouth really wide and rolled his eyes. On the next
song, he kicked his feet, kind of like a chorus line dancer, only
not as high. "He's just dancing with the music," said HH. "He's
trying to kick off his shoe again!" I told him. Man! Men can be
Song over. Another act of the play. By now, he was running out
of steam. He picked his nose. With both hands. He got the girl
on his right to pick at the Silly String. Mercifully, it ended. He
looked a bit worried. HH went to retrieve him. My boy's teacher
told HH: "He's improving." EEEEeeeeee!
My boy swaggered over and said, "I'll take m'GameBoy now."
"Uh, no, you won't. You can not have it back until the weekend."
That did not go over well. He decided to be a holy terror on the
way home. Everything was: "Well, I would have, but since I can't
have my GameBoy..." He even got his Little Bear taken away.
"Didn't you see us telling you to stop acting up?"
"No. I saw Dad make this sign." He demonstrated it perfectly.
"Then why didn't you stop?"
SIGH. "Uh...the sign for 'stop it' is this." He acted as if he was
explaining it to a 2-year-old. He made a chopping motion with
one hand onto the other. The International Sign Language sign.
Darn those teachers for teaching my kid this stuff!
He apoligized just before bed, so I relented on the bear. But the
GameBoy is mine! Until Friday evening.