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Monday, April 21, 2008  

Closing Night

M. Small's last show was this evening.

One of the things that has always amazed us about M. Small's day care is that the day care lady periodically helps the kids put on "shows," right there in her living room. Since the oldest member of any given cast is never more than four years old and change, you can imagine that they tend to be rather chaotic affairs.

M. Small's first performance was when he was about six months old, and his "part" in the day care Easter show was to sit in his Excersaucer and stare around gormlessly while the other kids sort of sang a few songs and the day care lady put different hats on him.

As he's gotten older, the demands placed on him by the scripts of these shows have grown appropriately more complex. Soon he was expected to stand up on his own, and then even join in on the singing. Eventually Trash and I started being able to figure out what songs would be in the show based on what M. Small was singing around the house in the weeks leading up to them. But that never stopped us from being amazed by the elaborate costumes she comes up with. For the last Christmas show, she literally had him dressed up like an excavator.

The problem is that for the last few shows, things haven't gone all that well. The kids rehearse for weeks or months, the DCL slaves away at the costumes, and then, come the evening that all the grandparents and parents are packed into the living room on toddler chairs, one of the kids starts freaking out and the spooked vibe spreads among the kids like panic through a herd of cattle, and the next thing you know, everyone's crying and frustrated and the show's over. Alas, for a couple of times there, the kid who freaked out was ours. I've got a couple of videos where I'm panning back and forth between the actual show and a wailing M. Small trying to climb into his mom's lap.

This show actually got all the way to the end, however. In addition to M. Small, the DCL is also responsible for K, a four-year-old girl; J, a three-year-old a few months younger than M. Small, and Baby-O, a baby. So putting together a performance of The Wizard of Oz required some creative casting.

I wish I could figure out how to put up video, because what I shot was nothing less than a sweded version of the 1939 classic. K. opened with a truncated solo of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." DCL dropped a toy house on a witch doll. Baby O was rolled out in M. Small's old Excersaucer, Glinda the Good Witch recast as a crippled Bond villain waving a homemade wand around while DCL recited her lines for her. K. walked around some yellow blocks arranged on the floor. J. came out and with much coaching, managed to sort of say "I wish I had a brain. Mommy it's raining!" before K. took the stick representing his pole off his back. M. Small came out, not crying but grinning shyly, sporting a silver snowsuit and an aluminum hat. He was supposed to say, "Oil…can" through frozen lips, but instead he came over and quietly hugged me in an egregious violation of both the fourth wall and his character's alleged lack of a heart, not that I'm complaining about either one. Things kind of got a little confused after that -- the toy witch was pulled out again and then hidden away with a plaintive "I'm melting!," M. Small and J. were presented with symbolic pins (as was the stuffed toy playing the part of the lion), K. wobbled her feet, and there was no place like home.

I'm glad that M. Small finally had a good show after all this time. Today was actually K.'s last day at this day care; she's four now, so she's moving on. That means M. Small is finally the oldest kid there. It doesn't seem so long ago that he was literally the baby of the group, and now he's two weeks away from starting Montessori. I don't think they have shows there.

Anyway, like I said, I just wish I had a way to put up some video from our camcorder right now, instead of knowing that I'm either going to have to go out and buy some kind of adapter or cram that mini-casette into the floppy drive and hope for the best. I never thought I'd regret not having to record the show in fifteen-second snippets on my cell phone, but here we are.

posted by M. Giant 8:30 PM 6 comments

6 Comments:

Don't fret! They put on an excellent show every year for the 6 years my kid was in a Montessori school.

By Anonymous Sarah, at April 22, 2008 at 6:53 AM  

Your DCL sounds pretty awesome. Being able to manage that many kids at one time is challenging enough; but working with them to put on a show periodically is amazing.

My 3 year old is getting ready to leave the comfortable confines of her DCL for more of an "industrial" day care, and I'm a little scared. So I'm reading your tales of transitioning in earnest.

By Anonymous lg2823, at April 22, 2008 at 7:46 AM  

The preschoolers at my 3-year-old's Montessori school had two songs to sing at a recent school function. Did. Not. Happen. Bad audio, plus a few kids having access to the microphone and using it to broadcast the words "butt" and "fart," which were met with hysterics. (Yes, I was probably the only parent laughing.)

Montessori is FANTASTIC, though. My daughter comes home talking about stuff I never thought I'd hear come out of her mouth -- she talked a lot about MLK back in January. Now it's recycling, pollution, planting flowers, etc. Good stuff. M. Small will do great.

By Anonymous Vanessa, at April 22, 2008 at 10:33 AM  

LOL! That show sounds awesome!

Re: the camera- I just bought a cable that goes from the camera to my firewire/IEEE 1394 slot in my computer. I've got one with the miniDVs/cassettes, too.

By Blogger Auburn Tiger, at April 22, 2008 at 3:52 PM  

Your DCL sounds just a wee bit nuts to me. But, you know, in a good way. Nuts can be a good thing when it comes to dealing with groups of very small children.

By Blogger Jen, at April 23, 2008 at 8:30 AM  

Thought of this post after I just spent three hours last night at my child's Montessori elementary school Shakespeare Festival. First graders reading Sonnets. Second Graders doing Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet for the older crowd. Don't worry, you will have lots and lots of programs! Lots of Drama!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 2, 2008 at 2:07 PM  

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