Stage Mom

In three days, the curtain will go up on the 5th grade play–The Jungle Book– with my son Andrew playing Mowgli. How could I not be proud on such a wonderful occasion?! His first audition ever and he gets the lead in the show! I’ve done my best to contain my excitement and not to go all Beverly Goldberg on him. It hasn’t been easy. I realize that I am a little bit like that dreaded stage mom. After we found out he had the lead, I worried over how he would learn 40 plus lines in a little over a month, plus the songs and the choreography. He never had to memorize much more than a list of spelling words before. How was he going to pull this off? “Do you know your lines?” I asked each night. “Yes, Mom,” he said with the occasional eye roll. “I’m here to go over them with you if you want, sweetie,” I said casually. Inside my mind was racing…dying to know how far he got in learning his lines. “Okay!” he replied, but he never asked me to read with him. Not once. I decided not to push it. During one parent meeting, I took the music teacher aside to ask him how Andrew was doing. Should I push harder to read with him? Does he need more practice? What can I do to help him? He assured me Andrew was doing fine and he wasn’t worried about him one bit. Easy for him to say. It’s not his kid going up there. About a week later, Andrew’s spring allergies kicked in big time. His watery eyes turned into a terrible runny nose and eventually a croop-like cough and then laryngitis. That’s right. LARYNGITIS! My kid can’t have laryngitis. I’m sure you know where this is going. I made a sick visit with his allergist the very next day. I have had a few other stage mom moments. I almost lost it on my husband when he innocently suggested taking Andrew for a haircut. Was he joking? Mowgli doesn’t have a crew cut! Andrew’s hair has to be long and messy as if he actually lived in the jungle. And then there was the time when Andrew told me play practice was fun, but he told me how he wasn’t sure if he could actually get up on stage and play his part in front of the entire school. I took a deep breath and told him it was a little too late to worry about that. But then, there was the final straw. One minute Andrew was standing at the kitchen counter looking at a Minecraft video on his phone. The next minute, he was on the floor in tears holding his leg after tripping over the dishwasher door which was open. I admit that my first thought was not the typical “Is he ok?” It was more like: “WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?! ANDREW, GET UP! THE SCHOOL PLAY IS NEXT WEEK! YOU CAN’T BE MOWGLI WITH A BROKEN LEG. CAN YOU GET UP? CAN YOU WALK?!” And then after a brief moment of silence I added, “I mean…Are you okay?” Luckily, he is fine. I just need to keep him in a bubble for the next 72 hours. A bubble that will protect him from sickness and/or injury. Did I mention he has no understudy? I want him to do well. I want him to enjoy himself. And okay yes, I want to see his adorable face shine on the stage. This may be my only chance. Who knows if he will ever want to be in a play again and Broadway isn’t exactly knocking on our door-yet.

Creative Problem Solving

Every Sunday night, I look at the calendar to compare kids’ schedules and find that magical balance again between career and family. Currently, my life feels like one giant and sadistic word problem which I am required to solve on a daily basis. Here is today’s word problem: Child A and Child B had the 4 pm slot reserved at the dentist to get their teeth cleaned. Last week, Child B’s appointment had to be rescheduled until June due to an entire month’s worth of play rehearsals. Child A’s appointment was cancelled first thing this morning once I realized she had a track meet this afternoon. In the meantime, Child B is supposed to report to his baseball game exactly 15 minutes after play practice is over–leaving me less than 10 minutes to prepare dinner and commute to the game in rush hour traffic. Oh by the way, Child A & B have two parents who work outside of the home and have limited time to do the important things like making sure baseball uniforms and track suits are clean. Here are some questions to solve:

  • How is Child A getting home from her track meet which ends at the precise time that Child B is being dismissed from play practice?
  • What can Child B possibly eat that is healthy and nutritious on the car ride from school to the baseball field? Sub-question – What is Child A having for dinner while both parents are at the baseball game?
  • What is the probability that I will be able to get simultaneous dentist appointments for Child A & B before the school year ends?
  • How long before my head explodes?

I must “kvell” for a minute as I tell you I received high marks in creative problem solving today. If you haven’t figured out the answers yet, times up! Here is your answer key:

  • A newly minted driver in our neighborhood was more than willing and extremely kind enough to pick up Child A from track practice and bring her home. I trust her completely and in my time of need she became my saving grace. I’ll be calling her again soon.
  • Child B ate chicken nuggets from a Ziploc bag on the way to the baseball game. The orange peels on the floor of my car prove he polished off something nutritious as well. EXTRA CREDIT POINTS!: Child A found a Lean Cuisine in the freezer. Good enough!
  • Child A & B are miraculously scheduled for dentist appointments in early June at the same time. I’ll have to pick them both up from school early, but they aren’t learning much at school in June anyway. (Just say a prayer there isn’t an 8th grade picnic that day…)
  • I felt pretty good about the outcome of this crazy Monday. I kept my cool and felt I had everything under control….until I turned the page to Tuesday. Cue the head explosion!

Is it Friday yet?

Password Amnesia

I have a pretty good memory for where I put my keys and my shoes. I was born with a great sense of direction and I can typically remember where someone lives without using the GPS. But when it comes to remembering passwords, I am literally at a loss for words. Words, letters, numbers, symbols… I have no idea what order I put them in. Did I use I an ampersand or an asterisk for my Barnes & Noble account? Which of my three common password phrases did I decide on for my WordPress login? I’m pretty sure I used my house number or maybe it was my favorite number and then a left parenthesis. No wait, I think I used my nephew’s birthday. As you can imagine, I reset my passwords often which of course leaves me with no chance of ever remembering the current and correct password for any account I own. My personal pet peeve is when a website tells me my password isn’t strong enough. Oh come on! I used a capital letter and at least one number! I tend to settle for the garden variety medium strength password because anything stronger than that causes my amnesia to flare up drastically. I’m not a complete lost cause. I know the passwords to my laptop, my work computer and my Facebook page. Heaven forbid I get locked out of my Facebook page! I remember my copier code at work and the login to a database I use almost daily. I can type in my ATM pin number and my iPhone password without having to think twice. It’s only when I need to access websites I don’t use as often that I run into trouble. I check the “remember me” box all the time but that only works when I’m on my own computer. Can someone invent an algorithm for all computers and laptops to remember my password when I type in my username? How hard can it be? I have to give a lot of kudos to the “genius” at the Apple store who exhibited an enormous amount of patience and showed no eye-rolling as he tried to help me log in to the App Store on my iPhone. Of course, I had locked myself out of it a few months ago. Why? The password I kept using was incorrect and I had registered too many failed attempts. This prompted my phone to ask me security questions I used to know the answers to. At one point, the “genius” thought it would be a good idea to change my password and he asked me to log in to my Yahoo account to retrieve the Apple change password link. You know where this is going, right? As he pushed his fancy laptop toward me, I started to panic and had to declare password amnesia. I gave him permission to talk about me to his fellow geniuses after I left the premises. Thankfully, I was already logged into my Yahoo account on my iPhone. I changed my password and then was scared to death I’d forget it while sitting there. When I couldn’t find a pen or pencil, he directed me to the Notes section on my phone which I thought was a brilliant idea. I wonder if there is any way to put a password on my Notes section. A password I will surely forget almost instantly and the cycle of forgetfulness will begin again. How do you remember all of your passwords?  

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