All because I can't read a calendar. And I'm horrible at checking my email.
So as you may know...I push my kids to excel. They have to get good grades, participate in fine arts, and one athletic endeavor, even if it means you do chané turns in the goal for the entire soccer season (Tater). It's just something I believe in very strongly, that all of the kids started when they were three years old.
This always results in the "Christmas Crunch" which is the fine arts Superbowl.
Now, me being a stupid person who can't read a calendar, thought that everything would trickle in and culminate in the 'Big Giant Weekend' that would start with Tater's Santa Lucia show... Huhpuppy's holiday show...lead us in to Tater and the Nutcracker...and finish with all of us in the annual Christmas Music Festival. That's how I'd like it. Clothes ordered, everything done, and I just have to wait for my kids to have their moments and sparkle while I weep and take pictures.
But noooooo... I get this email on Sunday night from the director of the music festival letting me know that Small Fry now has an added solo...oh and did you know it's THIS weekend, and we are to be there promptly at 9am Saturday for a final run through.
This is when my diarrhea cramps start.
For two reasons...
1. The stuff I ordered is on a truck in Sacramento, CA. Not to get here until next Tuesday. Awesome.
2. Small Fry is a neurotic kid. She's just like me in that she's a perfectionist, and has to have a methodical, established routine because stage fright and nerves take over. Springing a solo on a kid like this is a recipe for disaster. These people have known her since the age of three and KNOW THIS. So why? Why freak this kid out? As you will read later in this post. Small Fry is usually my rock. I can't have her fritzing on me while the diva tornado known as her little sister is blowing through...
So I came up with my plan. I'll just have to go shopping for what I need, and send the stuff I ordered back when it gets here. Not that I have time for shopping or anything, but whatever. Of course this gets the requisite list of things from Tater that are acceptable to touch her body.
Must be shiny.
Must not be itchy.
Must look like a princess dress.
Must be a dress.
You have to cut the tags out when you get it.
Must not look like anything I have ever worn before.
Small Fry's dress must not look like mine.
And it goes on...and on...and on...
Yesterday, I had exactly 77 minutes free to accomplish this Christmas miracle. Hushpuppy is easy...red sweater, black pants. Small Fry is easy. 65 minutes left to make Tater happy.
I finally get to the checkout with minutes to spare, and OF course I get the super slow, super attentive to detail, overly chatty cashier. I wanted to yell at him that I would scan it myself...kind of in a hurry here...but it's Christmas, so I just bit the insides of my cheeks and nodded politely.
Dashed to my car, dialed up Fabio, told him to have the kids bundled and ready, I would drive by the house, load them in, and head to rehearsals.
Now the fun begins.
One of the back doors of my car is frozen shut, so they all have to file in on Hushpuppy's side. This can only be accomplished by beating the crap out of each other. Small Fry's nearly hysterical, because she's nervous about the solo, her ear monitors aren't working right (something I didn't even know until Sunday night, by the way) and she hates her sister for another Pizza Wednesday. I told her, that it was actually her father that wanted Pizza Wednesday again, so take it up with him.
"Awww...you just got served, yo!"
SHUT UP TATER.
I get them to rehearsals...I'm supposed to warm up with the string ensemble, too...so I send them off to their respective groups. Later, I watch them walk by as they head upstairs for a sound check, and Tater's skipping and twirling, not even caring about anything...Small Fry is stomping and has a look of hot death on her face...where is Hushpuppy?
I asked someone if they saw Hushpuppy walk by...
Shit. Now what.
So I go looking for him, and eventually find him upstairs engaging his teacher in one of his 'dissertations' on why he sings it "Rudolph the Nose Red Reindeer".
We call Hushpuppy the 'professor' because he will sit there and lecture you on bizarre topics for hours on end without taking a breath. The latest one I sat through was, "Why spiders don't pee."
I looked in on the sound check, and of course, Small Fry is having an existential crisis over EVERYTHING. She can't sing with the monitors. She can't sing without them. She can't sing with one earplug in. She can't sing with the house monitors. HER LIFE IS BEING RUINED. Her sister, always helping of course, is raising her hand and saying..."I'll do it! I'll do it right now! I don't get scared."
BUT YOU CAN'T SING AND YOU'RE STUPID AND I HATE YOU!!!
And there it is...the meltdown from Small Fry we've all been waiting for. In public. Awesome. I immediately go into, "Child, don't you do this during a sound check for the world to see," mode and walk up to grab her and take her to a bathroom, because we have our diva fits in private, thanks very much. Thanks for putting pressure on this kid, Madame Director!
I give Hushpuppy the point and stare down that he better shut his yap and join the group...then I give Tater the international sign for, "I will so kill you in a private moment." Once Small Fry sees me coming, her eyes get all wide, she apologizes to the director and snaps to attention.
Fear me. Which is hilarious, because I am absolutely the worst disciplinarian in history, I am literally all bark. There really isn't anything to fear except maybe the unknown.
We get through the rest of rehearsals and while I'm collecting my children, the director is giving Small Fry some final notes, and then sees me coming...and does that thing that I can't stand...talks to me through the kid while I'm standing right there. I HATE THAT. Just tell me what you need me to know. Don't talk to the kid and say, "Make sure your mom..." when I'm standing right there, then look at me like, "You got that?" HATE THAT. Yes, the kid is a headcase. Apple, tree and all that. Unlike me, we will conquer this stage fright thing, ok? Don't set me up by giving her only four days...
Is this night over yet? Hell no.
We have to go pick up the pizza. I leave the car running to go run in and grab it...all of 90 seconds...and return to the car to Small Fry handing her sister her ASS. Which yes, needs to happen. Small Fry is entirely too kindhearted a sister. And God only knows what Tater said to make her sister freak out. And we've already established that Small Fry is losing her mind from the self-imposed stress she's heaping on herself.
Tater can dish it out...but she cannot take it. She immediately bursts into tears and starts wailing, "Mommy! Mommy!" It's also to be noted that when this starts, Hushpuppy just looks out the window and starts talking to himself. He learned at a very young age to just let them kill each other.
I on the other hand, have had enough...so I do that thing we all do in this moment...and I start doing the 'Mom chop' into the back seat not caring who I hit, because all are guilty. I yell at Small Fry for being a spaz, Tater for being mean to the spaz, and upon seeing the 'Mom chop' heading his way Hushpuppy starts screaming, "Not me! Not me! I'm good! I kept my shirt on this week!"
We tried on all the new clothes, and everyone was satisfied. Until Tater pointed out to her brother that his sweater looked like a 'Bert and Ernie' sweater. Then Small Fry said that Tater should be one of the talking farm animals in tomorrow's play instead of Lussi. Now they'e screaming at each other across the dinner table... and thus it continues...my holiday madness.
None of this will matter starting tonight, when the first show happens, because I geek out watching my kids up there, and it makes every bit of this chaos totally worth it.