Gigi has had quite enough of jazz band and orchestra performances this spring. While hanging up her dress from last night’s concert (in which Max had a couple of nicely played improvisational trumpet solos) I announced that she would have to choose another pretty dress for the concert tomorrow evening.
“What?!!! There’s another show we have to go to?” She crumples to floor, moaning and writhing in mock pain.
“Yes!” I say, with my best cheerful, breezy voice. “It’s going to be great! Chloe’s going to be in this concert too!”
Still moaning, “I don’t care if Chloe’s going to be in the show. I can’t handle it, Mommy.”
“Yes you can. I, for one, can’t wait to see it. Akash will be there,” I say with a taunting lift in my voice. “Now what dress should you wear?” (Genevieve has a slight crush on Akash, Max’s best friend who also plays trumpet. Akash is quite dashing and always benevolent, bestowing smiles and gentle pats on the head for my curious and smitten three-and-a-half year old. The start of a dark mustache forms a thin line over his top lip which inches upward as his entire face breaks into a wide grin.)
“I’m not wearing a dress. I’m going to wear one of my princess nighties.”
“I don’t think so, G.”
“Then I’ll wear my princess costume with the pink crown and my jewels,” she offers.
“Well, I don’t think that’s a good idea since we need to focus on all the musicians and their music. You’ll trip all over the hem of your ballroom gown…It will be hard to make your way up and down all the stairs in the auditorium. You could get hurt. It’s just not a good idea,” I counter.
“If you won’t let me wear my costume, I’m going to the concert with no clothes on! I’m going to go naked!!”
(Preposterous! As ridiculous visions of my naked three-year-old bouncing around the high school auditorium instantly flood my brain, I remain silent and calm. Best not to discuss this topic any further. Tomorrow night is a long way off and I am hopeful that given some time to herself to ponder the situation, Gigi will have a change of heart.)
As is often the case, however, Gigi will NOT let go of the topic at hand. Together, we must run this conversation into the ground. There will be tears by the end of the verbal challenge. I’m sure of it.
With a small quiver in her voice Gigi demands, “Where is a grandmother to babysit me?”
“Gigi, both of the grandmothers are back on the east coast…in New Jersey and New Hampshire. Besides, if one of them were visiting, they would surely go to see the performance. They love to watch Max and Chloe play trumpet. (Pause.) Do you want me to see if Jake’s older sister can babysit you?”
(Jake and his sisters live behind our house. Charlie and Gigi are enthralled with twelve-year-old Jake, who is always building something or hammering nails into wood in his backyard. His various projects are frequently observed by the two youngest Bollinger children from their vantage point on our back deck. I’m pretty sure Jake has a copy of the “Dangerous Book for Boys.” Jake’s two sisters have only been sighted a few times, entering or leaving the house.)
“No!” comes the emphatic reply to my suggestion. I suspect Gigi is trying to squeeze out a fake tear as she’s begun to scrunch up her face tightly. Her facial muscles contort wildly to enhance the overall drama of the moment and then she exclaims,
“Fine!” (This is Gig’s new thing… to emphatically utter “Fine” when she’s finally accepted whatever fate has been prescribed to her by her controlling parents.) “But we have to pack an activity backpack for the concert, Mom!” Gigi’s now finished with the facial straining and the production of pretend tears. She has wholeheartedly set her mind to the project of collecting items from the mass of toys and books grouped in small hillocks on her bedroom floor. She tosses first one item then another into her Dora backpack, a little girl already intent on making the proper preparations to get through the final concert of the season.
And now I ask of you, my Facebook family and friends: What would YOU put in Gigi’s “Activity Backpack?” Keep in mind, the auditorium is quite dark, no sounds can be made, no food is allowed…we CAN sneak out to the front loggia if we must.
Gigi and I anxiously await your suggestions.