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driving me nuts

I am trying to drum up excitement around here for taking our children to their first ever Nutcracker experience. A friend of ours has a child in a production, and that production has a school-day concert that's open to both school groups and home-schoolers. The whole thing is so severely discounted that the four of us could take the train into the city and see the show for a total outing cost of $60.

Dan is not as amazed by the "cheapness" of this as I am. When you don't really have any cash on hand, $60 is a lot more than zero (especially when we just told Harvey he could choose anything in the World Vision catalogue to give to a child in Africa, and he chose a $75 goat.) But it's THE NUTCRACKER.

There are certain things that are important to me because they are important, like faith, compassion, or environmentalism, and some things that are very important to me for no discernible reason. Taking my family to see the Nutcracker is one of those things. I have been dreaming of this since BEFORE I had children. I don't know what I imagine this will accomplish, starting an obscenely expensive holiday tradition, but the emotional side of my brain that does not respond to reason says that iT is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

Of course it doesn't have to be this year. It could be in many years to come, with a female child yet unborn, that I sit down in a darkening theater, and as the lights go down and the music swells a tiny hand squeezes mine, a tiny voice says "Oh, Mama! It's incredible!"

I asked Harvey if he wanted to ride the train into the city to see a dancing show. I explained that we would park the car at the train station, we would ride the train for a long time, then we would walk to a theatre. We'd sit in seats facing the stage. An orchestra would play music and people would come on the stage and dance. Harvey got very quiet and frightened. Then he asked if he could ride the train somewhere else. Maybe the Children's museum.

I showed him a video clip of The Nutcracker on You Tube. He asked if he could see another. I showed him another. He asked if he could see another. I asked if he wanted to go to the show to see the dancers close up. He shrunk back as if I was asking him if he'd like to be eaten by sharks. "I just like my iPad" he said.

There are two things at play here. One is: the more important something is to me the more Harvey relishes saying No. The second is that he can't respond to pressure. Even if I don't mean to, when something is important to me I put a pressure on my line of questioning. Harvey cannot respond to performance pressure of any kind. Really. If he's singing the alphabet and stops suddenly and I say, "What's the next letter Harvey?" he shrinks like I've pointed a gun at him. And don't ask him his name, strangers on the street, or what he's got there that he's eating. What are you trying to BREAK HIM? He CAN'T HANDLE THE ATTENTION!

What to do? Well, like everything else I convince myself that it's not really important. If it were important, like faith or compassion, I would drill it into Harvey a million times a day from every angle front back and sideways so I know there's no way he'll miss it. The Nutcracker is not really that important. It's just another thing I'd like to do. At this stage in my life I don't do anything without my kids, so if I want to do something I need to make them excited about it. And if they're not excited about it there's not a lot I can do. Put it on an imaginary shelf for later or never.

At the library this evening I was flipping through a Boston Parenting magazine and noticed a Nutcracker preview at the Discovery Museum this Saturday. Where we happen to be members. I threw the paper in front of Dan. "There!" I said. "Nutcracker this weekend, free. You can't beat FREE can you?"

I asked Harvey if he'd like to see the dancers AT THE CHILDREN'S MUESUM. He couldn't argue with that one.


LOL I LOVE it, Leah! God works in mysterious ways! The Nutcracker at the CHILDREN'S MUSEUM. Gotta love it. :-D (and I'll be praying that you, too, get your wish of a family-relishing-Nutcracker-tradition, too!) :-D

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