Monday, January 24, 2005

Cirque de Tun-A

They say that kids don't come with a handbook. This is very true. Part of the fun of my childbirth classes from yesteryear would be all the parting gifts we'd get at the end of every class. From cutting edge toys (Black and white was all the rage) to magazines and diapers, to services ranging from house cleaning to nanny care to lactation specialists -- everyone wanted a piece of our parent-to-be pie.

But once the little bundle of joy was safely delivered and the nurse hauled us down the elevator and wheeled us out the door, I thought I heard a far-off snicker and cheer, as if they stolen the playbook and left me to fend for myself.

Oh sure, I had the parental books. Having successfully completed the What to Expect When You're Expecting primer (and discovering many times during labor and delivery that what I was expecting wasn't even CLOSE), I segued into What to Expect the First Year. I'd look at the calendar, open the book, and then stare at TinyTuna, waiting for her to fulfill her prophecy.

I would have had better luck training a troupe of dancing monkeys.

Which, coincidentally, brings me to my point. None of these books really helped. None of them addressed the real issues of the day. And then, it hit me. As I walked into work this morning, the answer suddenly came to me.

I should have joined the circus.

Think I'm kidding? I'm not. Just think of all the practical skills the circus could help me in day-to-day living:

Activities this week includes acquiring jazz pants because they are very cool comfortable and practical, buying a new cake of violin rosin because the rosin formerly in the shape of a cake is now in the form of shards because it got stepped on (I didn't ask if she was rosining her bow on the floor. I decided not to go there), purchasing New York concert tickets, placing a deposit on dance recital outfits that have a 50/50 chance of fitting five months from now, plus the usual play rehearsals (Pooh!) , Homework (math and spelling!) , An Extra-Credit oral report prepared on Sign Language (signally!) , Laundry (socks!), Cleaning (behind!), Teaching (Higher! Faster! Louder!) Chores (Don't go there!), Pets (Fabio the Lucky got a clean cage!), Work (life interruptus!), Bills (postpone!), Exercise (Hah!) and Family (Hello My Name Is!)

Advanced juggling includes the dirty dish plate spinning championship, and juggling with torches (see cleaning and bills above)

More and more this has become my life. I'm working on the delicate balance of having your kids learn from the folly of their ways vs. not having them fail in school, dismember themselves, or do something incredibly stupid or embarrassing. It's knowing when to put up and when to shut up. It's being good cop and bad cop, and doing it in such a way that your kids won't walk all over you, hate your guts or be scared to breathe.

Realistically, I cannot complain here, because my only animal act is Fabio the Fabulous French angora rabbit. However, other family farms include HerMAN and HermO the Hermit Crabs (HermIE lasted a scant 24 hours before scuttling off to his heavenly reward), wots of wascally wabbits, dogs and cats. Previous animal acts have included mice, gerbils, fish, turtles, birds, and a caiman. And none of these could do any tricks, save the former purebred Scottie who could only manage to do tricks with Whiskers, the dreaded floppie-eared mutt up the road.

This is one of those times when I miss the old days. You know, those olden days when you took your Girl Scout Cookie sheet in hand and walked up and down the street pounding on doors and BEGGED, like all the rest of the scraggly neighborhood kids. Nowadays it isn't safe (and it's not), so it's a Girl Scout Cookie, Wrapping Paper, Popcorn, Cookie Dough, Dollar CandyBar, Candle, Poinsettia, Hanging Flower and other assorted Crap-a-rama at the office. Would you like a sucker with that...sucker?

This isn't about floppy shoes and a red ball nose. It's making them laugh when they're down, being the butt of many jokes, and as a finale, stuffing 957 bags of memories into the trunk of a compact car without it -- or you -- exploding.

It may be too late to teach an old Tuna new tricks, but if you're thinking of having kids, you should give the circus a try. If it doesn't work out, I'll be next door. My life is a zoo, and it's always easy to find me. I'm the one with the dancing monkeys.


Anonymous said...

See, even with your tongue-in-cheek circus analogy, you make me wish we had children of the non-furry variety.

Also, I'm an amateur cellist (18 years of lessons), and csn tell you - there's one brand of rosin that comes embedded in a balsa-wood cradle, so that the cake really can't shatter easily, even if you step on it.

It's a rectangular box with a slide-off top, and made by Super Sensitive, I think.

You know, for next time :)

Much respect.


bozoette said...

Having actually been a circus performer (clown and juggler) and a parent (child now grown), I can say with unwavering certainty that you hit the nail on the head! Just be careful not to catch those flaming torches on the wrong end...

Sarah said...

And, gadzooks! you even have time to blog. The Wonder Woman (as in, I wonder if I could ever do what she does with a sense of humor to boot).