Last Saturday night marked Lil’ K.’s indoctrination into the world of Lycra, bobby pins, and public performance. Her very first ballet recital reeked of a Dance Moms episode but with less money, make-up, and maternal rage. The drama ran about the same as I predicted it would here and here.
Parks and Rec Ballet Recital Day in my town begins with a dress rehearsal the morning of the Big Night. This gives all the moms a chance to practice the curling and pinning necessary for this momentous event as well as give tragedy the opportunity to strike as it almost did us in the form of our beloved crackhead beagle. Lil’ K. was sporting an amazing array of boing-boing curls and shiny new pink tights as I carried her to her car seat for safe keeping. I had already strapped Lil’ P. in when I noticed that a green booger the size of Utah had suddenly taken up residence on his face. I quickly headed around to the front seat of my truck, dug through carefully poofed costume and hair accoutrements, and produced a pack of Boogie Wipes. I flarked up and left the front truck door open as I hurried around the other side to get rid of the growing gob. As Lil’ P. pitched a royal fit, shaking his head and booger everywhere because he likes to keep his nose creations on display, I noticed the crackhead dog jumping up into the front seat onto the sacred ballet costume with muddy feet. I swore at her so loudly that the earth shook.
“Don’t say that, Mama,” said Lil’ K.
“Sum bit, sum bit, sum bit,” Lil’ P. cried from behind the wipe which I still had attached to his booger.
The damn dog attempted to snatch and run with a ballet shoe, but the open ballet bag gave way and spilled combs, extra tights, shoes, and bobby pins all over the floor of the truck and the ground. With aerial precision that would have rivaled a Barnum and Bailey production, I dove over the seat, placing my now-booger covered body between the dog and the costume. I yanked the ballet shoe back to safety and snarled at Crackhead with such alpha dog viciousness that she took off with her tail between her legs.
I then found myself stuck. With both feet in my children’s face and my ass wedged in between the two front seats, I realized, with great regret, that pin curling practice had stressed me to the point that I had eaten about a half-dozen cookies the previous night. From my awkward vantage point, I surveyed the damage to the costume. With a sigh of relief—a small sigh, mind you, as I was too jammed to have room to draw a breath gusty enough to herald my gratitude to the Lycra gods—I noted that all dirt marks were on the inside of the costume. I wiped them off easily with a Boogie Wipe. The pink coating on the underside of the toe of Lil’ K.’s ballet shoe had peeled back slightly, but no one would notice.
“Thank you, God, thank you, God, thank you, God!” I said. I swear I thought I heard some Universal laughter in response. I’ve always suspected that God has an infinite sense of humor, and spastic mothers like myself must provide Him with hours of entertainment.
“Amen, amen, amen,” sang Lil’ P. from the backseat, cackling mightily. He must have thought I was saying the blessing, and he loves to insert his two cents at the end.
“Mama, your butt is up in the air,” noted Lil’ K. helpfully.
“Butt, butt, butt, poot!” howled Lil’ P.
“Mama, are you stuck?” asked Lil’ K., suddenly awash with touching concern. “How will we get to my ballet recital?”
“Mama will figure this out,” I told her. “She always manages to get us where we need to be, right?”
“Yeah, but your butt usually isn’t on the ceiling of the truck,” she pointed out.
“True dat!” I answered. Uncharacteristic grace had gotten me into this position, but I had a feeling that nothing short of screaming awkwardness would get me out. I tried humping the console to wiggle myself out, and that gave me enough leverage to grab the glove box handle. I rocked back and forth on my belly with such force that I flipped myself over and up, cracking my head against the light in the ceiling and knocking the dome loose. The center console groaned beneath my weight as my momentum carried me across Lil’ K.’s lap, out the door, and onto the ground. Oof.
“Nice one, Mama,” said Lil’ K.
Crackhead rushed over from whatever mudhole she’d been inhabiting since I swore at her and began licking my face. Apparently she’d been eating something dead near the mudhole. Delish.
I finally cleaned myself up enough to get to the rehearsal. Mrs. B., my daughter’s dance teacher, handed me the list of girls in her class and reminded me that I’d agreed to sit with all fifteen three- and four-year old girls and get them to the stage on time for their performance. I thought of the last hour of my existence and cackled. I looked at the row of girls in pink poof awaiting direction in their folding auditorium seats. One girl was lying prostrate on her seat, both feet up in the air and her coiffed head resting on the floor. Another child had folded herself up in the seat, both legs spread eagled. Still another was screaming because she had somehow wedged her legs behind the chair while rocking up and down on the folding seat. I heard Universal laughter all around this complete holy shit affair. Clearly, God was in for another howling good time at my expense. Come back tomorrow, and I’ll let you know what happens.