We Will, We Will Quack You!

9 05 2008

Last night, I had an all-access backstage pass to one of the hottest shows in the city. It was a wild time. There was the typical behind the scenes drama of tired little girls who missed their moms demanding divas dripping with attitude, and restless boys with nothing better to do than clobber each other rock-star tough guys looking for trouble. There were hordes of parents aggressive photographers chasing down the stars, flashes firing at every turn. And the after party…oh man…I have not seen such hysterical neon creamsicle consumption substance abuse since 1998. Through the blur that was last night, I am slowly managing to pluck out little snippets of memories, moments I want to remember for the rest of my life. And behind those little mental vignettes runs the soundtrack of the night, the group’s opening musical number. A catchy tune that will be bouncing around in my brain for weeks to come. Quaaaaaaack quack quack quack quack! Quaaaaaaaack quack quack quack quack! In case you don’t recognize it, that infectious little ditty is ‘Ducks Like Rain’ as performed by Neener and Roo’s kindergarten class in the school spring concert.

My behind-the-scenes gig was helping wrangle a group of 40 little kids, as they waited as patiently as possible for their turn to take the stage at May Musical Magic. Some sadistic bastards  practical-minded folks decided that it would be best to put the kindergarten kids on very last, so that their parents wouldn’t try to leave early. What they did not take into account is that most of these kids are normally in bed before the time the concert ended. And, that keeping 40 five year olds – that’s two whole kindergarten classes – entertained in one room for an hour and a half is nearly as challenging as trying to get Guns n’ Roses (circa 1995) on stage and semi-sober, without a riot ensuing. But, with baby Squiggles snug in her carrier, and Neener and Roo all gussied up, I volunteered to help out while Mr. Blister suffered through sixth grade swing dances and recorder performances waited in the audience with the video camera. 

Once all the kids were in the room and all the parents were out, we set about keeping everyone occupied until the cue to get ready came. And what better way to keep a mob of kids quiet than with movies and chips. But after a bunch of kids, including Neener, were found hiding under tables, sufficiently terrorized by the action adventure flick some other sadistic bastard thoughtful parent brought in, it was clear that we’d need some other activities. So, I took the group that was scared senseless by the movie over to a quiet-ish corner and read stories until it was time to get into costume. It did not take forever, contrary to my belief at the time. Finally, the call came, and the teachers and I sprang into action, rounding up the tired, the nervous and the chip crumb covered children. I was put on duck duty, and in a matter of minutes, I had half the class transformed into little ducklings, while the other half got decked out in raincoats and boots. Then, it was time for my little girls and their classmates to get out there and wow the crowd. And wow the crowd they did. But not in that ‘Wow! Those kids are talented! They must have practiced so hard’ kind of way. No, that type of ‘wow’ was reserved for the other kindergarten class. The organized, calm, ‘good kid’ class, with relatively elaborate songs and costumes. The class who really had their act together. The ‘wow’ that Neener and Roo’s class drew was more like ‘Wow! Those kids managed to not fall off the stage, not tear down all the decorations, and not even come close to singing together and/or in tune!’ But they were still awesome.

They opened with the pre-recorded song “Ducks Like Rain”, blasted over the silence of several kids frozen like ducks in the spotlight  the sounds of a few very enthusiastic quackers. It was at some point during this number that Neener, dressed as a duck, turned her back on the crowd to give them a taste of the infamous Blister Family Butt Waggle dance. The second song, “The Rain Drop Song” accompanied by a piano, was where Roo tried to steal the sparkly decorations off the back wall spotlight while sporting the crummy blue raincoat provided for the kids whose parents didn’t bring in raincoats. And that’s not because I didn’t bring her nice yellow raincoat, but because, as she pointed out to me several times, raindrops are not yellow. They are blue. And she was a raindrop, dammit.

I have a long history of being on stage in a variety of capacities. Plays, public speaking, singing, and doing something that vaguely resembled dancing. Watching my daughters on stage is a bit of a test for me. I struggle to not be a stage mom, especially when I see my girls getting on stage to perform as I have done a million times before. I don’t want to be one of those mothers who harps on her kids about how much they should be rehearsing, or stands in the front row mouthing the words, or pushes them to pursue the centre of attention, the spotlight, at any cost. I don’t want to live vicariously through them. At the same time, if I see that being on stage is something they love the way I loved it, I want to support them, and share what I know to help them hone their skills. It is a delicate balance. Right now, their only real on-stage experience has been quacking and singing their little heads off, while doing the Butt Waggle Dance and stealing parts of the set in a raindrop costume. But I’m sure there will be many a performance to come. Who knows. Twenty years from now, they may find themselves on some other stage, doing the Butt Waggle Dance and stealing parts of the set Broadway. And where ever they are, whatever they are doing, I’ll be proud and I’ll be happy. As long as I get my backstage pass.  

 

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4 responses

9 05 2008
Jody

Hahahahahah…I am reading this at work and I just burst out laughing!! All I picture is Neener’s butt waggle (which is second to non) and Roo stealing sparkly props (she is a sparkle queen!).

9 05 2008
lastcrazyhorn

Oh I do not envy you . . . rofl

10 05 2008
nanny patterson

Look, all those kids are doing it wrong except my grand daughters! HAHAHA! I bet they were too cute. having done Tens and Tens of these kind of concerts with little kids ,I know that the butt waggle will be remembered by one and all. Wish I had been there.
Nanny

11 05 2008
Nana

We cannot wait to see the video. Hopefully someday soon we can be there to see a concert in person.

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