Tuesday evening we went to our grandson's pre-school Christmas program. It wasn't his first public appearance, but this was in a different church and in front of mostly strangers, rather than the crowd he's used to in his home church.
These "firsts" are really interesting now that I'm the grandmother. You never know what a kid is really like until they're in front of an audience. Like any bunch of kids, these were a smorgasbord of personalities from the toddlers on up to the five year old preschoolers.
Priming these innocents for a program begins at home, of course. Since our daughter and husband have four in ages six, four, two, and eight months, we went early (like mid-afternoon) to lend a helping hand in getting the family all pulled together to be there in time. Actually, Papa and I mostly did a little housekeeping, diapering, making a tomato soup and salad supper, and then cleaning all that up.
While we were getting supper on the table, Amy laid out goodies on the dining room table for teacher gifts. I'm not sure of the total number of gifts she had to put together for all the teachers encompassing church and school. Each of the three olders have a couple of Sunday School teachers, several Wednesday night church teachers because there's a lot of part-time sharing, and the first grader has a couple of teachers in public school. I'm out of breath just thinking about it! Amazingly, they got them done without eating all of the M & Ms.
Gone are the days when, with only a couple of kids, Amy baked up dozens of different kinds of cookies. She's learning the freedom of keeping things simple. I tell her once all of these babies are in school her time will be more her own again. From the look of her arched eyebrows I get the distinct impression she doesn't believe me. Or, perhaps she considers her sanity will be gone by then. Na, "you're going to be just fine, dear daughter."
But I digressed. Back to our grandson's first really public performance. I didn't think it was very nice that his teacher singled him out to complain that he hadn't talked to her this Fall, but at least she prefaced it with "Derek is soft-spoken," which was an understatement in a kind of flattering way.
Papa and I were wondering if he would be too shy to even walk onstage with the rest of his class. He looked really snazzy in black slacks, a crisp white shirt, a plaid red, white, and black vest, and red cowboy boots like his daddy always wears (altho' Daddy's aren't red). Oh, and I don't want to forget that he wore a black tie that peeked out the top of his vest. He enjoyed the compliments we all gave him before we left home.
He did really well, even singing the "Twelve Days of Christmas," in which a couple of students took their turn with each day--he and a buddy sang the 11th day together. The song got pretty long, and when he sat down in place I got to thinking that might not be a good sign. Finally, it was finished and it was announced the boys and some of the girls had to get their angel and shepherd attire on.
I got to wondering why Derek didn't leave the stage with the other little guys. Finally, one of the teachers noticed it too and escorted him out. When he didn't return with the other "shepherds," Papa looked at me and said, "bathroom." I wasn't sure because the teacher had made a point of mentioning Derek's name when she dismissed the boys to get their costumes on.
After that, it kind of fell apart. I'm assuming Derek refused to dress up like a shepherd 'cause he was dressed to the nines, and he wanted to keep it that way. The teacher came back with him, and had to pick him up and put him on stage. He promptly walked to the edge of the stage and sat down. Teacher put him back up. He walked to the risers and stepped down to the front row (2 rows ahead of us) and sat down like any other spectator. He was so deliberate about it all, so serious and "adult" about it, neither laughing or crying. Maybe in a few days he'll share with me what was going on in that towhead of his.
Through all this, his daddy was trying to get his attention to stay and stand, but Derek wasn't cooperating. Finally, his older sis, Alana, sat down with him on the front row and tried to talk him into returning to the program. Not even she could persuade him and finally gave up. In the meantime his class had finished the song and gotten off stage.
Now, the program was over, the stage empty. Except for one little four-year-old in red cowboy boots who had finally climbed back up the steps and looked ready for the next number. He finally came down with coaxing from his oldest AND younger sisters.
When everyone was trying to get Derek to stand with his class, his 2-yr. old sis fussed because she wanted to go up there and sing with him. She was ready to show him how it was done. It's going to be interesting next Christmas when she'll also be in pre-school.
The best of this, is that there's one more program to get through--the children's program at church this Sunday evening. We'll get to watch the three oldest shine. Last year Derek wasn't about to do anything, not even for his paternal grandmother whose class he was in. Nothing is going to keep me away from Sunday night's program unless I'm running a fever. Oops! pretend I didn't say that--don't want to jinx it).
Did I mention that it's so much more fun being a grandparent than a parent?