September 11, 2015
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
The girls have begun Irish dancing lessons. This happened because neither of them wanted to do ballet, jazz, or tap again (they’ve each been dancing since the age of two) and their dad put his foot down when they asked about hip hop. Because I spent so many years in my pre-teen and teen years taking dance lessons, I really want the girls to take dance too. I don’t necessarily think they need to be professional dancers, but learning to dance helps a person learn to carry herself (or himself—guys should definitely dance too!)
So we went through our park district and decided to try Irish dancing. Anyone who has seen or remembers Riverdance knows how exciting and precise Irish dancing is. The girls are in the same Beginning Irish class, and their energetic teacher demonstrated for the parents in the beginning of the first class what an Irish kick looks like.
That was last week. This Wednesday the kids must have practiced some kicks because later as I cooked dinner Seven came into the kitchen.
“Guess what?” she asked in full dramatic glory. “Di-Di almost kicked me during Irish dancing!”
“Really?” I asked, trying to muster some excitement. The child stood in front of me injury free and she’d left dance class with a huge smile, so clearly she hadn’t gotten kicked.
“Yes! She was standing behind me,” she said, turning to the side and using her hands to gesture, “and with her mile-long legs, which are this long—” She held out her arms as wide as they would go to demonstrate. “—I thought she would kick me in the face.”
“Oh, wow,” I said, trying to maintain the minimal excitement.
“I know, right?” she asked.
For those of you who think you’ve got multi-tasking down to a science, let my younger child teach you a thing or two.
Since we’ve come back from Europe, Seven has struggled to sleep through the night. In the first few days immediately after the trip, she had to recover from the motion sickness during the first couple of days. Then she started waking up with stomachaches, which mystified us a little until we started tracking the pain and realized she probably suffered from a weird form of jet lag.
We also thought some of those stomachaches might come from anxiety about getting sick again.
Her system wasn’t the only thing keeping her up at night, however. She also suffered through a few nightmares. And some of them were really weird.
Last week as we sat at the table finishing dinner, Seven looked at me and said, “I hope I don’t have any scary dreams about lobsters or crabs tonight.”
Just to be clear, in her nightmares the lobsters and crabs were not hurting or eating her in any way. They just happened to be in the dreams. And some parts of the dreams were kind of funny. But she thought of them as nightmares, so I didn’t want to argue.
“Maybe you won’t have any dreams at all,” I said.
I saw the hint of an eye roll from her. “That would be boring.”
I didn’t quite understand. “Well, at least they wouldn’t be scary dreams.”
“No, dreaming is good,” she said. “I need something to entertain me while I’m sleeping.”
See? Multi-tasking. Enlisting entertainment even when she’s sleeping. Can you do that?
On Wednesday as Nine and I drove from her school to Seven’s school, Nine talked about the expectations in her school of the students. She protested the idea that she and her classmates had to live up to higher standards.
“Everyone expects the gifted kids to be extra good, but they don’t understand,” she said. “I mean, yes, we do higher level math, reading, and spelling. We could probably do your homework. But we’re just regular kids like everyone else!”
The struggle we all face. Human and extraordinary all at the same time.
This past summer the girls went to theater camp for a week, and at the end they joined the group in a performance of “The Wizard of Oz.” This particular adaptation of the play allowed six girls to share the role of Dorothy, but three of the six chosen girls decided they didn’t want to stand center stage. That left three girls to play Dorothy, and one of those girls was Nine. Interestingly enough, Nine seemed to settle into the role and the theater world pretty quickly and she got to spend most of her time on stage in the lead.
That afternoon after the end of the play, the director of the camp and the kids’ theater group encouraged us to sign Nine up for the camp this fall. We said we’d think about it, but by the end of the summer we’d already signed the kids up for dance, art, and music classes. The girls also do swimming lessons on the weekend, and this past spring they joined a free class where they’re learning to read and write Hindi. So we didn’t want to add one more thing to the schedule.
Two weeks ago, though, I got an email from the assistant director of the theater group. She said the director, Ms. K., had spent some time reviewing her lists of summer kids and specifically wanted Nine to audition for a chance to join the theater group this fall.
The email flattered me, but we had one small problem: we were in Chicago when I received the email. We’d gone there for the weekend for my husband’s conference, and we weren’t planning to drive back home until later Sunday afternoon. Which was when Ms. K. wanted Nine back in town for the audition.
I explained the circumstances to the assistant director, and she discussed it with Ms. K. They came to an agreement. If her dad and I didn’t mind, Nine could audition on the phone.
For those of you who enjoy shopping at Costco, let me tell you, it makes a fantastic audition location.
We knew approximately what time the assistant director would call, and we just happened to be standing in the checkout line at Costco when my cell rang. I pulled Nine to the side and let her talk (and eventually sing) on the phone. After that Nine gave me the phone, and the assistant director told me right then she wanted to offer Nine a spot in the theater group.
This coming Sunday Nine has her first rehearsal for the show that will go up the weekend before Thanksgiving. On Wednesday evening she went to her backpack to put her homework things away and came to me. She put her arms around my waist.
“I’m feeling nervous about Sunday,” she said.
I squeezed her tight and reminded her that she felt nervous about fourth grade and found herself in the middle of friends and a comfortable space on her very first day of school. She nodded, a grin crossing her face. I can see the excitement in her when she thinks and talks about the theater group. Even though it means we’ll have to delay our Thanksgiving travel plans by two days, I can’t wait to watch her go through this entire experience this fall. We just might have a budding stage star in our home!