Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Mount Olive Christmas Pageant

Last Sunday, our church put on a little Christmas pageant after mass. It was one of those productions where everybody heads downstairs to the "fellowship hall" after church is over and munches a variety of Lutheran goodies...while the kids re-enact the Nativity. This always proves to be an amusing event for everyone. I knew that going in. However, I said a little prayer during church that the "amusing" part of the event would not be brought on by my children. (Julia, after all, was playing an angel! That's a good omen, right?) Unfortunately, I was interrupted mid-petition by a hungry 18 month old, wanting to munch the rest of her banana. I never finished my prayer. I should have.

The pageant started with the a prayer. When Pastor was finished, he said, "I have been told that we need to get things rolling. Some of the little angels are getting a little antsy."

Seconds later, there were kids marching in, two by two, to "Away in a Manger." It was cute. They had costumes...some camels, a sheep, a cow, a thing with horns (reindeer? Goat? Bull? ) Mary, Joseph, shepherds, three wise men, and a few little girls wearing the white "altar boy" outfits with halos on their heads...aka angels. Everyone looked picture-perfect. Except where was Julia? She was supposed to be in the crowd of angels. Did I miss her? She is the shortest one here....

Wait. A few seconds after I noticed my missing daughter, she came rushing in, holding the hand of the "director," being coerced to walk up to the stage. Instead of the neatly combed blonde hair in pigtails that her papa had prepared that morning, Julia's hair was a voluminous rat's nest. Somewhere in it was a tinsel halo, tangled among the sticky strands of blonde with remnants of the five packages of gummi bears she had probably been eating before the show...to keep her busy, of course. When she saw the stage, she broke out in a full run, eager to get the show going.

The first few minutes went well. Julia stood as still as, well, an angel...while they read a few verses from Luke's gospel. The handbells played. The kids stood up again when the bells were done and resumed their roles. Except by this time, the novelty of the situation was clearly over. Julia started getting antsy. She sat, she stood, she spun around in circles on her butt. After the novelty of *that* was over, she walked away from her crowd of angels and stood right in front of Mary. (Not our Mary, but the girl who was playing the actual Mary, standing next to Joseph and the baby Jesus.) Mary, who was being played by a shy, very well-behaved ten-year-old, suddenly was shuffling on her feet like she was stumbling. What was Julia doing? Was I imagining this?

No. I was not imagining it. Julia was carefully scooting Mary backward toward the back of the stage. She wanted Mary's spot. My eyes grew big in horror as I rememberd something Julia had said during rehearsal:

"Mommy, I am sick of being an angel. This is boring. I want to be Mary!"

Oh dear. She was trying to live out her aspirations by eliminating her competition. Julia was trying to knock Mary, the mother of Jesus, right of the stage!

I remembered that prayer that I never finished.

Thankfully, Mary had to leave her post and read a few lines at the lone microphone across the room. When she moved away from her spot, Julia stood there and grinned like she had won the prize. The manger was HERS! Also fortunately, if you haven't noticed, Julia gets bored with things rather quickly. Soon after she had achieved her prestigious position, she grew tired of standing next tp Joseph and simply jumped off of the back of the stage herself.

At this point, Mary, our Mary...not the girl playing the Blessed Mother... decided to take matters into her own hands. Mary notices everything....even when her sister ditches the Christmas play off the back of stage. Over the hush of the nativity, she shouted, "DOOOO-UH, DOOOO-UH!" (Translation: JULIA, JULIA) Mary was no longer content munching on christmas cookies. She wanted to get up there and be part of the show. Mike tried to stop her initially, but I told him to just let her go up there. Perhaps she could talk some sense in to our little "angel."

This proved to be a very good idea. Not because Mary saved the day, but because Papa was now free to collect The Three-Year-Old and put her back in her place onstage before she knocked down the ten foot high wooden star display that probably weighed about thirty pounds. We saw the stars began to quiver...and before I had the chance to sic Mike on Julia, he was already backstage, steadying the heavy star tower....and probably preventing a call to 911 on a Sunday morning and some horrifying nativity bloodshed...


Although hesitant at first, Mary approached the stage and climbed right up. No costume and in a bright red dress, she took center stage and tried to act like she knew what was going on. When it came time to sing, Mary smiled. I could read her mind. "I know how to sing! I do that at home all the time!" She "sang" with the christmas carols, loudly and clearly, just like we do in the car: "Bum Bum Bum Bum Bum." Now THAT was cute. People went "ohhhh cute!" Mary glowed. She continued "Bum Bum Bum-ing" a little bit after the songs were over. She actually lasted about half of the pageant up there.

Meanwhile, her sister was able to remain on stage, now fascinated by a bale of straw. Phew. There was plenty of straw there for Julia to pick at over a period of ten minutes. Except for some additional flopping around onstage and obligatory showing of the crotch (why do little girls ALWAYS find it necessary to lift up their dresses in public?) We were in the clear. At the end of the pageant, Julia ran off the stage and crashed right into a pole. It's naptime!

Well, I guess all's well that ends well. And this ended well. The people of Mount Olive got their Christmas pageant. They witnessed beauty, cuteness, hilarity, a bit of danger, and even some nudity. All in all a good show. Next year, I bring the video camera.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fun is in the eye of the beholder

Today I was in the kitchen making soup and homemade bread. Julia loves to help out, and since the bread was now in the oven, she wanted to do something else. I was about to ask her to stir the soup when the phone rang. It was the electrician, with a follow-up call. (He came over yesterday to replace a bad outlet upstairs....one day it was fine, the next day it was black and stinky.....) Anyways the electrician told me I needed to unplug any and all of my space heaters for fear that our house would burn down. I must have sounded rather distraught at the mere thought of losing my beloved Heat Machine, because both the electrician and Julia caught on to the note of helplessness in my voice. The electrician told me he wanted to rewire our house and put a special circuit in just for space heaters. While he was waiting to hear my response, Julia, who was still in "help mommy" mode, shouts proudly:


oh dear.

The electrician laughs. "Been a long day, honey?" He says. I turned beet-red. Not only does he know that I am an idiot when it comes to anything with current, he now thinks that I am PREGNANT booze hound! I got him off the phone by telling him there was someone at the door. Oh dear. I should have said that the liquor store was closing soon and I needed to make a Beer Run before six o'clock rolls around. I might need to find a new electrician.

And I need to tell Mike to stop leaving the Captain Morgan out in plain sight. Miss Julia knows what it is, and she also thinks that it goes right between the 1% and the butter on the dining room table.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We've been busy.

Oops. Sorry it's been a month since I posted to this beloved blog. There are many excuses I can think of. And some of them are legitimate, while some are of the "there is no excuse for that" variety. I really am sorry...but before I spend the next few days expounding on many of the details as to why I decided I was too busy to post anything up here, I would like to introduce you to somebody:

(sex unknown. nickname courtesy of your older sisters)
ETA: 3.26.10
(alien-baby picture) actually, the little circle is the lens of the eye
Actually, I think he or she looks kinda like a pirate. Ahoy maytee!

Helloooooo out there!

Good excuse, huh?