The Christmas show that will never be

Last night Jason and I took the children to visit their great Granny, Jason’s lovely elderly grandmother. She’s in her nineties and lives alone, so we spent an hour entertaining her with visits to the potty and random facts about dragons.

While we were there, I asked the children to sing Granny a song. Growing up, my folks were constantly putting us on the spot to sing with my father, at parties, at the Grange, at church, around the piano on any given Sunday–it’s just the Valentine way. Naturally, my children must have come to earth knowing that this is something we do, right?

Our version of Rudolph included Harrison standing straight and tall, singing his heart out, while June (3) ran circles around him and stood on her head, and Rex (5) hid behind a chair. We were a Christmas musical catastrophe.

I have failed my children.

Today the kids and I spent the morning shopping for Jason and talking about their musical future. Starting small, I suggested that we put a “show” on for all of Rex’s animals. Hey, I’m not an idiot; we’re light years away from warm bodies.

They talked it up and practiced in the car. When we got home Rex ran straight for the playroom to round up his gang. He came up and started placing them strategically on the couch so we could have our “Animal Africa Christmas Show”. Harrison sat down to practice the piano, and Rex freaked out.

“NO!!! We’re not ready! You can’t play it until we’re ready!!!” I tried to explain it to him, but it was too upsetting so I suggested he take a time-out and calm down. It worked, but only temporarily.

I am too tired to tell you how the rest of the afternoon went. Suffice it to say that for an entire hour our scattered practice was peppered with frequent panic attacks by Rex (so much pressure), frequent torments by June (name calling, animal stealing, etc.), frequent blow-outs by Georgia (seriously?) and frequent trips to hide in the bathroom by me.

One day down and I’ve decided that if we give musical performance practice ten minutes a day, at least three times a week, they might actually learn to stand and sing without spontaneously combusting. I think.


  1. Oh the pressure of being in a musical family. I know it well—as I’m still called on last minute to come perform or accompany. Good luck to your children 🙂

  2. I’d be willing to be that Granny was thrilled w/ the performance. Hey, she had kids too! And Georgie had to get in on the act somehow, right? It was just the only way she could think of on such short notice. tee,hee,hee (sorry, couldn’t help myself)

  3. If it makes you feel any better, I wasn’t allowed to sing when I was little. Not because I had mean parents who hated music. No, just big brothers who’s idea of singing “Silent Night” was just that. Silent. As in the absence of sound kind of silent. 🙂

    And just so you know – I love my brothers and I blame them for everything! teeheehee

  4. I know this must be sheer TORTURE for you Annie. My own daughter loathes any type of performing. (Uh, hello? Do you NOT know that your parents are recovering performance-junkies?!) Why, my own kid started to feel sick and seriously bolted from her piano recital just this year. For those of us who thrive (instead pass-out) on being performers this is just a language I cannot understand. I’m trying to be sure I don’t treat my own child like a performing monkey like my own father did. Hang in there Annie.

  5. WWBJD? (What Would Baby Jesus Do?)

  6. Your everyday life cracks me up!

  7. We went Christmas caroling last night, and our son David sang with us for the first time in his life. He’s 23. All it took was for him to fall head over heels in love with an opera singer, who was also caroling with us. Maybe your kids will do the same!

  8. I’m giggling at DeNae’s comment. I considered caroling this year, but several things stopped me. 1) Superman does NOT sing. Well, he sings but not well. Like, at ALL. 2) Spiderman sings, but only knows the “Batman” lyrics to jingle bells. 3) Hulk doesn’t sing. He’d stand there and pick his nose. And lastly, Miss Marvel is having a ghastly time cutting teeth. I don’t think standing out in the cold would bode her well.

  9. I don’t know if it will work or not. The best thing I have found is simply time. (oh yeah, don’t forget bribery) I am guilty of using both.

  10. Oh my heck, you’re such a cute mom! I wish I was one of your kids.