Right Here in River City

I don't know when it happened. I've become a person that has a hard time with transitions. I develop allergies. I get anxious. These reactions are predictable, but for the most part, unpreventable. So, when, in May, I looked ahead to a summer of no pre-school and very few structured activities, I started to sneeze a bit, as I tried to map out how we would spend our days out without going crazy. I'm just that way.

It is a relief, therefore, that I am no longer in transition. Summer is here. I still am working out activities and such, but we are here. No morning rush. More room to breathe.

Take for instance, Friday morning. As I was getting breakfast together, Rachel handed me the lyrics to Seventy-Six Trombones (The Music Man) that we had printed out a few days earlier and asked that I sing the song for her. I finished what I was doing and sang for her, as I read the lyrics in ridiculously tiny 5 point type. Then we all marched up and down the hallway singing the song.

While Hannah is still asking to watch or listen to Annie, Rachel has moved on and in my humble opinion, upwards. She has become a passionate fan of The Music Man.

We watched the play live when one of her little friends was in it a while back. Then my husband bought the music. This past Sunday, we rented the movie--the Robert Preston and Shirley Jones version. Ahhhh. Perfection. I adore this movie. It used to be a tradition in my family to watch it at least once when we came home for college vacations. I have to admit, it makes me little proud that Rachel loves it, too. Such mature taste we both have (tee-hee). After watching both the play and movie versions, Rachel's initial favorite scene was the romantic song on the footbridge. One time, she even literally sighed at the end of the scene. I would worry, but I was exactly the same way at her age. My uncle still tells the story of taking me, my sisters, and cousins to Snow White when we were kids. When he asked us what our favorite characters were, I answered, "the prince," while all the other kids called out a name of one of the dwarfs. I was so young, I didn't undestand my feelings to be romantic in any way. I was just really impressed by the guy--who sang a good song and seemed so darn nice. Rachel is at the same stage, experiencing romantic feelings without understanding them as romantic. But back to Music Man. Rachel now loves the final parade scene in the movie. Suddenly, she's interested in learning an instrument. So it's fun and good. And if she ends up coming home one day with a Robert Preston look-a-like, I'll just smile and try to shut up about it. It'll be hard, though. God, I love Robert Preston in this movie and I love Shirley Jones for loving him.

Later on that day, I was searching for something on my ipod and came across two versions of the song "From a Distance" (Bette Middler and The Byrds). We have a beautiful children's book, illustrating the lyrics to the song and Hannah likes it when I sing the song as we turn the pages. So, I put the song on, without giving Hannah a heads-up, and her eyes got wide. Without saying anything she ran upstairs and got the book and we must have listened to the song four times when turning the pages of the book. Then she held the book open in her hands like a prayer book, dancing, and Rachel and I danced a pseudo-tango together.

Afterwards I sat on the floor taking photos of the girls dancing around together to other music. Hannah, who has short hair, was upset that her pony tail wasn't as long as Rachel's. I watched as Rachel tried to explain to Hannah, in a sweet, kindly patronizing voice, that Hannah could let her hair grow and perhaps have long hair by her birthday. Hannah, who has a very limited sense of time and thinks her October birthday is right around the corner, listened and nodded, saying, "I want long hair for my birthday." When her Dad came home that evening she told him, "I want to get long hair for my birthday." And then she said, "I want to watch the "From a Distance" movie." Now we are constantly hearing her ask to go get her hair cut so she can get long hair.

We are making headway on the potty training. (This is the point where anyone who dislikes potty training talk can leave the room discretely.) Hannah is in love with her pull-ups and panties, keeps dry all day, and now.......drumroll.....actually pees in the potty, rather than holding it in all day and peeing in diapers in her bed four times before falling asleep. It was rough for a while though. For about a week, we struggled with her fear or peeing. Then one day, I threw the potty training story books away and started singing a song, with lots of hand gestures, about a girl named Hannah who was afraid of her pee, and how her Mama talked to her pee, wagging her finger sternly at it, and telling it it needed to come out. At the end of the song, Hannah isn't afraid of pee-pee anymore. Hannah latched on to this song and started requesting it. The funniest moment came when we were both tired of being in the bathroom. She was sitting on the potty seat. I was on the foor. She asked me to sing the song. When I came to the end of the song, I was singing something like "Pee-pee I'm not afraid of you!" (I change the lyrics slightly every time.) Hannah put her arms around me, started swaying back and forth with me in her arms while I sang. As I sang, "I'm not afraid of you anymore,.." she sang, "Yes, I am afraid." I started laughing and she laughed right along with me. We laughed and swayed together, giddy from exhaustion.

This week, she's peeing little bits into every public bathroom we come near. I'm constantly in and out of toilet stalls. But it's progress, baby. I'll take it.

And I'll take summer. Yes, I will. My very dear friend, Space, with have to take a back seat for a while. I'm having an affair with spontaneity again and it feels fine, in a dizzying sort of way.

(Which is probably why I can't seem to stick to my only-posting-on-Monday schedule anymore. That and being a Gemini. I may have to get back on schedule soon, but all bet's are off for a wee while.)