Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Action Beyond The Closed Door

I've spent the better part of my holidays with the #weeniece and #snotapods. I foolishly assumed winter -- and all its highly communicable plagues -- was responsible for the endless moist effluvia and mucus. Silly me. Nothing will induce a tidal wave of snot and tears faster than ...

Missing all the action.

The #weeniece is of an age where her most earnest desire is to be the actor -- in all its definitions.  Endless refrains of "Look at me, look at me," and "I want to show you something," inevitably result in a performance of caterwauling or convulsive dancing. After all, it's not about the quality of the action, it is about the attention. At this charming time in her life, there is no attention more satisfying than having the audience participate in her highly questionable deeds. Alas, I am old and slothful. My warbling and rump-shaking ends rather quickly with something popping or pulling. The #weeniece's performances end with the blissful parental bark, "Time for bed."

Let the waterworks begin...

The #snotapods look on from their gladiators' pen, chattering and chirring the unintelligible answers to cold fusion and the cures for all cancers. When the #weeniece disappears from the stage, they assume the mantle. Attempts to stand, to walk, to talk, or to play well together are met with grand applause from their audience.  Adults gracefully dodge the rolling wheels of the possessed plastic shopping cart. We catch hollow balls fired from a Fisher Price cannon. We laugh into our sleeves when they reenact squabbles from our childhoods. Yet, woe betide those who turn their back on the smallest entertainers.  Pudgy fingers grip the cage rails. Whines becomes wails. "Attica! Attica!"

"Sounds like somebody needs a nap," my sister coos. The #snotapods, unable to comprehend our monkey language, light up with great joy as they are swept into the arms of loving adults and carried away ... to bed. Dreaded bed. Cribs with high walls over which they can barely see. A dark room filled with the dulcet music of Mozart and Ronan Tynan. A room in which there is no audience, save each other. Beyond that infernal door they are certain, completely convinced, that the adults are traveling to the planet of teddy bears where warm bottles grow on trees. They bawl objections and kick their consternation. The #snotapods are convinced they are missing everything as we adults act up and act out.

All the action happens beyond the closed door.

They're not entirely wrong, of course. There are bottles. There is acting. Mostly, there is the deep slumber of the utterly exhausted.

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