Ainsley is now a proud member of her school's drama club.
I was a little surprised that they opened it up to 1st graders, and more surprised when the kid wanted to join. The day we got the signup in her folder, she said she wanted to think about it. When I told her that being in drama club meant participating in the little productions her school does and actually, you know, talking to people, she made the decision to not do it. Then came the day of the first meeting, which happened to be a day there was no bus service due to the big blackout so I had to pick her up after school.
"Mommy, the drama club meeting is in room 3 instead of the cafeteria," she said.
"Oh, that's nice." I was trying to navigate through the line of cars from other parents picking up their kids.
"No, it's not nice! I want to be in there! I want to do drama!"
"But you told me the other day you didn't...remember, you have to get up in front of people and talk and sing and dance?"
She rolled her eyes. "I know! I want to do it now! Can I can I please please please?"
So I turned around in the faculty lot, dropped her right back off, and wondered how this kid, who will talk your ear off if she knows you and hams it up in front of family but who will not even make eye contact with the Wal-Mart greeter and who hides behind me whenever a teacher here at my school asks her a question, would want to do drama.
As the child of two former high school musical supporting players (not High School Musical with caps, mind you) I figured she might have it in her do drama eventually, but I didn't want to push it since right now she seems much shyer than Jason and I ever were. Oh, sure, she'll go around the house trying to sing like Sharpay and has a "Look at me!" attitude around our closest friends, but when she had to sing and dance a number with her fellow kindergartners in a school-wide show last year, she was petrified and did little but stand on the risers with her hand in her mouth.
But the burgeoning drama queen is already suffering some of the side effects of rehearsing for a show. Last night after her bath she started humming a little tune that I didn't recognize from Hannah Montana or High School Musical, which is unusual.
"Ahhhh!" she suddenly sighed, exasperated. "I've had drama club songs stuck in my head and I don't know why! How do I get songs out of my head?"
Oh, Ains, if I knew the answer to that I wouldn't have had the Charles in Charge theme song running through my head for the better part of a month after a friend made that a ring tone on her cell phone.
She must be having a good time, songs stuck in her noggin notwithstanding, because this morning while we were waiting for her bus to get to my school I spied her sitting on the end of a library table, legs crossed elegantly, old and broken microphone in hand, looking like a piano-lounge chanteuse perched on the edge of a baby grand.
She was singing something or other rather loudly until she realized my assistant and I had formed an amused audience back by the office. She then put her hand in her mouth and retreated behind a book shelf for her encore.
Let's hope that's not going to be her M.O. at the fall musical.
As parents, we want our kids to do the same things we did in school and to share our interests. I think we kinda want our kids to live out our dreams. It would be easy for me to push Ains into music and drama and want her to excel there and to go further with it than I did; I didn't have the guts or talent to move to L.A. or New York to pursue it (though one of my mom's well-meaning friends has always told me I would have made a great "soap opera actress"--gee, thanks, I think.) I would be thrilled if this were her dream, but I know I can't push my dreams on her. I love that some little part of her is loving the drama club, but if she wanders off stage with a red face in the middle of a number during a show, well, I'll be okay with that too. If she's happy, I'm happy.
And besides, I don't quite have it in me to be a stage mom.