Tonight, our nighttime book was Fancy Nancy’s The Show Must Go On!
In it, Fancy Nancy and a lion-obsessed boy named Lionel must prepare for a talent show.
This sparked conversation with our pre-schooler and kindergartener about what a talent show actually entails.
So, I asked our daughter what her talent would be if she were in a talent show.
“Well, I really like art. I would do art,” she said.
“And I’m good at Batman stuff! I’m gonna be Batman!” our son added.
It had been decades since I thought about the first talent show I’d ever been in, and this seemed like a good time to talk about when mommy was in a talent show once- and the telling went like this:
” So. I was in the 2nd grade. Pretty much your age, a little older….
and back then, kids did things like square dance, or play chopsticks on the piano,
and I thought I was a really good roller skater so that’s what I did.
I remember practicing in our garage for weeks leading up to the talent show!
Way back then, we wore roller skates…and there were four wheels on each foot, but they weren’t in a straight line like the rollerblades you see today!
I totally did figure eights to that tape recorded song “It’s A Small World After All!” and roller-skated backward like this!”
The kids watched me as I moonwalked like a mildly suffering epileptic across their bedroom floor.
My husband laughed. So did the kids.
“BUT things didn’t go like I planned for them to!
On the day of the talent show, the whole auditorium was full of all the students in the school, the teachers and all the parents of the kids performing in the talent show!”
The kids were excited to hear the rest, and our daughter asked me what went wrong.
“Well, there was a part of the routine where I was supposed to skate on one foot with the other foot lifted up behind me as I skated across the stage…”
And, I did that motion (for the kids’ visual benefit) with my arms outstretched to my sides with my left leg lifted to the back as I looked at the audience of my family.
I was standing in front of them like a ballerina dancer but without the grace or flexibility.
“And, I remember skating across the stage like that, and looking out at the audience, and it was a sea of people! And, I saw my dad, your papa!
And, then I didn’t see anything anymore.”
The kids asked me why.
“Because I wasn’t paying attention and I skated behind the drawn curtain and unceremoniously crashed into the piano on the other side of the stage.”
I made crashing sounds to replicate the sound.
“What did you do, Momma?” our daughter asked.
“Well, I got up and skated out across the stage on my other leg, smiling like nothing happened.”
My hubby asked what my father did when I did that, and I told him that I remember asking him about it in my twenties and he said he just put his hand up to his face, like, “Oh My Gawd. That’s MY kid.”
That was second grade. Now, fast forward nearly 30 years.
About a year ago, I saw a photo in a parenting magazine of a couple of roller-blading parents pushing their kids on bicycles equipped with training wheels.
I can’t find the photo or the article now, but the point of the snippet was to convey that parents and kids should get out together and be active despite varying motor abilities.
And, I remember looking at that picture and thinking, “THAT IS JUST A HORRIBLE IDEA”.
I thought that because about a month before seeing that photo, my hubby and I had the exact same stupid idea, and we actually tried it, to the detriment of many things.
On the day that we thought we were going to be innovative, adventurous and fun-loving parents, at least one of us ended up in the Emergency Room. (uh- that would be ME), and at least two of us ended up with some cross between PTSD and an irrational fear of anything wheeled for the next year and a half (and those would be OUR CHILDREN).
The bottom line is that it all started well.
Our kids were on their little baby-bikes with baby training wheels.
My husband and I were on our roller-blades which we had not strapped on in at least 5 years.
He and I were equipped with the hubris that either one of us remembered how to roller-blade.
And, it turned out the rollerblading was the easy part and our arrogance was warranted because we were proficient at that.
However, I soon found that MY pride was misplaced because I could definitely GO, but I had completely forgotten how to STOP.
This became apparent as our family approached a slope that is mild in appearance from the vantage point of the mini-van driver’s wheel- but that greatly increased the momentum of two training-wheeled bicycles that were angling into each other, each dangling an incompetent roller-blader behind it.
I bit it.
But, not before I took out the entire family in the middle of that residential road.
I remember trying to stop and realizing that it wasn’t working.
Our daughter’s bike was accelerating dangerously down, down, down that slope like a bowling ball.
I tried to steer our daughter away from our son when impact appeared imminent.
Then, my rollerblade caught her rear tire and we were history.
I tripped over our daughter who crashed her bike as I landed a few feet in front of her on my wrists.
Her now rider-less, rogue bike careened into her younger brother who fell over and then skidded a foot or two on the pavement.
My husband, seeing the carnage in front of him and with the quick wits to know that he might flatten our wailing son literally did an airborne Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle forward roll into someone’s lawn.
And, when the bells stopped ringing in my head, I looked up, and saw all four of us splayed across that sloped road, bicycles upside-down and wheels spinning.
There was a lot of groaning.
I had piercing pains up my forearms. I was pretty sure my right wrist was broken. (The ER x-rays showed it was just a bad sprain.) Our son’s chin was bloody and scraped. Our daughter’s knees and palms had road rash. And, my husband jammed his neck doing that commando roll.
Other than that, we were totally fine.
My husband just looked at me in disbelief.
We were a mile from home and the kids refused to get back on their bicycles.
Speechless and limping, our kiddos walked those bicycles home.
Our 3 and 4 year old would not get back on those things for another year.
The brilliant plan my husband and I had to roller-blade with our training-wheeled kids totally back-fired on us.
So, if you come across that article in a parenting magazine I saw, or any future suggestions like it, consider this your Public Safety Announcement and just DON’T.
And since I’m giving out handy advice about roller-skating and such, should you ever find yourself balancing on one leg while skating on the other in front of a large audience, and you’re a beat or two ahead of the routine to “It’s A Small World”, do NOT take your eyes off the edge of the stage.
Because, it only takes a second to crash into a piano.
Or a kid.
Take it from a woman who knows.
But, remember. If you DO crash, just get up and act like nothing happened.
There’s a small chance no one noticed.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A FAMILY ACTIVITY BACK-FIRE?