little kids are watching

He’s only three. But I aimed to take him anyway. I questioned my judgement, but my daughter-in-law said he would be all right. “He’ll enjoy it,” she said.

So, I took my grandson Jack to see “The Nutcracker” for the first time this past holiday season.

We got all dressed up in Christmas attire, red and silver and shoes that glittered. We had our photos taken at the photo booth outside the entrance to the theater. It’s a nice memory to have of the first time I took my grandsons for our family’s holiday tradition.

Ten minutes in to the production, he turned to his Aunt Katie and said, “I want to go home.”

“Oh, here it goes,” I thought. Jackson can throw down with the best of them when he takes a mind to. And if he didn’t want to watch ballerinas arabesque-ing and pirotte-ing, then he wouldn’t.

His next line was “I want some water.” I knew that trick. Get Nonna outside and Jack will not want to come back in.

Placated with the promise we would get some water during the intermission, we convinced him to wait until the break. In the meantime, he went back and forth between me and his aunt, balancing on our knees. His attention vacillated between mildly interested to totally intrigued.

And as promised, we went outside and got him some water at the intermission. He happily reentered the auditorium.

We talked excitedly about the second act and how Clara and the Prince would go to the Land of Sweets and a huge banquet would be held where Clara would be rewarded with a celebration of dances. “There’ll be lots of dances,” we promised. “Russian Hassocks jumping around and a lady named Mrs. Bonbon who has children come out from under her dress.”

Five minutes after the curtain opened, he stated, “I want to go home.”

We convinced him to wait a little bit longer.

Then, he seemed especially taken with the Waltz of the Flowers. He sat up straight and fixed his gaze on the line of little girls, who were mostly toddlers, dressed as little flowers. They merely stood at the edge of the stage in their little flower costumes while the prima ballerinas danced behind them.

Toward the end of the second act, and the finale of the production, he settled in the seat beside me and within minutes his chin rested upon his chest. He missed the Cavalier’s powerful jumps and arabesques round the stage. The Snow Queen danced her grand finale without his watchful eye.

Whether it was boredom or exhaustion that overtook him, I’ll never know.

On the way home, I asked the boys if they had a good time and liked the performance. They both responded yes. I then asked what they liked most about the performance.

Jack quickly spoke up. “The twirly thing,” he said. Part of the celebration of dances included some aerial dancers who dropped down from the ceiling on an apparatus that twirled as they did aerobatic movements.

He said he liked the mice (they were also little toddlers dressed as mice scurrying around on the stage) and the mouse who had the sword fight (The Mouse King).

Surprise. I wasn’t expecting that answer.

Don’t let anyone tell you little kids aren’t paying attention. Even the littlest ones are absorbing their surrounding more than you know.

Like a sponge soaking up dishwater.


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Constance Camille
Writer, Poet, and Photographer who craves words, and people who love words, Constance Camille hangs her hat somewhere in Florida with her three Volpino Italiani doggies where she writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and a good poem when she’s in the mood. Her idea of heaven is a picnic and a good book. A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in English-Creative Writing, she recently completed her poetry chapbook "Other Shiny Things" and her story "The Forger" recently appeared in "The Write Stuff Anthology." She also serves as a submissions reader for the Florida based literary journal "Longleaf Review."


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