Because nothing really brings out the Neanderthal in my husband like using the words, “ballet” and “your son” in the same sentence…
Okay, I admit he hardly qualifies as a Neanderthal, but he is all boy all the time, and sometimes this causes arguments around the best way to raise our sons. Nevertheless, I did my feminist duty this holiday season, and took my five year old son to see the Nutcracker Ballet (with my husband’s blessing and perhaps an eye-roll). And I must be a true-blue feminist because I didn’t even think this was a radical act or anything until I arrived and noticed that there were a million little girls there and only two or three other boys.
Sometimes my husband surprises me though... like recently when J expressed an interest in looking at (and wearing) all of my jewelry (all at once). I cringed a little, wondering what he would have to say about that, but he thought it was really cool. “It’s pirate treasure!” he said.
J concurred. All was well in Testosterone Land.
J has always been a big fan of classical music. I don’t mind it, but most of the time I opt for something a little more lively. But ever since J could talk, as soon as I would play something, he would shout, “No no no! I want classical music!” He prefers it to Rock & Roll, to Jazz, to Spanish music, to Lori Berkner, to Free to be You and Me, and even to the Muppets. He even prefers Christmas symphony to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Crazy kid.
And he loves the story about the nutcracker as well as nutcrackers (especially the pirate one with a peg leg), so I wondered if he might like to see the Nutcracker Ballet. The last time I went, my husband still cared about impressing me and so would sit through such a thing while only complaining to a mildly irritating degree. So I said, “J would you like to go to sit with Mama and listen to the Nutcracker Suite and watch people dressed up as the Nutcracker and the Sugarplum Fairy dance the story of the Nutcracker?”
He asked, “Are we going to do it too?”
And I said, “No, you and Mama will sit like we do when we go to the movies or remember when we went to the Pooh play?”
“Yeah… like that, we’ll just sit and watch and listen to the music. Would you like to go see that?”
“Yeah,” he said, “And maybe when I get bigger I’ll do it too!”
I answered, “Sure, you can if you want to.”
My husband grimly said to me later, “That’s great Staci… why don’t you put a bunch of jewelry on him too when you go.”
I said I would if he asked… But he didn’t. He asked to bring Spiderman with him instead. I think I did double feminist duty taking Spiderman to the ballet, no?
So J and I (and Spiderman) went to the Nutcracker, and he sat completely still and watched attentively through the whole first half. Then at intermission I said enthusiastically, “Now we’re going to stretch our legs for a little bit and get a drink and then we’ll come back to watch the rest.”
And he said (think the voice of “Eeyore”), “Well… it’d be better if we just went home right now.”
But he made it through the second half too, though toward the end I had to say, “Please J, there’s only about ten more minutes, just use good manners a little longer, you’re doing great!”
And he hung in there like the good boy he is, but when it was over I said, “When Little One is five, we’ll bring him to see the Nutcracker too.”
And J said, “Well… I don’t think he’s gonna like it… it’s not very fun.”
And when we got home my husband gleefully reported that when he asked J how the show was, J replied, “Boring.”
Which is exactly what my husband thought of it when he took me there on a date way back when. The prospect of my ever having anyone here who wants to see musicals, the opera or ballet with me is not looking good at this point (my husband enjoys the theatre so long as no one sings or dances). J was really my best bet, though the Little One likes to sing show tunes with me, so I do have one last hope... Cross your fingers for me.