A Moment of Jen
THE NEXT BEST THING — In Stores July 3rd!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
posted by Jen at 11/13/2007 10:48:00 PM

As D-Day approaches, we have been making a concerted effort to do special fun things with the girl, before the baby shows up and RUINS HER LIFE.

So this summer we bought tickets for a Sunday matinee of what would have been her first-ever Broadway show—“The Little Mermaid.” We’ve been playing the music, looking at pictures, and talking it up for weeks – the trip to NYC! A real-live Ariel! “Kiss the Girl!”

On Friday night, we got word that because the stagehands’ strike, the show would, most likely, not go on. Which meant that on Saturday morning, we had the unwelcome task of attempting to explain a job action to a four-and-a-half-year-old.

As the child of an unreconstructed hippie mom, who grew up listening to Pete Seeger protest songs in the back seat of the family station wagon and became a card-carrying member of the Newspaper Guild, (and whose sister-in-law is currently walking the WGA picket lines in LA), I viewed this as a teachable moment, a chance to instill in my daughter the important belief that unions are good and useful things.

It did not go over well.

Me: “Remember in Click, Clack, Moo, when the cows go on strike? Well, now there are people on strike, so we can’t go see The Little Mermaid.”

Girl: (Eyes welling, lip quivering): “No Little Mermaid?”

Me: “The people who are striking are probably very sad to be disappointing all of the kids who wanted to see the show, but some times, the only way for workers to get what they want from a large, wealthy, powerful corporation, so that they can take care of their own kids, is by disappointing people.”

Girl: (Blank look)

Me: "Imagine if you were in preschool and your teachers didn’t want to give the kids the kind of crayons and paints they liked. Maybe you’d get all your friends together and say, “We won’t come in from the playground until we get our crayons!” And then if you could get every kid in the city to do that…"

Girl: (Ignoring me completely, jumping on bed)

Me: "Anyhow, you’ll still have your playdate with Sawyer."

Girl: "Playdate! Sawyer! Yay!"

We drove to the city, checked into our hotel, and made the trek to Lucy’s friend Sawyer’s apartment. Sawyer, who is, evidently, not being raised by the children of unreconstructed hippies, met us at the door.

“Hey, guess what,” she said, “we can’t go see The Little Mermaid because of the strike!”

“That’s right,” I said. “Sawyer, do you know what a strike is?”

“Oh, yes. It’s when people WON’T DO THEIR JOBS.”

“Well, yes,” I said. “But do you know why they won’t do their jobs?”

“They just WON’T DO THEIR JOBS.”

The girl gave me a disgusted look, a look that clearly said, why did you bother with that whole rigamarole about Farmer Brown’s cows and the stagehands' kids and the crayons, ya big Commie?

Anyhow. Remember how I wrote that I thought we'd settled on a name? Well, I was out and about, and I heard our frontrunner name four times in three days: on a playground, in the supermarket, and at my ob/gyn's office ("'Frontrunner name!' You get your fingers out of your nose right now!")

Frontrunner Name is no longer our frontrunner name, and I have exhausted my imagination and the six name-your-baby books that we've acquired.

We're now moving on to John Hodgman hobo names. Stay tuned, and in a few weeks you just might be reading about the arrival of little Booster D'Souza.
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