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Archive for the ‘Hanukah’ Category

Upstaged

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 01/19/07 

For over a month Olivia’s preschool class practiced a skit that they performed during this years Hanukah party and every day Kim and I interrogated Olivia about the details of the skit. Kim would ask “Did your class rehearse today?” Then I would question, “What songs did you sing?” Then Kim would inquire, “Do you have any lines?” Then I would cross-examine, “Do you have a major part?” Kim would ask another and then I would ask another, etc… Olivia secretively dodged all our questions for the entire month. The more we questioned the less she talked. A few days before the play I was ready to fabricate a waterboard in the tub to get some answers out of her.
 
The day of the parties came. I say parties because Hailey who is still at the infant/toddler building on the community centers’ campus had a small informal music, crafts and snack get together in the morning before nap time. At the beginning of the predictable party, Hailey’s class, the green room, marched in single file out of their room and into the multi-purpose room where all the parents and special friends were waiting. It was a grand entrance and all of the green room children were wearing handmade Shamash hats. (The Shamash is the lead candle that lights the other candles on the menorah). Hailey placidly sat in my lap for the duration of the musical portion of the festivity proudly wearing the hat that she made. We joined the rest of her class inside the green room for snacks and a dreidel craft after the sing-along. Hailey shed a few tears when Kim, Zadie (my dad) and I had to leave, she didn’t want the party to end.
 
Six o’clock that same evening the preschooler’s party was held in the auditorium at the main building. Kim and I decided to pack a light picnic style dinner and eat with the girls in the cafeteria before heading into the assembly hall. It was a smart move considering when Olivia and Hailey get home from school they take off most of their clothing, demand juice and a movie, then comatosely melt into the couch until we drag them to the dinner table. Had we done the normal routine we would have never made it out of the house in time for the soiree.
 
As we entered the auditorium Roz (Olivia’s teacher) said “hello” and gave Olivia a handcrafted menorah hat that all the pumpkin room kids were wearing. Nine construction paper candles circled Olivia’s head and as she put it on Hailey demanded her Shamash hat. As I was getting the Shamash hat out of her backpack she also wanted her purple tinker bell sunglasses and I obliged her. Roz directed Olivia to the front of the auditorium where a two foot riser sat in front of the main stage. Then Roz asked Kim, Hailey and me to find a seat. The place was filling up quickly. We were lucky to find seats in the second row and saved one for my dad who showed up soon after we got there.
 
Olivia climbed onto the riser and was instantly pushed back behind the big five-year old kids from the bear room who were all wearing latke hats and then pushed even further back by the four-year old kids from the yellow room who were all wearing dreidel hats. A lot of the kids were jockeying for a front row position. Olivia listlessly hung in the shadows and I could barely see her behind everyone. Stage fright or intimidation? No wonder she was so reluctant to talk about the rehearsals. “How was your day honey?”
“Oh great dad, another day of getting pushed around by the big kids.”
 
The show begun as Jody (director of academia) lit the menorah and all the children sung the blessings. Then Jody started the skit with a short Q and A. “Who was Judah?” and all the children shouted, “Leader of the Maccabee’s!” She asked several more questions with prompt answers provided. Olivia didn’t say one word.
 
The musical portion of the play came next; Hailey rushed the stage and pulled herself onto the elevated platform. She found a little space front and center then joined in the singing. With her Shamash hat and tinker bell sunglasses on, she was waving to the crowd, singing as loud as she could and animating her body to the music. Everybody in the house cracked up at her loony antics. At one point some of the older kids shoved her into the back row but she tenaciously elbowed her way to the front again where she belted-out unrehearsed tunes. Olivia’s back was bashfully turned to the audience for the entire show, until the very end, when she glanced over her shoulder to see her little sister Hailey, the Shamash, leading the way and boldly stealing the show.
 
I felt so proud and happy for Hailey yet sad and compassionate for Olivia. However, they were indifferent, like nothing out of the ordinary happened. No feelings hurt, (not that I could tell), no joyous celebrations, (although Kim and I congratulated both of them). They went about their party business; diligently completing all the craft projects and devouring the sugar cookie snack. The only real problem was shlepping them home kicking and screaming. Both didn’t want the party to end.

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