Later Gator Nutcracker

A classic Christmas MomSpeak

The dishes were stacked in the washer with care,
the homework was completed without much fanfare.
My husband was ready, with clicker in hand,
to find us a Christmas-y TV event.
When what to our wondering eyes he would find, was
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Ballet — perfect to unwind.
The kids on the beanbag, the dishwasher rumbling,
my husband and I over Lego pieces came stumbling —
to catch the performance live on TV,
from the Lincoln Center, complete with coughee.*

Keep up with the area's many live Nutcracker performances here.

(*I made that  up, but let’s just say at least one person in the theater always manages to cough during the quiet moments. Ricola, anyone?)

The backdrop magnificent, the dancers a joy,
we were swept away by the nutcracker toy.
The Sugar Plum Fairy, the snowflakes, the glitter —
when suddenly our preschooler gave us lots to consider:

“What are they doing, mommy?”

“What are their mouths saying?”
“Nothing, they are dancing.”

“How many are there?” (my son)
“There are… (me)
Let’s count. One. Two. Three. Four. Five… (my son)
Seven. There are seven. Please be quiet now and enjoy.” (me)

“How are they going to get out of the forest?”
“They’ll dance out.”

“Is that real snow?…Or is it rain?”

“No, it’s rain.”
“Okay. Rain.”

“No. I think it’s snow, mommy.”
“Please be quiet.”

“But why is the mouse wearing a crown?…Is it a king? Is he little?”
“Please. I’ll tell you later.”

“Later gator.”

“Is it starting yet?”
“Is what starting?”

“The Nutcracker.”
“You’ve been watching it. Shhh.”


“Is it done soon?”

“Schlaf schőn!” (sleep well)
(Where the heck did that come from?)

“Where did I get that from, mommy? From Oma?”
(For the love of God. Please.)

Intermission was blissful, a time to rejoice,
with toothbrush in hand and a commanding daddy voice:
“Go potty, brush teeth, and upstairs you go,
so big sister and mommy can enjoy the show.”

Act Two was marvelous, despite my dismay
at my daughter staying up late before her test the next day.
But there’s no harm in watching, however late on TV,
a classic performance with commentary and glee.

My kids may be wondering why we sometimes shout out:
“It’s bedtime. Hurray! No more mumbling about.”
Curious minds are, of course, the most wonderful thing,
and before passing out on the sofa, we take it all in.
As the Lego pieces lay in a cluttery heap,
and the children are upstairs and finally asleep,
the house is too quiet and no fun at all,
so let’s do this again soon, and all have a ball.

Marion Kase is a Berks County, PA mom of a preschooler and a 4th grader. This post was adopted from her blog, Helicopter-Caterpillar.

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