treading new waters
We took a little detour from the Galleria's play area this past Saturday, and instead, ventured inside Slappy's Puppet Playhouse to watch a marionette puppet show! In the past, we've always popped in to let the kids play with the wooden toys, castles and puzzles on display while Aaron and I would catch our breaths from chasing and shielding Ava & Noah through the germy Jungle play zone.
The Hammers and their 2 beautiful girls joined us for the 10:30am show for The Little Mermaid. The setup inside of the "theater" is small, quaint, and homemade - just like it should be. The intro by the stage manager was sincere but painfully long. After 20 minutes... the curtains finally lifted and the anticipation grabbed our attention...
The production, performed by a live-cast, had a modern-day take on the Disney story I was expecting. The dialogue was catered for older kids [I'm guessing over 6] more so than our little art-goers we are trying to introduce into the theater scene.
So, Ava couldn't keep up. Triton causing waves, a mermaid crying for what she couldn't have, Prince Eric's arranged marriage to Shirley Temple and songs from various decades added more confusion than I was use to. Ava deferred her attention to the little girl next to her she'd rather be running and playing with, Maya, who was entranced by the spectacle and unmoved by Ava's interruptions. I had to deflect Ava's gaze with a bowl of Kix. Then juice. And try to explain why "Michelle" was crying for a prince. [And for the first time, I actually stopped to think about the varying degrees of messages we were exposing our kids to. If you're desperate, go make a deal with the sea witch. Lovely.]
Noah, upon finishing his bottle, was determined to walk and socialize - from the front row. I'm not sure how it ended, but it did - with Ava wondering where the curtains for the exit were. We hit the play area as fast as we could until our stomachs pulled us towards the Grand Lux Cafe for lunch. This was a new place recommended by our friends - and I must say, it is wonderful! Family-friendly, courteous, and a delightful menu that pleased everyone at our table.
Back home, Ava asked me to read her the mermaid bubble book during bath time. "Whooshing and swooshing, they go for a mermaid swim..." On Sunday morning, she asked to go swimming. I usually say "I don't think that's a good idea" or that the UV rays are too strong after 11am - but for some reason, I let her - thinking about how much mermaids have been on her mind lately.
Aaron lathered the sunscreen thick and before we knew it, Ava found her gills and started swimming by herself! [With the help of inner floaties of course]. She balanced her feet below her, waved her hands underwater and moved above water like a tiny pink motorboat from one end of the pool to the other, collecting balls for Noah. We praised, clapped, splashed and cheered. I don't know how much of yesterday's performance she saw for it to have any kind of impact over her ambition to learn how to swim. Maybe it was the pictures of Sandy swimming with dolphins? Or the visit to the splash park and our You Can Do Anything Ava mantra we chanted over and over last week?
Maybe it was all of that. Or maybe it wasn't - and the sheer beauty of having patience instead? Her diligence to swim almost daily within the boundaries we set for her [no more than 20 minutes, before the sun gets too hot, wear a floation device and sunscreen!] - gave her the encouragement she needed to finally do so on her own will and time. And it also gave her insight on the value of practice and working hard for what you love.
No deals with a sea witch or courting a prince necessary.