Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Failed Bedtime and a Fire at the Met

I know my kids have good ears. They can match pitch and the big ones play their musical instruments reasonably well. Eli plays star wars while obsessively singing the Darth Vader leitmotif. But if I say the word shoes they become deaf and seem to turn to stone. As in “ok put your shoes on.” Nothing happens no one looks up from their books or their legoes. If they do bother to acknowledge my voice (which is about once every two weeks) it’s with a look of shock and surprise—the notion of putting on the shoes in news to them. Yesterday I was so irritated that I told my mom that I’d try something like “touch your butt with your head” just to see what happened. (they really like to say the word butt) My mom suggested reverse psychology. So I tried it with “NO ONE put your shoes on.’ They looked up quizzically and asked why. Well it’s a no shoe day duh….. Then I said “DO NOT under any circumstances clean your room.” This got the same response. Finally Rebecca proclaimed that it was opposite day and not only did they all put their shoes on but for the first time ever Eli put his coat on. Thanks mom! I’m sure this was a one shot deal but still……

The kids were all three in hot water this morning not least because Oedipus one and two took their fathers absence as an excuse to sneak into my bed. They then snored and kicked all night. But the real reason I was mad at them was that I carefully put them to bed at their usual time and did all the normal bed time things before going downstairs to among other things have a phone date. At 9:45 all three cane down accusing each other of keeping each other awake, chasing me around the house and ignoring my “what are you doing awake this is ludicrous…….”

It turns out that in addition to whatever else they were doing they also grabbed off my desk an 1884 New York Times article about a stage fire at the Met during a Meyenbeer opera. They were full of vaguely intelligent questions this morning and wanted to know if I had more stuff like this to read. I do but its mostly in Italian which they claimed is not a problem since they have learned Spanish in school and Italian and Spanish are basically the same…. (As far as I can tell they can sing some cute songs and count) Then they wanted to know if I was alive in 1884. Can we please put chronology on the SOL’s so those of in midlife crises can stop having to tell our kids that we are just not that old….. ?Eli wants an “opwa fireman” costume…. I have to admit that I get their fascination. I’ve been morbidly obsessed with breaking stage machines, lighting fires, and injured opera singers for a few days now. I’m thinking it doesn’t take a deep Freudian analysis to figure out what this is about….

See below for what captivated them. They quibbled with the reporter who claimed there were “a few screams by women.” They know that men scream too…..

December 18 1884
“A few minutes before 8 two scene shifters lowered a long horizontal piece of the scenery from above. Its edge was a little frayed, and one of its shreds dangled between the wires that covered a border light. In an instant a big of flame puffed up and then shot along the fly which was of light material. The fireman who was detailed to the opera house was standing near and shouting to the scene shifters to run for an extinguisher. Meanwhile the ropes holding up the fly were cut, and it dropped to the stage making a noise which some in the audience heard but paid no attention to…..”

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