Saturday, July 30, 2011


"Ok, we will see you later..." My sister says as she closes the front door. Pressing the button for the elevator, I look down at my three year old niece, who is standing there quietly while brushing her long brown hair away from her face. When we reach the ground floor, I push open the elevator door and she skips out under my arm. I buckle her into her car seat, "How is that?" I ask her. "You did it right." she replies back. With that approval, I slide close the door of my sister's mini van, circle around to the driver's door and get in. I am taking my niece out for a children's theater group showing of Cinderella, and we are both excited and cautious. 

"I don't see any ducks, I think they are sleeping." My niece comments as she gazes out the window of the moving car. "I don't see any geese either.." I reply. "Geese are mean." She says, "They are not funny, I like ducks because they are funny.." We run through a flurry of topics, animals, food, pink shoes, shoes with lights, boots with lights, hats, funny socks, funny cousins,  funny sounds, funny songs, funny games, we basically covered everything that is funny or anything you can attach blinking lights to.

We pull up in front of the theatre and upon inquiring about parking, are told to turn left at the light and go down to the school where there is free parking. We park and are now walking the four blocks back to the theatre, my niece skipping along pointing at flowers, and I staying close, sporting her satin red Mini Mouse backpack.

We enter the theatre and secure a booster (drivers license required) and quickly find our seats. It takes a while for my niece to adjust to the booster, first setting it on the seat, then trying to climb up onto it, ending with me picking her up and placing her on the booster. A minute passes and she jumps down to adjust the booster by turning it around, another attempt to climb up, and again ending with me picking her up. This goes on two more times until she finds the perfect set up, her in the seat with her legs up, and the booster positioned on the floor. With about ten minutes until curtain goes up, I ask her is she needs to go to the bathroom, which she replies with nodding her head yes. I help her off the seat, grab the satin red Mini Mouse backpack and the booster (drivers license required) and make our way up the aisle to the back of the theatre. "Where are the restrooms?" I ask the usher. "Women's on the left and Men's on the right. I quickly turn left then stop, "Wait, I need then Mens room." I say to myself. Since I have a son, this is a new experience for me, I never had to take a little girl to the bathroom before, but I was not nervous. 

We open the door to the bathroom and we descend the five steps to the tiled floor of the big bathroom. We find a stall, put down the booster and place the red satin Mini mouse backpack on top. I unzip the bag and take out the toilet pads my sister thoughtfully packed. I unroll some toilet paper and wipe the seat down, then take the toilet pad and place it on top, where it quickly slips off and falls in. "Oops, I need another one." I say as my niece gives me a look like she is thinking, "Should I find someone else to assist me?" I quickly unfold a new pad and this time secure the corners by tucking it under the seat. I then place the booster seat in front of the toilet which allows my niece step up and go in comfort. She is quickly finished and dressed, I instruct her to stand behind me and I will flush. I press the lever and the toilet makes a faint gurgling sound and the water is just fills a little and stops. The two toilet pads are now impeding the water flow are clogging the toilet. I move the booster, the red satin Mini Mouse backpack and my niece as far away from the stall as possible and think of how I can unclog the situation. I notice a toilet brush in the corner, unroll some more toilet paper and wrap it around the brush handle. I then grab the handle, pull out the brush, and use it to remove the toilet pads. I dump them in the garbage can next to the stall and return the brush. I take out the wipes from the red satin Mini Mouse backpack and pull out two wipes and scrub my hands, then repeat the process to scrub down my niece. Mission accomplished as we exit the bathroom and go back to our seats.

After another round of booster roulette, the booster again sits on the floor and my niece curled up in the seat, I re-wipe her hands as the lights go down and the curtain opens.

I spend the first half of the show not watching the stage, but watching my niece's reactions to the costumes, the songs, the banter of dialogue, even the sounds of the audience. She claps when she is supposed to and laughs at the funny parts. When the Fairy Godmother turns the pumpkin into the carriage, my niece is motionless, eyes wide and mouth open. At intermission, I ask her if she wants to walk down to touch the stage and she smiles and nods quickly. "Ok, you walk down and I will wave to you." She takes a few steps and turns which I respond with a wave. She advances a few more rows, turns and I wave. That happens a few more times until she reaches the edge of the stage, and runs back up the aisle to our row. She repeats the walk five more times, each reaction to reaching the stage is like a first time discovery. The house lights now dim as the second half is starting. 

The Ball, Cinderella's entrance, the big dance and the bells of midnight open the second half, which causes my niece to say to me "The car is going to turn back into the pumpkin!" Upon the prince slipping the glass slipper on Cinderella, the whole audience applauds, along with my niece, excited by the happy ending to the show. A standing ovation is awarded to the child actors and the house lights go up. We return the booster (getting my license back) follow the crowd towards the theater doors and burst out into the sun. We make our way back to the car, petting a big black dog and counting animals statues sitting in front lawns. I buckle her back into the car seat, again getting approval of my knowledge and step into the drivers seat. I pull out, exit the parking and stop at the corner traffic light. "What was your favorite part?" I ask. "Cinderella, the pumpkin car and the mice." She exclaims. We drive three more lights and I say "I am glad we went to the show, it was fun spending the day with you." I turn my head to see my niece fast asleep, holding on to the red satin Mini Mouse backpack.


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