Sunny had a fever and a seal-bark cough Saturday, and I’m at home today with the same thing—surprise, surprise. When you’re a parent, you don’t come down with viruses, they climb up to get you.
But I can’t pin my truly righteous sore throat on her.
I’m blaming the opera . . .
It all started Sunday when Janie said, in a suitably indignant tone, that she didn’t whine.
You don’t say these things in front of your mother or your aunt, especially when they’re us and especially in a car.
I reminded her of the Strawberry Festival last year, when she belted out a prodigious whine over a raffle basket. “I had to sing you out of it,” I said. “Remember?”
“Oh. Right. Sorry.”
We explained to my SIL that I kept asking Janie to whine with feeling and higher and lower and less pitchy, please, until we were both laughing and doing off-key, overblown aria bits at each other and the woman behind us in line was in hysterics.*
This explanation led, as these things do, to Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd . . .
. . . and eventually, to a spontaneous, ad liberetted production, which my SIL and I agreed was not set to Ride of the Valkyries, but to Kill the Wabbit. More or less.
Here’s a selection from our performance, omitting most of the giggles and snorts:
Janie: Mom, can I HAVE that?
Me: No, you CA-an’t.
Janie: But I WANT it—I really NEED it!
Me: Use your ALLOWance
Janie: I don’t GET one.
Me: You don’t do CHORES and I’m not made of MONey.
SIL: Clean up your ROO-oom?
Janie: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO(breath)OOOOOOOOO! Do I HAVE to?
Me: Yes, you HAVE to.
Janie: But Mooooom!
Me: Get GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Ing.
Janie: I don’t WANT to, why do I HAVE to?
Me: Because I SAID so—I’m the MOMmy . . .
Act II (in a store with nervous clerk):
Me: Don’t TOUCH that—keep your hands to yourSELLLF!
Janie: Ooooooooooo!! Look at this!
Me: Use your EY-ES and not your FINGers!
Shopkeep/SIL: You break it you bought it. You break it you BOUGHT it.
Janie: It’s oKAY, I’ll be CAREful. OOPS!
(Opera momentarily delayed because of laughter and clapping)
Grande Finale, all on stage:
Janie: Mooom can I have—
Janie: But Moooooom!
Me: I don’t want to heeeeeeeeaaaaar iiiiiiiiit.
SIL: You know, Janie, y’all should so do this for your next school musical.
Me (burying face in hands): I am NOT writing an opera for the school.
Sunny: But MOMeee!
(Fourth wall obliterated by howls and ovations from the cast, scaring serious hell out of the car one lane over)
There’s been talk of tackling Rabbit of Seville once I recover.
I’m not sure I’m planning to recover . . .
*I jettisoned the remnants of my dignity two months after Janie was born. Surprised it took me that long—no, wait, maternity leave.