Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gimme Back My Firstborn!

Dear AMC:  

Let me say first, I am a huge fan.  I love that I can count on you to see movies that are the equivalent of an old friend.  Movies like The Shawshank RedemptionThelma and Louise, the Lethal Weapon series (hey, we've all got some questionable friends whom we love just the same).  You currently air several series I'd be totally into if I didn't have two small children, one of whose hours are more like a cabaret singer than a preschooler - namely Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels.  

And of course, there's Mad Men, which is nothing short of genius.  

There's nothing I wouldn't give for MM.  Having been deprived of a new episode for what seems like forever, before yesterday I'd have given you my firstborn to know what happened to ol' Donny D and his new missus.  

And because you guys seem so wise, so possessed of an understanding of our very human needs, I presumed I actually could give you my firstborn for a couple of hours and you'd be nothing short of phenomenal.

And, oh Saint Peter on Rye, did you fail me!  

As Ricky Ricardo would say, "Let me 'splain."  Around dinnertime last night, the eve of Monday, December 26, I'd been finishing up a League of Their Own.  Self-indulgently, I decided to leave that movie on when the kids got up from their naps.  Yes, I was being a bad TV watching mommy, letting the TV serve as background.  I didn't pay attention to the commercials - coming attractions or otherwise - as the kids really weren't really watching.  My three year old did, however, hear that The Polar Express would be coming on, and he was thrilled.  

Our family all gathered on the sofa to watch. Within the first ten minutes, on the lower left corner appeared a faceless zombie, with the words The Walking Dead and then the words Hell on Wheels appeared.  Our son noticed neither, thank God, and if he did, said nothing.  I wondered the effect on an older child with stronger reading and observational skills.

Then cut to the first commercial.  A teaser for Hell on Wheels.  "Oh dear," I said.  "It won't be bad," my husband replied, sure you guys would keep it clean.  After all, it was a 7 p.m. children's movie.  The first four cuts, relatively innocuous - shots of the principal characters, a Native American warrior, pivotal scenes, then a wagon getting blown up and bodies flying through the air, followed by a man shooting another man in the chest.  

Good Googly Woo! I grabbed the remote control to change the channel, putting me in the no-win situation of either returning prematurely to another similarly gruesome showing, or coming back late and missing parts of the movie.  

This unfortunate situation repeated itself throughout the showing of the movie.  One commercial for a video entitled the Apocalypse of World War II showed huge bombs going off and men in trenches shooting at each other.  I almost knocked my son off the couch for diving for the remote.  

Hello?! At 7 p.m. no less, you showed a sweet, innocent movie about Santa Claus interspersed with some of the most family-unfriendly commercials you could get your hands on (short of Grand Theft Auto IV). What were you thinking?  Or were you not doing so at all?  Did you not care? Were you just doing business as normal, plugging your regular content?  Seriously, the incongruity of the movie versus the commercials was almost a joke, like an overdone sketch on SNL.

Why, AMC, why?  You are intelligent people.  Do you not care about families with small children who want to spend time with you?  Perhaps I should be one of those people who turns off the cable and only watches videos, but I like TV.  I like it a lot.  I want my children to know that in TV, as with most of everything, there's good and there's bad.  I don't, however, want my son becoming inured to violence, finding it commonplace and ho-hum, nor do I want to frighten him. He has plenty of time to see the horrible things people are capable of doing to each other. Most of all, he should be able to watch a children's movie where, as a parent, I can trust that the commercials are acceptable for a preschool-age child.  

I am not some crazy, easily offended moralistic mom - you know the type - one of those ladies who gets in a snit over Ben and Jerry's Schweddy Balls ice cream.  Far from it.  I only wish that those in charge of commercial content during The Polar Express had shown an inkling of the brainpower and, dare I say it, sensitivity, evident in your overall programming.  


Friday, December 23, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear? I do! It's A Marriage Carol!



Said the working mom to her dear husband,
Do you see what I see?
All over this house, dear husband,
Do you see what I see?

A mess, a mess,
Our home is a pigsty.
Yet you sit and turn a blind eye.
Yet you sit and turn a blind eye.

Said the nursing mom to her sleeping man
Do you hear what I hear?
So loud in her crib, my sleeping man
Do you hear what I hear?

She cries, she cries,
Please get up - bring her to me.
Don't play deaf and ignore my plea
Don't play deaf and ignore my plea

Said the working man, to his stay home wife,
Do you know what I know?
Why I am so tired, my loving wife,
Do you know what I know?

I work, I toil,
To stay barely middle class.
My greedy boss has his head up his ass
My greedy boss has his head up his ass

Said the libs to the right-wingers everywhere,
Listen to what we say!
The Ricks' ass-hat followers ev'rywhere,
Listen to what we say!

Marriage, at times
spir'tual hell, it is the source
Let gays marry, but not divorce!
Let gays marry, but not divorce!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Breaking News: Parents Sacrifice Themselves for Santa

The summer before last, J and I braved taking Riley to “A Day out With Thomas!” at the Illinois Railway in Union, about an hour drive from Chicago.  We left Baby A, then three months old, at home with my mom.  It was beautiful and sunny day, and while fun was had, our time would have been better spent at the beach, instead of walking around a dusty, hot-as-a-crotch railyard with representatives from every family in the state with a child under five.   Riley had a blast seeing Thomas, and made out like a bandit with his indulgent, a.k.a. got-sucka-written-all-over-‘em, parents at the gift shop. 

The day had its ups (looking at old trains and their routes), and downs (a port-o-john, pumping rock hard boobs in insane traffic on the way home), but our joy came from seeing our little guy so happy, and knowing that he’d remember this day for a long time.  It was all worth it. 

When I described the event to a good mom friend the next day, she seemed perplexed by our sacrifice. “You’re better parents than we are!” she remarked. “Jack and I don’t go anywhere for Sam where we wouldn’t have fun too.” 

Her comment came back to me last Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas weekend, as J, the kids and I stood in line to see Santa at Macy’s in the Chicago Loop.  Once again we were with hordes of families with young children.  Of course there were major pluses -- indoor plumbing, nearby Starbucks, the diversion of hopping off line to look at the children’s clothes and accessories situated nearby.

But the MAJOR minus was being held captive by a line that could give a Depression-era breadline a run for its money.  You haven’t experienced hell until you’ve stood in a deceptively snakey queue for over ninety minutes with a three year old, an eighteen month old, four coats and a diaper bag on an about-to-tip-any-minute stroller, surrounded by other antsy families, some of whom had more control over the weather than they did their children. 

A half hour in, I swore we’d see Jesus Christ himself more quickly than Father Christmas.  I wanted to deliver our family to the Promised Land of the street.  J and I were martyrs for these kids.  At this rate, in a few years we’d be trading our organs for them to enjoy the hot toy of the season. 

We tried everything to keep the kids calm while essentially having to stay still.  Piggyback dancing,  a pacifier for Aria, taking pictures with the displays once we were out of the children’s department and in Santaland, snacks, I Spy with Riley – we tried it all.  If we as adults were losing it, how could small children possibly hold it together? And just as you thought you were getting closer, around the bend loomed twenty more feet of line.  Just as my superego was going to give up, and I was on the verge of letting my inner diva bitch out, the door that led to Santa came into view.

Then it happened. 

“I have to go to the bathroom,” he said.

Holy shit.

“I asked you this before and now you wait until we’re at the end of the line?!  Dear God!”  Add this to the fact that it was 11:33, we had not yet taken our picture, and our metered spot on Wabash that we were super lucky to have scored would expire at 12:02.  

This was the downside of having a potty-trained child.  Although I had longed for R to begin his lifelong relationship with the toilet, right now I wished for the days when we could just slap a diaper on, and unless the thing had sprung a leak or smelled like raw sewage, could go on our merry way.

I scooped him up and we set off upstream.  “Excusemepardonme, coming through, bathroom emergency!  Ha-ha!”  I muttered, pushing my way past families and strollers in Santaland's fallopian-tube-wide passageway.  

Thank God I had seen the bathroom on the way in, I knew exactly where to run.  Once in the stall, I didn’t bother to close the door.  Did they have to make non-handicapped bathroom stalls, the ones without the mile-off-the-ground toilets, the size of a litterbox? 


Last week on our excursion to family day at the Museum of Contemporary Art, we had big-time aiming issues.  Obviously lacking the equipment, Mommy wasn’t so skilled at the whole point and shoot thing.  The result was wet undies and jeans, a mom turned into Joan Crawford’s black reincarnate, and a shamed, weepy boy.  And wouldn'tcha know it, mommy chose that day to forget extra pants.  Ten minutes later our family day was over. 

I lined the seat with paper.  Maybe sitting would work? 

It blew off as soon as I tried to sit him down.  Shit. Tick – tock. 

Next? Pants as far down as they’d go.  Check.  He let loose like a fire hose!  And encore!  Scolding.  Weepy, shamed crying.  Thankfully only a drizzle on his underwear.  Whew! Although it surely wouldn’t be first time, Santa didn’t need a pee-soaked boy sitting on his lap.  And I’d left the diaper bag with J.  Regroup.  Stream under control.  Pull up intact pants.  End scene!

Hands washed, I grabbed Riley and burst out of the bathroom. More “Excusemepardonme, bathroom-emergency-hahaha!”  Some moms commiserated.  A man told me he had no room to move.

“Find someplace,” I snapped.

We rejoined J and Little Mama, minutes away from the head of the line!  There WAS a light at the end of the fallopian tube.  Our spirits soared!

An “elf” took the kids names and led us in to the chamber, where the kids (Riley thrilled, and Aria uncertain) were seated on a very kindly looking Santa’s lap.  Riley told Santa he wanted a car carrier.  My little lady didn’t answer Santa’s question, but said yes to his suggestion that she wanted a dolly. 

We bought a middle priced photo package, hurriedly bundled up and dashed out of the store as quickly as one could with one kid in a stroller and the other being carried.  We arrived at our car with two minutes to spare. 

A metermaid walked by.  “Adorable children,” she said.

The warm fuzzy glow of a happy ending pervaded the car as we drove home.  Sure, I could think of hundreds of other ways I’d rather have spent my Saturday morning.  As a dear friend says, that was two hours of my life I can’t get back.  But mission accomplished, we felt satisfied.  We had taken one for the team, and it was a team that we'd do anything for.  

And I do mean anything.  

It wasn’t a great time for any of us, until the end, when the kids took their photo with Santa.  When we do things for our children, we do something uplifting for ourselves.  We may not be having fun, but we are happy. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Fragmented Thoughts of a Run-on Mind

Why is it that I laughed with wicked glee (Mooo-ha-ha-ha-ha!) as I made my way through my son's Halloween candy, but eating his Christmas chocolate seems just plain wrong?

I think people would be a lot more careful about what they said in the comments section if they had to include their street address, phone number and a passport worthy photo.  Yes,  this is a note to self.

The first day I got my basic Kindle I tried to change the screen by touching it.  Gimme a break, I'd gotten my Ipod touch the week before!

My kids are 3 and 18 months and I just had my first "I-ran-a-pull-up-through-the-washer" incident.  Not sure if it was clean or peed-in.  Is this indicative of the fact that I'm doing pretty well (for example, surely some people do that the day Baby comes home from the hospital) or that I'm a steaming hot mess who was bound to do that, if not worse, sooner or later?

My poor little girl has had one playdate of her own by now, and most of her toys and clothes are hand me downs.  ( Hey! A lot of those hand me downs are gorgeous and were never worn!) Still, I fear that one day she will find out and shove me into a clothing drop-off bin.  

Before I had kids I loathed Lunchables.  Then I made too many half-assed lunches at midnight and I UNDERSTOOD.  Hell to the no, I would never purchase them, but I now look upon them and their fans with compassion.  

Does anyone else have to be having muscle cramps and a migraine before realizing, "I'm a bit parched. Maybe I should hydrate before pieces of my thighs begin to dry up and fall off."  (Hmmmm... an alternative to lipo?)

The "Hottest Woman of All Time"  Really?  Thank you Men's Health Magazine.  No offense to the winner, Jennifer Aniston, but truly, gentlemen (and I use the term loosely), you have reached a new low.  

Will someone please explain the Kardashians to me?  I just don't get why any of us should give a flick. 

Riley:  Can I go to Grandaddy's birthday party?
Me:  Honey, when you are an old man you don't really have a birthday party.
Riley (outraged):  I don't want to be an old man, I want to be a new man!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mom in the Spotlight: Lees Hummel - Act II

Please enjoy the second half of our Spotlight interview with dancer/teacher/choreographer Lees Hummel.  Act I premiered on Saturday, December 3, 2011.    

I love asking this question of all interviewees.  How much sleep do you generally get?  Are you good about setting your own reasonable bedtime, or do you carve out downtime, social time, creative time from sleep?
Funny you should ask about sleep.  I remember being 7 months pregnant sitting in a café in Charlotte, NC, reading The New York Times and a woman came up to me and told me to enjoy this quiet time I had alone, because after the child was born I wouldn't sleep again for at least 5 years.   I couldn't imagine that was actually true and I thought she was a bit of an alarmist freak, but sadly, she was right.  

Nyssa was never a good sleeper.  

When she was born, I had to supplement breast milk with formula and it took us 4 months to figure out she was allergic to milk based formulas, which was why she was always crying and in pain after eating and rarely slept more than a couple of hours.  When we finally switched to soy formula, I remember she slept 3-4 hours in a row and I thought I had been re-born.   I remember getting 3 nights of consecutive sleep for 7 or 8 hours when Nyssa was 4 years old (which was a first ever) when she started her first week of preschool, which was also my first full week of returning to work full time.  

Since then, I generally get a few nights of consecutive sleep, 7 to 8 hours, although, she STILL wakes up in the middle of the night at least a couple times a week and still calls for her mommy.   I am hoping that in college she won't call me in the middle of the night, but there are no promises!

As I am advancing quickly into later middle age, I am adamant about getting enough rest to get through the day.  Both my daughter and myself have strict bedtime schedules, which we try to adhere to all the time.   With my daughter's ADHD and restless sleep habits, going to bed when it's bedtime is imperative.  Most nights, I couldn't stay up late even if I wanted to.  Sometimes I fall asleep before she does....

Your daughter is no longer in that high-maintenance baby/toddler/preschooler age.  To me this conjures up an image of a lot more personal and creative time.  Is this true?
Ha! She is still very high maintenance, but the maintenance and time challenges are different.  I am no longer brushing her teeth for her or making sure she gets to the toilet, but now, other things take up time.  She is an intelligent, creative ADHD child who has some social skills issues and who is very sensitive and talented.   She is a whirlwind of energy who can come into the room and totally disrupt everything that is currently happening with the strength of a cyclone.  It takes much focus and concentration to, not only, keep her on track, but not lose track of what I am doing in the process.  Getting out the door is still a 15-minute ordeal, dealing with putting a coat on, getting her backpack and band instrument.   She loves to talk, share and communicate.  Keeping up with her discussions can be exhilarating and exhausting.   She can hyper focus and concentrate, so if she gets into reading a book or playing a computer game, it can be trying to get her to come back to reality and focus on a new task.   Trying to keep control of her obvious computer skills by monitoring her Internet use is in itself a full time job, one that I push mostly on to her father, as she has far surpassed me in technological ability.   

Also, she is at the age where many discussions of bad words, sex and social interaction occur regularly.   A friend of mine from Nashville visited recently and after spending a weekend with us kept asking me "how do you do it?" and "how do you find the energy?"  Carving out personal time still requires strict planning.    If I see she is hyper focused on a computer game and I need to prep a class, that is when I do it.   But, generally, I don't feel like I have much personal time at all.   It is difficult because she is an only child with almost no friends and we don't have relatives close by.   Even if we did have relatives who could visit regularly, they are either too old to really want to interact with her or just not  interested in keeping up with a 9 year old.  So we are really very involved with her life, probably much more than someone who comes from a large family of siblings.  

Has being a mother changed your creative approach or point of view?  Has it changed your teaching style?  If so how?
I don't know if motherhood, per se, has changed my creative point of view or teaching style.  I do know that AGE has.   When choreographing, I am more cerebral in my approach than in previous years.  I am still very physical, but I analyze the concepts and goals much more.   I was always trying to create a body friendly approach to my teaching (and choreography) but now, I rely much more on communication through my voice and eyes rather than my physicality.  I don't demonstrate full out after the first couple of times and I actively try to analyze the modes of learning that my students' possess so I can communicate more clearly my intent.    I suppose that my understanding of HOW students learn has increased since my child was born but I don't really think it has changed my approach or creative views. 

Many dancers check their children's feet and flexibility as though they were checking their genetic potential for the Kirov.  Have you ever done this?
That is too funny.  I knew better than to worry about Nyssa's feet because the first ultrasound I had when I was pregnant showed her right big toe, which was a carbon copy of my husband’s.  I knew there was NO WAY she would be a ballerina.  She does have a wonderful natural rhythm and way of moving, which I attribute to DNA and the fact that I was re-staging Jump Rhythm Jazz Project choreography when I was pregnant.   She does not have the drive, passion or concentration to do ballet.  She is a free spirit - a singer, actress and hip-hop dancer.   

Has she seen you dance?  What does she think?
I don't know if she remembers seeing me dance on stage? She has seen me dance while teaching and choreographing.  She has no filter and is brutally honest.  She says I'm good at modern, ballet, tap and jazz but that I stink at hip-hop.   I think a few times she has seen videos of me dancing and is always surprised like "that's you?!"  She gets mad at me for not being a famous dancer, for not having danced for celebrities because she wants to be a famous singer and actress. She says all the kids that are famous have famous parents that get the kids famous.  I tell her not everyone has a free ride and can be famous.  Unfortunately, she's not buying it. Sigh.

Any advice for mothers who continue to be artistic gypsies well into their thirties and forties?
I believe that although motherhood can be exhausting, it can give you the experience, energy and confidence to do more than you ever imagined you could.   If you can maintain some semblance of artistic freedom while being a full time mother and wife, you can pretty much cope with anything that comes your way.   Never stop being artistic and creative because that is the key to maintaining sanity in the face of chaos.   It is the outlet that no one can take away from you. It is the peace and quiet that will calm and focus you when the vomit and poop are free flowing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Budding Urban Planner

Riley first received the Melissa and Doug Swivel Bridge Set http://www.melissaanddoug.com/swivel-bridge-train-set for "giving up" his paci while we were on vacation in Michigan.  Back in August, it was evident that he was intrigued and interested in building, but putting the track together required parental, or babysitter's help.  Then, as parents trying to encourage our son's nascent train-thusiasm, we were more fascinated with the set than he was.  Loving the chance for adult play therapy, we lost ourselves in the intricacies of possible designs, and problem solved our way out of jams created by an insufficient number/shape of tracks.  As a result, I began buying track like a gold hoarder.  

Riley's original cityscape of November 2011

With a little overnight editing from Dad

Jump three months later, to Riley's third birthday, to see his urban planning skills come into full effect.  True to the Melissa and Doug philosophy of designing toys that send children's imaginations soaring, Riley likes to design entire cities.  I have to admit that it never occurred to me to use other toys with the train set.  So much for mom the artist!  Riley used other building blocks to construct skyscrapers, and built his train tracks into the cityscape, alongside the tall buildings.  We were begged not to take the train set down at night-time clean up, a request we couldn't refuse.  Unable to resist, Dad did some editing overnight.  

When I can get Riley to play independently, it is amazing to walk into our sunroom to see that he has created a downtown in action.  The Swivel Bridge Set is certainly a go-to toy.   Even my little girl, who used to prefer to walk along the tracks like a giant in a 50s horror movie, is now starting to show an interest in playing trains.  

And she would too, if Big Brother were okay with it.  

Which he most certainly is not.

Apparently, I need more track, more trains and an app that hypnotizes your kids into sharing.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mom in the Spotlight: Lees Hummel - Act I

Lees as Cassie in "A Chorus Line"

Lees Hummel is a mother, dancer, teacher and choreographer currently based in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

For a complete bio, as well as additional photos and videos of Lees' work, please visit  http://www.leeshummel.com/

How many children do you have?  Boys?  Girls?  I am blessed with one girl, whom I had late in life and is a high energy child.   Her name is Nyssa Shoshanna Harris, half Greek, German and Scottish and half Jewish.

How old are your children? She is 9 going on 19

Where were you in your career when your daughter was born? 
I was at the height of my teaching and choreographic career when my daughter was born having already had a good 20 years of performing behind me.  I was an Assistant Professor of Dance at Western Kentucky University when I became pregnant.  It was the first decent paying  full time "real job" with benefits and insurance and I had ever had and one I spent 5 years trying teaching adjunct at various universities to attain.   I had just choreographed Frankenstein, a full length ballet, for Fort Wayne Ballet with my colleague Stephen K. Stone and I felt I was in the prime of both teaching and presenting choreography.  I was a bit devastated to have to give up my tenure track position, due to finances and relocating for my husband's job, which was not something the University wanted me to do.  They were perfectly happy to allow me a semester's leave before I returned to teaching. 

 In the end, it worked out for the best.  I didn't think I could juggle the full university teaching schedule of six classes per semester, choreographing for the dance company and completing all the professional development required for tenure while trying to be a Mom.   It took me a long time to adjust to being a "full time mom" and not having a "real job" teaching and choreographing, but when I think of all the valuable time I had with my daughter, I am grateful for that decision.  It has been worth every moment of motherhood - even the vomiting all over the car, me, and the house moments.  

Thankfully, I was beyond my premiere performing career, as I have never felt like I have gotten back to performance shape since the pregnancy.  I was lucky enough to continue occasionally performing the first few years after she was born, but now that kind of body capacity seems beyond me.    

How did you plan to fit motherhood into your artistic life?  How much did your plans evolve into reality? 
Sadly, I had no "plan" on how to fit motherhood into anything, let alone my artistic life.   I was so surprised I was even having a child, after assuming I never would, that I didn't plan for anything.  I was pretty clueless going into it and at six months pregnant I moved from Kentucky to North Carolina.   I wanted to connect with the dance scene there and find ways to teach part-time in NC.  

Really, I was in survival mode, as looking for dance work teaching and choreographing was what I knew.  This pregnancy thing was foreign and something I kept thinking I would figure out as I went along.    I was lucky enough to make great friends and contacts, allowing me to continue teaching at the college level as an adjunct and the occasional local Simonson class for adults.  I guess my accidental plans evolved into reality.    

Right now, what is your goal creatively and artistically?  How are you making it all work? 
Hahahaha...I am laughing because my goals, of any sort, are usually just to make it through the day.   My real goal is to return to a full-time university teaching position so I can have summers with Nyssa before she gets to the age where she hates me.    

The issue with me now, regarding finding a full-time teaching position, is my age and the techniques that I want to teach.  I find myself getting age discriminated out of jobs, which as a dancer is really not that surprising, but I feel if they would take the chance to see me in action, I would have a better chance at another teaching position.  A creative goal would be to get back into choreographing for more professional companies rather than just university dance programs.   Still, I do have opportunities to guest teach and choreograph, which keeps me going.   

The issue is making my making sure my opportunities work for my family.  My husband and I discuss our schedules daily, and it's always a juggle to make sure one of us is available to take, pick up, or stay with Nyssa.  It requires a great deal of communication and organization, and sometimes, she just has to accompany us to our work.

You are teaching again in New York City, at the renowned Dance New Amsterdam.  What are your childcare/travel arrangements for this?
One of the reasons I am on the steady substitute list to teach Simonson technique at Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) and not trying to get a regular class on the roster is that the commute is too far for me to do on a daily basis with a child in school and I have a full time administrative job with lustigdancetheatre.   We only live 35 miles from NYC, but like any large metropolitan area, it can take an hour or more to travel that distance.  If I teach during the week I take the train from New Brunswick, (where I currently work) which is an hour commute and if it's a weekend, we all drive in as a family.  My husband will truck around NYC with Nyssa and go see the sights.  On Sundays we usually make it into the city in about 45 minutes, but leaving can be difficult and take much longer.   During the weeknights, I literally travel in, teach, and hightail it out of there because I need to catch a train home.  The nice thing is that the students are always asking me when I will teach again because they like my class, so that is satisfying.  I never say "yes" to taking a substitute class until I have confirmed with my husband that he can take care of Nyssa.  The lines of communication have to stay open all the time. 

Any I-can't-believe-this-really-happened dancing/choreographing/teaching mommy moments you'd love to share?
Oh yes, one of my most vivid memories is when Nyssa was two years old and I had to take her with me to teach at Central Piedmont Community College.  The woman who was in charge of the dance program for over 25 years had basically raised her two daughters in the dance studio at the college and encouraged me to bring Nyssa when my husband was out of town, (which at the time was every week).  I was teaching a two hour Simonson technique class on Tues/Thurs evenings with a composition/choreography class afterwards.  I would always bring plenty of toys, snacks and supplies for Nyssa to the class.  

As I was teaching the developé series (45 minutes into class), Nyssa had diarrhea which began to soak through her clothes and of course she was walking around.  I grabbed her and proceeded to finish teaching the exercise while holding her, put the music on and called out the series while the dancers were doing it and gave corrections, while changing her diaper, clothes and cleaning up diarrhea off of her and myself.  Once the developés were over, I kept on teaching like normal.  Not one student said a word.  I remember thinking at the time that if I could do that, I could probably do anything.   

Please enjoy a moderate intermission before Act II.  

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