I spent the morning with a small community of farm animals.
I joined Tucker and his preschool friends for their dress rehearsal. Wednesday is the big show, when they will tell the story of the birth of Christ as it has never been told before.
Tucker was delighted to have me as a guest in his classroom, and he was careful to guide my every action... perhaps he was afraid I might embarrass him with a misstep. He whispered to me out of the side of his mouth, hoping I would follow his cues.
"Mommy, sit right here."
"Mommy, hang your coat right here."
"Mommy, her name is Charlotte."
"Mommy, shhh. We're not talking right now."
Right. Yes. Thank you, sir. (I always have been overly social in a classroom environment.)
To my delight, his friends all called me Mrs. Tucker. I can answer to that.
After circle time, we paraded to the dressing room where each child would be transformed from darling preschooler to even-more-darling Nativity Character. With all the children's classes combined, we had 30+ children. All of them needed an entire wardrobe change, complete with tails and ears. Now that is a task.
There were about eight adults, including teachers and parents, so we divided and conquered. Each of us gathered a bag of costumes and a list of children, and we began the process.
I dressed the cows. Everybody wore a giant white sweatshirt with appliqued cow spots, a headband with droopy cow ears, a crocheted tail, and black leggings. Which meant that I had the unprecedented experience of putting tights on little girls, and even on little boys. That was definitely a first.
(And might I say, little boys wear tights very differently than little girls do. Boys try to put them on like pants, and I had to keep them from tugging and tugging until their toes popped right through. Little girls know the drill, but they prefer to have all the wrinkles and sags evened out. No elephant ankles, thank you. No, not like that. No, not bunched at my toes. Please fix it. I certainly don't do that routine on a regular basis, so I took a few lessons from little girls today.)
I thought I was doing a pretty bang-up job, until another parent alerted me to the naked three year old behind me. Oops. We'll put some clothes on her.
As I put one little man in his cow costume, he informed me that he was planning to be Lightning McQueen. (I'm not sure that you are, buddy. We are short one racecar costume in the Christmas story.)
When we were collectively finished, we had a whole crew of:
soft, fuzzy sheep,
shepherds with staffs taller than they are,
feathery angels with bouncing halos,
wisemen with sparkling gifts and belts around their royal waists,
and my favorite, the round, fluffy chickens.
(Tyler will be most envious, since he keeps telling everyone he will be the rooster. When really he will be sitting quietly in the third row.)
(We hope. About the quiet part.)
Tucker was overjoyed by my companionship, until it became apparent that I was not there for that sole purpose. Once I began to help other children with their coats and costumes, he began to melt. It was his very first experience with Sharing Mom with his peers, and he was none too pleased.
This little guy usually does this routine, twice a week for four months now, entirely apart from my influence, but he suddenly couldn't handle being apart from me. Not even to get dressed, file onto the stage, say his line, or jangle his jingle bells. He cried the whole time, unless I stood beside him.
And so, Wednesday is the big day, and my son will be the cow.
I mean, the sheep.
There was a slight change in the costuming department this morning, and his role has been adapted. The artist formerly known as Cow will now play a slightly different role. Thankfully, the line is the same, and the change only requires the emotional preparation.
Which is not small. But we have a couple of days to get into character.
And to convince him to perform onstage without me.