A new item popped onto the family calendar: Coco no play dates or TV. The event lasted from Friday to Sunday. The event was not there early Friday morning when I started my 45 minute spinning class (brought straight to my bike in the garage from NYC) but was there when I finished. Not a lot of time for clarification from my husband, the event coordinator, but as we passed one another on the stairs he shared that this had something to do with smacking her little brother. Child handoff occurred midday Saturday, after my tennis game and before Jay’s round of golf. Handoff happened at Dawne Barnes karate for kids. Ryan spends a lot of time at 8 Count Dance Academy, a pink and rhinestoned slice of heaven where the girls learn teamwork, excitement, disappointment, responsibility, commitment, sacrifice, and dance. Ryan has been asking to do karate for a few months. His requests became more frequent after his best friend did his preschool project on karate and Ryan received a headband and karate belt. His requests came directly. “Mom, can I do karate?” His requests came through Nana. “Ryan would really like to do karate. I can drive him if you sign him up.” His requests came through his best friend. “Ryan wants to do karate with me.” But when I received a text from Marites, who comes on Monday and Thursday mornings to create order to the chaos of my house, I knew that all angles had been covered. “Hi, Jen. Would you like me to organize the girls’ closet? Also, Ryan would like to sign up for karate. Heart emojis in a few colors.” So I signed Ryan up for karate. This was his big karate debut, and he was a happy guy. He was especially pleased that Jay and I were both there to see his moves, which would never have happened if this were not the handoff location.
Ryan’s post karate high followed us to 8 Count Dance Academy. Coco’s best dance friend is a tiny dance prodigy named Belen. Belen has rhythm and grace and can fly through the air with aerials and flips like no 6 year old I have ever seen. Coco and Belen had a sleepover revoked a few weeks ago due to maternal fatigue, and were owed. And Belen’s mom needed a favor. Belen’s mom is also a doctor. She finished her dissertation last summer, and is a brilliant psychologist. She is a rock and fellow soldier in the fight of normalcy in raising children in LA. So the playdate was granted with approval from Jay via text from the golf course. Clarity was provided that the playdate moratorium would return to make up for this incomplete punishment.
The main playdate activity was a dance/play. There were alternating solos and directors. The theme was dancing doctors. The patient had an emergency. There was dancer with a full fever. Each dancer/actor/doctor had their own doctor bag kit complete with thermometer and sick doll. The telephone sat between them. It is safe to have a non cordless old fashioned landline in the case of emergency. We have taken this to a new level in our home, as the phone was my Nana and Papa’s from mid 1970s. It is round and mustard yellow.
Phone calls to report that the emergency were made. The patient needed immediate care. The fever was full. This cancer was bad. Belen: “It will be very sad if this patient dies. She is her mother’s best child because she actually listens to most things that her mother asks her to do.” The patient was saved and then there was a dance involving kitchen stools decorated with flowered butterflies.
There was consistent bickering about who got to mouth which parts. The song was Meghan Trainer’s “You’ve Got to Let it Go.” Not to be confused with the age appropriate Disney “Let It Go.” This involves lyrics like “my name is… no, my number is… no, my sign is… no, You’ve Got to Let it Go.” Fingers and heads wagging. The rule is that when they leave dance they have to cover up their sassy dance outfits with cover ups (a dance studio rule, much better followed than a parent rule). Coco’s black leotard was covered by her “crazy for coco” dress that barely covered her bottom. Belen’s crop top and booty shorts were covered by a sweet pastel striped dress. Midway through the piece the outer layers were shed so that their moves could be more dramatic.
Then the dance ended and there was another spoken portion. Coco and Belen lay on their backs with their legs crossed and took turns speaking into the mustard yellow phone. “Some other doctor is going to have to take care of that patient. Even doctors need a break. Taking a break is what makes doctors healthy. Tell that patient I am sorry.”
Ryan emerged. He had been doing karate moves in his room waiting out the girly behavior. They went outside to play pie face, which involves whipped cream flying at one another. Belen’s mother collected her, and she was moving so quickly to gather Belen to attend a secret big and little bake sale at the park that I could not share the details with her. But this is ok in our relationship. Because 2 months ago she taught Coco all about reincarnation when she brought her to see “A Dog’s Purpose.” I returned the favor when Coco taught Belen about heaven and hell (which she learned about from a disney channel show).