Sunday, June 11, 2006

Jess' Birthday and Blue Man Group

So today is Jess' 14th birthday. Hard to imagine that my little tiny baby would grow to be a 6 ft tall blonde drama diva. Fourteen years is a long time... but a blink of an eye in the greater scheme of things.

Happy birthday Jess.

For her birthday, she didn't want a party, she didn't want anything. I couldn't get a direct answer out of her for what to do to celebrate. And 14 is the kind of age where if a parent does nothing, the kid will bemoan it for centuries "When I turned fourteen you didn't get me anything!!!"

And we'd end up on Jerry Springer or something.

Well, I decided at the last minute I'd get tickets for Blue Man Group. Most of you reading this are familiar with them in some way, shape or form. But in essence they are a theatre/music/percussion ensemble that does all kinds of insane, wacky, thought provoking art. A lot of the music they create is with giant drums and PVC piping and ... paint.

We live north of Boston, and they've been there in the city for a bazillion years and we've never ever gone to a BMG show. I've long wanted to. And figured this would be a good time to do it. Tickets were available, so I bought four. We managed to keep it a secret and it was driving her nuts. Geoff kept it a secret too for a whole day.

We all got in the car yesterday to go and he yelled out "Okay! Let's go see Blue Man Group!"

A collective CRASH could be heard as my head and Doug's head exploded immediately. D'oh. He let it out of the bag. We wanted her to be surprised when we got to the city and walked up to the door of the theatre. But he blew it.

"Dad told me I could tell her when we were going in the car!" he yelled as I told him that I couldn't believe he let it slip.

"I told you that you could tell her when we GOT there." said Doug.

Doug and I both sighed, and Jessica's silence spoke volumes.

I asked her if she was excited to go see Blue Man, and she grunted. "I wanted to see Wicked."

"Well, Wicked isn't in Boston right now. They've been gone a month. Blue Man is, and it's cool, and I thought you'd like it."

More silence.

Doug was more than a little annoyed with her as well. Exasperatedly, he then turns to her and says "after the show, we are going to go walk around Chinatown and go get something to eat and..."

"But I don't want to walk around Chinatown."

"What do you want to do?" I ask.

"I don't know."

"I can't believe I even left the house today." Doug sighed. The two kids immediately start sniping at each other. Geoff insists there is no such thing as Chinatown because that is in China. Jess starts telling him to "shut up!" and punches him.

Doug let them both have it. They rode in silence to the city, and when we got there I told Jess that my feelings were hurt that I made an effort to do something fun for her freaking birthday and that she was a complete ingrate. I was a breath short of calling her a total bitch... but I held back.

I could not believe her shitty 'tude. I know I'm raising this kid better, but this is the second time in six months that she has expressed her dissatisfaction with a gift someone gives her instead of being gracious in disappointment.

Is this part of being 14? That you lose social graces and become a complete jackass ingrate jerkbag?

Please, Lord, say it ain't so.

It is the one piece of the Jess puzzle that makes me so angry. She has great manners. She is kind, she is generous. But if you give her something that she doesn't like or didn't expect, she'll let you know it sucks. And she will do it in front of everyone. She did it at Christmas time to Kay's mom when she gave her a pair of fleece pj pants with the Happy Bunny on them. She hates that Happy Bunny, which is an entry in and of itself (I really should write about that) ... and she literally flipped out when she opened the box.

And Mrs. the Kayla dressed her down in front of everyone...

All she had to do was just kindly say "Oh, thank you!" and then later pull Mrs. the Kayla aside and say "You know, best friend's mom who didn't have to give me a Christmas gift, I'm really not into this item. I appreciate that you thought of me, it really means a lot. I'm wondering if you'd be offended if I exchanged it for something else. Thank you so much for taking the time and giving me a gift, though. It really is awesome..."

I know Mrs. the Kayla would have said "oh, sorry hon... I thought all the girls like The Happy Bunny... but I've got a gift receipt right here. Give it to mom and she can take you to the store and exchange it."

Well -- back to Blue Man. We walk to the theatre in silence. I didn't tell the lady at the Will Call booth that Jess' birthday was today. I could have. I know they send little messages up on the lcd ticker with things like that before the show starts and the audience reads them out loud and it's funny.

To be honest, I just didn't want to do another friggin' fun or nice thing for her. Screw it. We got to our seats and no one was happy. Geoff was still angry about China town (stupid Nonverbal learning disorder that makes him perseverate on stupid issues shut the hell up) and Jess didn't want to wrap the paper around her head like everyone else in the audience. She just sat there like a log.

The show started and it was fun, awesome, exciting. It made me laugh a lot, and it was nice to hear Doug laughing because I was sure that he was not going to enjoy himself.

We both looked over at Jess and she had a big smile on her face. So the Blue Men were reaching her with their weirdness. Hey bitch, even if you didn't want to see us, we're still gonna show you we kick ASS! TAKE THAT! Ha!!

The big out-of-control finale comes, and she is laughing her ass off, streamers flying everywhere, strobe lights flashing, blue lights causing Geoff's shirt to glow like a fire. It was lots of fun, and at the end she had a big grin on her face.

"So, did you like it?" I asked.

"Yeah, that was awesome."

Geoff went on and on about how he wants to see it again and again and again. We went to leave and I asked what we were going to do for lunch.

"I want to go walk around Chinatown" she says.

So we did.

And we ended up at Jumbo Seafood after window shopping and enjoying the lack of pouring down rain. We ate a huge lunch/dinner that was not to be believed, and it was a great time in the end.

I just wish my daughter would react better and be more gracious at times.

Wicked is coming back to Boston in September, and I may or may not take her. Depending on how the 'tude grows and changes over the summer. I don't want to take her in NYC because each time I look for tickets they are like 300 bucks and there is no way in freaking hell I'm paying 300 dollars to watch a play. No. Way. End. Of. Conversation.

Unless BNL star in it, of course. Even then, I'd have to really really REALLY think about it.

What's on the agenda for the actual birthday? Well, the sun is shining for a change. It is cold, windy, and we have stuff to unpack still. I'm chipping away, bag by bag, box by box. Still haven't found my keys.

What the heck?!

So I should get back at it. I'm finding that I'm hitting a kind of wall where I'm sick of everything and don't feel like doing more. So I have to push myself and get things done.

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