For the past couple of weeks we have been preparing for our Kindergarten "Spring Musicale" (thanks High School Musical) and it has some developed some interesting characteristics in some of the five year olds I see every day.
First of all, they think they are just fabulous (which, of course, they are). I mean, your first time standing on stage in front of hundreds of people, singing at the top of your lungs, trying your best to get those adorable choreographed moves? Point to the audience, hands on your hips, snap in the air, bouncing back and forth. That is all a big deal.
In preparation for the big night, we have been practicing in the classroom. While the majority of them took it as an opportunity to be ridiculous, some of them took it very seriously. I wish I had this on videotape, but even if I did, I couldn't put it on here for ethical and legal reasons, although You Tube might pick it up. But one little boy is so devoted to the quality of the musical performances of Center Point Elementary, that he has decided to add his own improvisations to the end of each song. Think Whitney, think Mariah, think Beyonce, and even a little Jennifer Hudson. All from a little five year old boy voice. He even has the hand motions down and everything. And the best part is, he is channeling his inner-diva at the end of songs such as "My Backpack," "I Like School," and "The Months of the Year." I told him I would get him his own dressing room and bedazzled microphone.
When the performance night actually got here, they all arrived in their very best outfits. We the teachers quickly learned that little man vest outfits (pretty much the components of a tux minus the jackets) are all the rage. And they come in all different colors! Silver, gold, purple, you name it! I haven't seen that much synthetic material disguised as formal wear since I was in a department store in South Korea. But they were adorable. As we started to line up, the stage fright definitely set in. While walking my class into the gymnasium, one of my little boys took one look at the crowd, grabbed my head and said "Ms. Teegarden…." in the most worrisome and apprehensive voice I have ever heard him use, as he nervously eyed all the mamas and grand-mamas that he was about to perform for. I was more amused than anything, and of course just put him up on the stage with the rest of them. He eventually warmed up to the crowd.
And then, once all the kids were in place, ready to sing, the real fun started. For a good five minutes straight, all the mamas and aunties and daddies and uncles came up and literally stood right in front of where their child was standing, and just took pictures. It was like our own little version of the paparazzi or the red carpet. And even when the music was cued, and our precious music teacher began directing above the heads of the photographers, they didn't budge. Forget concert decorum. They were getting that close up picture of their baby. And the kids ate up every minute of it. They had their game faces on. They knew they were stars. And as entertaining as it was, it makes me wonder about this generation we are raising. Maybe a generation of divas.