The first post I ever penned for this blog extolled the virtues of taking your kids to American Players Theater. My family had ventured to Spring Green that evening, nearly four years ago, to see a matinee of As You Like It. And like it we all did; both the kids and I found the silly romp completely charming. But the comedy's plot -- people running away to live in the forest, cross-dressing for new identity purposes, and group weddings -- certainly didn't resonate much with anything going on in our lives at the time.
This past weekend though, I led my same, but now older, crew "up the hill" to see the company's current take on the Bard's classic tale of doomed romance, Romeo and Juliet. The performance was first-rate, too, of course. But as Isthmus writer Katie Reiser notes in her review, the show highlights the "impetuousness, impatience and narcissism that can accompany young love."
So this time the story line struck a lot closer to home.
While Romeo's age is never explicitly stated in the show, at 17 and 14, my sons are getting pretty close. And my daughter is now twelve and a half; just one year shy of how old Juliet was when she impulsively marries a guy she'd just met at her parents' party. First love, especially for teens, is a crazy, zany, overwhelming thing. And often, as the play reminds us (spoiler alert), such dalliances do not end well.
Thus far there have been no serious romances around our place. But when the time comes, I do think I'll be able to relate to that whole Montague vs. Capulet situation. Not so much from a feud between townsfolk standpoint (I'm sure my neighbors wish we'd mow the lawn a little more often, but thus far, no one's challenged me to a duel). But I totally sympathize with Romeo's and Juliet's parents' desire to like the family of the child their child is dating, And call me a yenta, but I also get Lord and Lady Capulet's overwhelming compulsion to play matchmaker for Juliet -- that Count Paris guy they want her to marry, rich and good looking, is really not such a bad catch.
I'm a little nervous, too, about my kids sneaking out and flirting up a storm behind my back. Granted my house doesn't have a balcony for wooing, but surely with today's social media and texting options it would be pretty darn easy for one of my teens to get mixed up in a forbidden romance while I remained utterly clueless.
It seems a bit unfair that in the play Romeo and Juliet, the audience gets a prologue. We already know how the story will end before the action even begins. But when it comes time for my kids to be caught in the exhilarating, yet often painful, throes of first love, I'm not going to have the benefit of foresight. I'll just need to plead with them to take it easy using the words of Friar Lawrence: "Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so. Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow" (Act 2, Scene 6).
Yes, I know that it's doubtful my kids' first love stories will literally resemble much of Shakespeare's tragic tale. Just to be on the safe side though, I'll recommend they steer clear of poison, daggers and iambic pentameter.
But seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.
And in the life potentially imitating art department, wouldn't it be something if the kid he or she eventually falls for actually hails from "fair Verona"?comments powered by Disqus
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.