I've always been a performer at heart.
From my earliest days I've been trying to get people to pay attention to me. As a kid, I was the class clown. In high school, I imagined a singular future for myself -- INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED POP STAR.
Yeah, that didn't exactly work out.
Instead I went to college, where I joined an improv group and began to focus on a glamorous career in comedy!!
Upon graduation this involved several not-so-glamorous career stops, including waitress, costumed Santa's helper, cardboard box assembler on a factory line, legal secretary, paralegal, document coder, word processor, and at one particularly low moment -- epically depressed car wash flier hander-outer.
But through it all I stayed true to my dream of bringing laughter and song to the masses for fun and profit. I lived in Portland, New Orleans, South Carolina, New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and countless points in between performing in dive clubs and small theaters.
I got raves for some performances and scathing reviews for others. One night I got booed off the stage at the Improv by an angry crowd of nearly 500. I've written for nationally broadcast comedy programs and was recently rejected for a job writing copy for infomercials.
I guess you could say the whole performance-based undertaking has had its ups and downs.
Until about five years ago -- at which point I discovered a veritable performer's utopia made up of the PERFECT CORE AUDIENCE.
That group? Children under the age of three.
I once had a 30-something cousin who came in from a basketball game at a family reunion -- in which his opponents were primarily children -- and announced with confidence,
In a similar fashion, what I came to realize was that to truly be appreciated in my performing career I simply needed to limit my audience exclusively to babies and toddlers.
Because I tell you, when it came to chuckles, the routine I liked to call, "Whose feet are these?" KILLED EVERY TIME!
Those kids COULD NOT GET ENOUGH of my poignant rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
My self-penned monologue, "You have a belly button!" was met with epic delight.
Don't believe me? Take a gander at this comic offering I like to call:
It went on like this for years. My every performance was met with nothing short of RAVES!
It was glorious.
But lately my child-based career has fallen on hard times.
When my oldest child turned four, my jokes and songs abruptly became… displeasing.
Squeals of delight were seemingly overnight replaced by shouts of:
"MOMMMM! That's not funny! Stop your joking!"
"Hey! NO MORE SINGING! You're hurting my ears!"
And what's even worse? The kid managed to turn the room against me.
My three-year-old looks my way with disapproval bordering on contempt at the slightest hint of joshing. Even my two-year-old has started covering her ears when I burst forth in song.
My at-home comedy and musical career, which once burned so brightly, is crashing down all around me!
Last night I put on the Frozen soundtrack -- one of my kids' faves -- and began belting out "Let It Go." I was approaching the money note when my son stalked over and pulled the iPod right out of the speaker.
"MOM!" he scolded, "You may not sing this song! This is a song for a Queen!"
I attempted to protest. I tried to remind him of the good old days when my singing brought him nothing but joy!
But he simply held up his hand and restated his point,
"Mom. This is a Queen's song. And you're not a Queen - are you?"
I shook my head resignedly and told him that no, no I was not.
"Well then cut it out."
People, I've played tougher rooms in my day --- but it's been a long time.