Tuesday, June 15, 2010
It seemed like an ordinary, well-intentioned act. Something responsible people would do, good for
everyone. Because even two of us can't do it alone. She hasn't played with other children in months. She can learn Spanish, how many times have I heard that kids this age are like sponges? I did the research and found a preschool approved by adults. But I can see it now, sort of—the way you see a gyrating disco lit by a strobe. There are women in hairnets issuing mysterious commands. The kids are speaking in tongues. And no one to love her, not really.
I finally understand why theater director Richard Schechner defined performance as “twice-behaved behavior.” Tallulah watches and then she acts. And acts out. She plays again on her little stage the dramas she has witnessed and been subject to. No, don't do that, she says to the kitten. Sientate. Eat. You can't go outside. And, later, I know it's hard. But you can do it.
I keep trying to write about the things that work beautifully about the way we live now—the unhurried ride to school in the dinghy, flowers and fruit and lizards, the symphony of language. Rainwater to wash dishes, a refrigerator running on sun. But the best part is that I can say I won't leave my child screaming in the arms of a stranger again, and mean it.