Back in December, my dear mother-in-law gave us a wonderful family Christmas gift, tickets to the local "Broadway" Theatre. This was the 2nd time she's done this. The first time, we went as a family to see The Wizard of Oz. The kids absolutely loved it! They were only 1, 2, and 3 at the time, yet they sat motionless throughout the entire play.
Albeit quite an expensive enjoyment for a family of six, we love for the children to expand their artistic horizons through this type of entertainment. So, when their grandmother offered to get us the "family gift" again, we all jumped up with glee in agreement!
This leads me to the preparation stage.
While waiting for the day of the show to watch The Wizard of Oz, I prepared them by showing them the original movie on VHS for a few weeks before heading to the play.
This week I purchased the tickets for Peter Pan, which we'll be seeing in July.
I promptly began my preparations for the anticipated event by pulling out my big box of old and dusty VHS tapes. I joyfully found the original 1954 Broadway play with Mary Martin as Peter Pan.
The kids had some idea of who Peter Pan was because they'd seen the Disney movie we borrowed from the library a couple of times. They loved Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and of course, Peter.
But what ensued with the viewing of the original play was not what I had anticipated.
Lots of them!
Mostly by Kai.
As I sat with them watching I mentioned something like, "Did you see how when he sprinkled the fairy dust on Wendy she could fly?"
My astute little man immediately hopped out of his seat and in a very serious manner said to me, "Mama, Peter not a "he"! Peter a girl! (signing the word "girl" by slipping his closed, little fist down his cheek to make double sure I understood.) Look, Mama! He not a boy!"
It took me a second to try and think of how to respond. I couldn't find the answer. Mary Martin was a girl. So, I finally said (now surrounded by the 3 of them wanting to know why Peter was a girl), "Yes, in this play Peter is a girl, but she's acting like a boy."
Total confusion on their faces.
I told them to settle down and watch the rest of the play. They accepted my answer and did.
Peter tells the lost boys that he brought Wendy to Never Land so that she could be their Mama. Because it was then that Wendy said to the boys, "I will only be your Mama if Peter is your Father!"
Now, I know this may not sound like a big deal to you, but when you have three little ones trying to figure out roles of genders and not aware of what "acting" really means, it could be a bit overwhelming.
Kai immediately said, "A girl can't be a Daddy! Daddies are boys! Always boys!"
Anna Grace chimed in with, "That's right, Mama. And Mamas are always girls."
Of course, little AJ had to deliver his own opinion of, "I no like this pway! I don't know Peter a girl or a boy. I wanna watch Dora!"
I then pause the TV set, sigh and pray for quick second.
I said, "You guys are right. Daddies are boys. Mamas are girls. The person who is Peter is pretending to be a boy. She's pretending to be Peter and pretending to be a Daddy. Sort of like when you guys pretend that you are playing Mama and Daddy."
Again I start hearing, "But no, Mama. Anna Grace pretend she is Mama and AJ and Kai pretend Daddy, but girls no pretend boys and boys no pretend girls."
Reaching my point of mental exhaustion, I reach for the remote and say, "How about watching Dora?", which was followed by huge cheers from the crowd.
Thankfully, in the play we will be seeing, Peter is played by a male. And I'm even more thankful that Daddy will be with us on that day, therefore he is the chosen one to answer questions!
And all I wanted was for them to get a little culture.