Thursday, March 17, 2011

The toxic zone

Today was the long-awaited Spring Concert at my school, complete with kids dressed in fancy satin dresses with patent leather heels, boys in ties and button-up shirts that they could hardly wait to unbutton, parents videotaping, etc. In preparation, we had a dress rehearsal yesterday, and the grades that did not participate in the concert were invited to come watch.

The first calamity hit as the kindergartners were just beginning their second song. Right smack in the middle of the risers, as the entire school watched, one of them lost her lunch. All over the risers. The other kids kept singing as though nothing had happened, while adults rushed over and a space was cleared around the murky brown puddle.

The music teacher calmly announced that the rest of the concert would take place on the floor in front of the stage, while the custodians cleaned the stage and the afflicted child was tended to by the nurses upstairs. After the kindergartners had done a few more songs, they sat down and the first graders -- including my little ones -- stood to perform.

Lo and behold, just a few lines into "Down By the Bay," my little Michael upchucked. Five times, or at least in five different places, since he was running toward the nurse's office even as he continued to puke. The first time, his vomit landed squarely on Maeve next to him, a blonde, blue-eyed little girl who comes to school every day in dresses that make her look like a cross between an American Girl doll and a beauty pageant contestant. She handled it with remarkable aplomb, waiting calmly to get cleaned up and then, when she was given a simple yellow polo t-shirt, quickly bunching it up in the back and tying her hair band around it so it wasn't quite so out of sync with the rest of her outfit.

I'm not exactly sure what happened after that, since I was upstairs with Michael and Maeve for the next while, cleaning them up, calling parents, etc. By the time I got back, the second graders were well into their act, and somehow we got through the rest of the concert. Afterward, the music teacher sent out an email to say that, given how badly the dress rehearsal had gone, things could only get better for the second concert.

A short while later, however, she had to amend her earlier statement: The night after the dress rehearsal, she got hit by the stomach flu and was up all night puking.

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