I come from an artsy family. My maternal side includes a grandmother who retired as a K-12 art teacher; a make-up artist/model/dancer currently developing her own YouTube channel; a schooled music producer who plays several instruments; and an event planner who has won awards for painting and sculpture. There’s me, the grand family writer and “go-to” resume guru. If we stretch out the view just a bit more, my dad is one of the most meticulous model railroad enthusiasts in the country. Even my husband has this great minimalist drawing style and can elegantly rearrange a given room’s furniture like nobody’s business.
Creativity just free-flows among us.
With this, or because of this, my family has an above-average litany of hobbies. Home improvement, DJing, blogging, and ringtone creation are a few we dabble in outside of our day-to-day careers that are mostly centered around children, as we also tote many degreed teachers and school administrators. With that background, and those genetic dispositions, I was bound to produce some pretty whimsical offspring who will show a strong aesthetic palate while still young.
And, indeed, it happened.
Not only do my children demonstrate leaning inclinations towards theater and choreography and storytelling, but they are unknowingly passionate and unabashed that these traits are appearing so early in their lives. Jai will not be two years old until next month, but will babble out a significant dramatic monologue about how Jrue has recently upset her. Jrue loves anything to do with the production of art: dancing to music, drawing smiley faces, painting on paper, singing along loudly…it’s like he has a mental Rolodex of cultural possibilities that he enthusiastically flips minute to minute.
I love their little kid proclivities, their openness to just break out in song in the middle of a grocery store or do a shoulder shimmy when dad turns his phone camera in their directions. We encourage a certain level of freedom of expression; while the contexts may not always fit the decision-making at their ages, it is undeniably beautiful for us to see our children “be” children, randomness and all.
So, it should come as no surprise that their sensationalist sensibilities become a little too…dominant…in stray intervals.
My kids are so innately dramatic sometimes that they simply can’t cut it off.
I think of Jrue and Jai as two levels of the same first-year college course of parenting theater, two tiers of comedic drama that can frequently become quite the cast iron skillet, heavy and hot, to handle.
Dramedy 1101 consists of Jai and her whiny ripple of gurgling gibberish. If it is true that two-year-old girls are natural drama queens, this lady is majorly exceptional in the category. For one, she has discovered a certain appeal in perceived sadness. Unlike Jrue, Jai will go from an innocent, whimpering gripe to a full-fledged screaming match, complete with a floor fall-out, in 27 seconds. It doesn’t take much to move her: mommy turned on a song that is not appealing today; daddy called her diaper “stinky;” Jrue was walking behind her. Jai will happily play with a stuffed bear for a second, then gun it across a room in disgust, like the bear owes her money. She will commence a feet-stomping, body-spinning dance routine, but get angry if Jrue joins her in the boogie. If we instruct her to move from in front of the living room television, she will screech in meltdown. She will freak out because someone put her chair on the wrong side of her table. She shrieks because I touch her ponytail. She gets mad because she woke up on the floor six hours ago.
If I call the house while daddy is with the kids, and Jai is having what we call “a loud monologue” in the vicinity, he declares that she is just “Jai-ing” right now.
My daughter is a verb.
Likewise, Jrue “Jrues” a lot. Dramedy 1102 would be taught by my 4-year-old, but only because his language expression is slightly clearer. However, he will get into these deep conversations of introspection and existential query that seemingly go on solely for the benefit of getting it out of his head into the universe for play. And we can’t follow it…we usually have no idea where the chat is going or what the summary may be.
He just…talks. Going, going about anything. A lot.
Much more verbal with his feelings, which I’m thinking is a sign of some type of future giftedness, Jrue will blurt out that he’s “sad” or “angry,” then give 20 reasons why or just…screech: a piercing screech that will suddenly jolt Jai into a teary, squalling moment of her own. Then I’ll find myself facing two crying kids…neither of which know exactly why they’re crying. He does it more frequently, we’ve noticed, on days when he hasn’t had his speech therapy and cannot correctly convey frustration. His sister makes him a bit wildly discontented, as does a solid “no” from mommy, a lost toy car when he was just holding it, and the absence of a Happy Meal when he wants one.
If their dramatic personas are merely phases, coincidentally meshing in a simultaneous endowment from the Universe, I’m happy to ride out the transitions until the daily weeping, screeching, floor rolling, angry monologues discontinue. If they’ll eventually “grow into” their performative melodramas, in much the manner I molded into my own, well then…
We’re on our own.