Monday, April 24, 2006

Tiny Dancer, or, A Diva in Diapers

On Saturday, we went to a surprise birthday party for my sister-in-law, whose age will be withheld for reasons of family comity. Her husband rented out the fire station where he volunteers, hired a band, had it catered, and really did a nice job of organizing a party for a HUGE Irish family. (The downside to marrying into a HUGE Irish family chock-full of ridiculously-attractive people: it’s hard not to feel like a mutant. The upside: they’re way too upbeat and sociable to mind.)

All four of us went. The Boy had a great time, taking to the dance floor with his girl cousins, showing off his patented ‘Grand Mal’ moves, and displaying a complete lack of self-consciousness that I often wish I could recover. (Among other things, he independently discovered Pete Townshend’s ‘windmill’ move, which is singularly unsuited for the dance floor.) The girls were good sports, even dancing with him when, in the words of one, “eeewww- you’re so sweaty!”

But The Girl stole the show.

The Girl, or Miss Thang, as I may have to start calling her, spent the first hour or so of the party going from grandparent to aunt to uncle to grandparent, basking in the attention. Then she discovered the dance floor.

The band had a pretty good bar band/cover band sound, focusing mostly on danceable 70s and early 80s chestnuts. (“That’s What I Like About You” was about as contemporary as they got.) The Girl went onto the dance floor by herself, and just started bouncing up and down, immediately finding the beat. She stayed out there whether there were other people with her or not. At a few points, The Wife tried to dance with her, but The Girl pushed her away. She was doing her own thing, thank you very much.

For someone who isn’t yet two years old, she has a dance-floor presence of a true diva. As the evening continued, the other adults started noticing her, and she attracted quite a following among the younger Moms. One teenage cousin’s boyfriend tried to dance with her, doing some cheesy moves while bending down to her level; she blew him off. (It warmed this Dad’s heart.) Some of the Moms danced with her a bit, which she tolerated, but it didn’t bother her in the least just to do her own thing.

The show-stopper was during an unpopular song, when all of the adults had left the floor. The band was still playing, and TG was still bouncing. The guitarist came out onto the floor, still playing, and started bouncing right along with her. She kept right on going, synchronized with him, as adults quickly ran to the floor with cameras. He was almost doing a duck-walk to get to her level, and she just kept on doing what she was doing, laser-beam focused on the guitarist. I’ll admit to having disturbing visions of her at sixteen giggling “I’m with the band,” but she was having sooo much fun that it felt churlish to do anything but watch with a big goofy smile.

As we left, the band waved to her, and she waved back. A few Moms even had their pictures taken with her.

When we got home, she didn’t fight the trip to the crib, which is unusual. True to form, though, she woke up at about 3:30 a.m., pitching a diva fit worthy of the ages. I think she finally realized she was home.

I had thought The Girl was placid and serene. Turns out she’s just bored, a party animal waiting for something exciting to happen. Who knew?

The teen years could be scary. But for now, Miss Thang is a delight. You go, Girl!