Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cultural Embarrassment #4

(Note: My parents are flying in from the states tomorrow so I'll be off having fun with them through the end of the month. Sorry, I don't expect I'll have the time to get on the computer, let alone write a blog, with all that we have planned. When we come back I'll have stories and pictures to share of our adventures throughout Germany and the famous Efteling Amusement Park. Until then I leave you with another of my infamous cultural embarrassments.)

We were in the midst of winter when I was finally starting to feel my soul settle into it's new friendships and surroundings. Spider Monkey was settled into school with her many friends and Squirrel Monkey was living up her new freedom in the big world of being a schoolgirl. The school sends home bimonthly newsletters with so much text I normally skim it for only the most important details. Those which seemed to pertain specifically to my children I would pull out my translation dictionaries and piece together in detail. It was through one of these that I was informed the school was having a Disco Night. My thoughts were still mainly full of various bureaucratic loopholes we still found ourselves squeezing through so the finer details of the night were put on the procrastination shelf. I memorized "Disco" and the times which Squirrel Monkey and Spider Monkey were to arrive as each class took their turns kicking it up on the school dance floor. My man was still taking his Dutch lessons and knew he would be missing out on the big event. I was on my own.

The days slipped by and before I knew it the night of the Disco was upon me. Disco, disco, disco? Think, think, think . . . Surely I'll be able to make something up for that theme; those styles were really in last summer in the states. I didn't have anything full of beads or sequins, but I did have a few hippie-style children's cloths we'd brought with us from the states. Same decade, right? And, hey, what other kid would be able to say they had disco era cloths from the states at the party? My kids were going to be the coolest on the dance floor. Squirrel Monkey didn't balk a bit with her outfit, but that could have been it was her only lapse in the sudden onset of illness during the day. I rushed her off to her dance time and returned home to put the final touches on Spider Monkey's outfit. She was wearing bell bottom jeans, layered shirts in the appropriate fashion, beaded necklace, barefoot, and to top it all off, one of dads funky paisley ties wrapped around her head as a headband. She looked so hip!! I was so proud of my handiwork that I was grinning ear-to-ear as I held up a mirror in front of her. She took one look and and wanted to run the other direction. "Mom! I look like everyone is going to laugh at me!"

"Don't be silly," I assured. "You're going to be the coolest looking kid in the group. No one is going to be as authentically dressed as you."

Time was of the essence so I dragged her skidding across the living room floor and grabbed both hands so she couldn't brace herself across the threshold of the doorway and into the chilly night air we ran. She pouted the whole way, convinced she looked too silly to be seen. I explained to her for the 5th time that a Disco was a really fun type of dance when her grandparents were young and frequenting the dance floor themselves and this is what people used to wear back then. "I promise, anybody who is anybody will be dressed just like you tonight."

But those silly parents didn't stick to the theme of the dance! All those cute little girls were running around wearing princess costumes just like the one Spider Monkey had begged to wear with pearls around their wrists and glitter in their hair. I had forgotten to bind those hands at the door of the school and now Spider Monkey was putting up a great fight. I convinced her that I needed to go in and get her sister and wouldn't she like to see her sister dancing? The minute she was within the building she found a corner behind the piano and hid. Still, convinced I was not the only one who would stick to the theme, I again promised her she would have other hippie companions arriving shortly and even if she didn't she'd be the envy of all those kids who didn't have "real" American cloths. It was convincing enough that I could pry the kid out of the corner and push her out onto the dance floor where she joined in dances with all of the little princesses, pirates, and princes regardless of the paisley tie wrapped around her head and the beads around her neck.

Have you guessed yet that the Dutch word for a dance is "disco". It was not a theme, it was just a dance. Will that poor kid ever let me live it down? Will she dare go to another "Disco" ever again? My husband stands convinced that she was surely the coolest kid on the floor anyway, just because she was so . . . "unique".