Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Critical Mom's Experience of Weltkindertag or World Children's Day

"Hey," said my daughter, "It's Weltkindertag!" (The German word for "World Children's Day").   An indignant look crosses her face:  "You didn't buy us presents!"  Her big brothers chimed in, explaining that it's not like a birthday, it's just a fun day for kids with games and balloons and performances.  World Children's Day has so many incarnations in so many countries that it barely resembles its original purpose, when it was established by the UN General Assembly back in 1954 to prevent or at least limit child labor and to offer all children access to an education.   That perennially recurring effort--currently appearing as CNN's Freedom project, a far more ambitious endeavor aimed at almost every abuse under the sun, is laudable, but who can stop China?  Is it remotely possible for an economy to grow at the fantastic rate of China without the assistance of every abuse under the sun?  These thoughts were not on the minds of my children, who clamored to be taken to the local park for a dose of food and entertainment.   At our first stop, the band shell, a well-intentioned dance performance was taking place.  I was curious to see my daughter's reaction, that is, whether she'd know to comment separately on costumes, music, choreography, acting ability, and dance technique, and when, after the first number, she wrinkled a nose and cocked an eyebrow, I saw that she'd become as critical as me.  Which in this case was a good idea: she's developed a discriminating taste.  
"Mommy, they weren't even pointing their feet."  Yes, I agreed, but they were smiling, and the costumes were nice, and they did move well to the music.  Her expression showed plainly Yes, but why stop at that when you can also do it all with technique?  She just passed her Royal Academy of Dance exam with distinction, and she knows whereof she speaks.   For me it's nice that she can tell the difference between all of these things, and notice that the performers had a lovely sense of being onstage, and could act even if they couldn't do much with classic dance technique.  Besides, she got to see variety:  jazz dance, Hungarian folk dance, and a cute little number to the Mary Poppins "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in which a girl from her school class danced.  My ten year old son, meanwhile, had wandered off to see a juggler who could juggle twenty balls, said my son, while telling off-color jokes--my son wouldn't repeat them but his hand gestures suggested something he wasn't supposed to know about, and that he'd encountered just the type of personality that World Children's Day is supposed to Keep Away From Children.  I advised my son to come and get me the minute he sees anything like that and he rolled his eyes:  "Mommy, the other parents were giving him dirty looks."  We saw another juggler, had some plum cake with cream followed by pizza, rode a contraption that takes a swing on a pulley along a metal wire, got to see Venus fly traps and creatures the size of several grasshoppers that Hagrid might have pulled out of the woods near Hogwarts, and on the way home everyone remained in a very good mood--and that was the best part of World Children's Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment