Tuesday, September 15, 2009

big kid

My son, the would-be actor/comedian/general goofball, was offered the chance to do a 2-minute opening gag at David Cross's Portland show next week. We first got an e-mail a few weeks ago saying they specifically wanted a 10-year old who was good at imitations and had stage presence, and they were paying $100 plus 4 tickets [for grown-ups] to the show. Mason was ecstatic about the opportunity. We watched some of David's kid-appropriate videos and made contact with the promoter who would be our liaison. P.S. We were told that even though the show would be Adults Only, Mason's bit would be "clean."

Fast forward to this past Sunday when we got an e-mail from the very nice promoter Dan at Square Peg Concerts that let us know "the kid part has some adult lines." Hey, I'm a forward-thinking, alternative-school teaching bad mom, no? I replied that some innuendo and/or mild language would be acceptable but could we please have a peek at a script? Very nice promoter Dan sent the bit back with the ominous heading "Here it is...".

I am not one for sheltering my children from life's realities. I do not hyperventilate over words. I do feel it is important to allow kids to make their own decisions in matters that directly affect them [not life or death, of course, but comedy - though hard - is not life or death; it's a job].

And so. Even though as we read through the lines and cringed a few times, particularly at the parts that included the f-bomb, bitch, and a**holes, Stu & I agreed to let Mason decide if this was an endeavor he felt worth taking. Since he got home from Scouts close to bedtime, we explained the situation and told him he could read the e-mail and make his decision in the morning. But our boy was conflicted without even reading it; he tossed and turned then started crying, unable to sleep. When I went in to calm him and asked what was on his mind, he wailed "I don't know what to do!" Our almost-11 year old "Don't kiss me in front of friends" middle schooler needed me to take this off his shoulders. I hugged him, said I could tell it wasn't in his heart, and assured him that was okay. In fact, better than okay - it takes a big person to walk away from fame and cash in exchange for peace of mind & dignity.

Though it makes me wonder if I should have been the bigger person and made the call for my kid in the first place.


Shana said...

I am going to write a really profound comment when I am not slightly drunk, because I have a lot to say about this. You did everything right.

katydidnot said...

you are such a good bad mom.

perfectly done.

and i'm totally coming back tomorrow to see shana's nondrunk comment.

i think you were totally right to let him decide and then read the situation and your son right and took it off his shoulders.

good move, bad mom.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Can I please just say something?

F**k those a**holes who told you Mason's bit would be "clean."

They are big a**holes for sure.

This was a good lesson for Mason, because it taught him to always do what Mom and Dad do - to communicate clearly and ask questions and verify shit. It was worth it for him to have that upset.

This was the best teachable moment ever, and you and Stu get an A+ with extra credit in my book.

Shana is right - you did everything perfectly. You gave Mason an opportunity to exercise his own judgement, and be involved in the decision making on something important to him. When it turned out to be a little too hard for him to handle alone, you showed him that you are ready to support and help him - that you respect and love him and will protect him if he's uneasy about something.

Did I mention f**k Cross' people for putting you in this position?
As our President would say, they are real jackasses.

Unknown said...

You are an awesome mom! Sounds like you handled everything just right.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I stand with the good people ^ before me.

I'm so impressed with each of you.

LarryG said...

gee bad mom,
you really didn't live up to your moniker here did you?
but how about that - you have passed some very special "bad" to your son!
"Bad" enough now that those who claim to be bad can't knock him off his game! that is very COOL!

Jen on the Edge said...

I think it was good that you let Mason have a part in the decision-making process because it helped him figure out what's more important to him -- fame or dignity. He chose well.

And who in the H*** expects a 10 year old to use that kind of language?!?

I cannot wait to see what Shana has to say about this tomorrow.

Cheryl said...

Absolutely perfect. My boy's the same age, and recently made a similar integrity-showing decision. I have never been so proud of him in my life, and he earned SO much trust in my eyes. Because someday soon, when someone's dangling drugs, alcohol, etc. in his face? I have a huge increase in the faith that he'll make the right decision.

Ami said...

Nothing to add except that you showed tremendous respect for your son and his judgment. He'll remember that and will be able to make other tough decisions because of it.

Excellence in Parenting Award to Bad Mom!!!

brandy101 said...

He sounds like an amazing kid!

Initially I thought it was just one f-bomb but a string of foulness? yech...

I am now really po*d that some so-called *comedy* writer thought that would be funny for a kid to say.

Good job, Bad Mom.

shrink on the couch said...

Fantastic Forrest said what I wanted to say. What a liar. To woo parents and their kids under false pretenses. What else would they deceive about? I would have been tempted to say "hell no you effing manipulative fraud" just on principle.

And on a different note, I'm curious, what exactly your little guy was deliberating. I can imagine a host of worries but I do wonder which parts gave him the most anxiety. Mom and Dad seeing me on stage while other actors drop the F-bomb? Feeling nervous about the entire idea of being on stage with adult actors? But it's interesting to see where a kid's mind goes with a thing like this.

Alison said...

I agree with those who said you were right to let him mull it over, but to take it off his shoulders when it was stressing him out. I'm sure he will never forget this experience and how you helped him decide.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Wow--to him getting chosen, to him making that choice, to you letting him have a say.

WTF? To the people wanting to give those lines to a child.


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