Into the Woods of Motherhood

woods

Lisa Helmi Johanson and Anthony Chatmon II as Little Red and the Wolf

My favorite musical is “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. I had the fortune of playing Little Red in high school and also wrote my college paper about how Sondheim had taken bits of music history (Wagner’s leitmotifs being my favorite) and wove it throughout the score. He also wove all the major fairy tales we learned as children into one big, dark and intriguing tale.

My mother’s day gift was to see the national tour of Fiasco’s staging of Into The Woods at the Ahmanson Theater. My darling husband surprised me with 4th row seats (swoon) and I was skeptic but excited about the production. They had scaled it down visually and made it more abstract in appearance. The characters sat in chairs around the stage and played instruments when they were not active on the stage. I thought it could be awful and perhaps my favorite, over the top, musical would be ruined.

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It was wonderful. Without the big production to sidetrack my senses, I focused on the story more than I ever had. It was the first time I had viewed the show since becoming a mother, and really a true adult. If you haven’t seen it, the story is that all of the characters have a big wish for life. They have to venture into the woods (a metaphor for life) to try and “get their wish”. By the end of the first act, they each achieve that wish. The second act is about what happens when your wish isn’t everything you thought it would be. Sound familiar?

I desperately wanted at least 2 children. We had fertility problems. This is a major theme in the musical. I could identify…. I saw the Baker and his wife confused about how to care for a baby once their dream was realized. This hit home with me. My tiny T is a handful with big dreams and feelings these days and I struggle with how to firmly yet kindly manage his wishes and desires. I have been working on how to mother him and feeling inadequate about my progress. I felt so invigorated after seeing my favorite show through fresh, time travelled eyes. My least favorite song in the show has always been “Children Will Listen.” I did not see how it fit with the story. I thought it was a pretty song woven in for beauty’s sake. This time, it brought tears to my eyes. How could I not have understood before? The entire show is about how to navigate through the woods of life and whether you choose the good, bad, easy or hard path. What can be more relevant in that plot line than guiding a child?

Today for mother’s day, I am going to reflect upon these lyrics. I have already lost my temper when my tiny boy refused to sit through church. I could have been gentler. I could have focused on the gift and card he made me and gave me with such a glow in his eyes. I could have let it go instead of telling him how frustrated I was. Because they always listen and they feel so deeply.

Thank you dear husband for that beautiful gift. I will share the lyrics with you mamas out there who may need the same reminder I did.

children will listen

CHILDREN WILL LISTEN

How do you say to your child in the night?
Nothing’s all black, but then nothing’s all white
How do you say it will all be all right
When you know that it might not be true?
What do you do?

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn

To learn what to be
Careful before you say “Listen to me”
Children will listen
Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free

Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes a spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen

How do you say to a child who’s in flight
“Don’t slip away and I won’t hold so tight”
What can you say that no matter how slight
Won’t be misunderstood.
What do you leave to your child when you’re dead?
Only whatever you put in it’s head
Things that your mother and father had said
Which were left to them too

Careful what you say
Children will listen
Careful you do them too
Children will see
And learn
Guide them, but step away

Children will glisten
Tamper with what is true
And children will turn
If just to be free
Careful before you say
“Listen to me”
Children will listen

***I pulled pictures off the web from the Fiasco Tour’s Website. Some of the characters and cast have rotated roles or out of the show, but it gives you an idea of the feel of the show.

Part 2, or the Thrifty Girl’s Guide to a Healthy Tan

In the wise words of my favorite Pi Phi sister, “tan fat looks better than white fat.”  Here, here!  While I am below my pre-baby weight, I’ve got a shake with my fries and a tan body fakes what is not quite back yet.  I have tried most self-tanners available and always have a complaint about them; be it the color, application, or price.  My husband has had a universal complaint about all of them.  See, I like to put it on before I go to bed.  When I wake up, it’s kind of like Christmas.  I run to the light to see if there’s something shiny and new on my legs.  My husband’s complaint is that I come to bed smelling like cat urine after I apply it.  He has a point, but I like a J Lo glow.  Another issue….lotion that is tricky to blend.  I tried a new kind before a trip to Las Vegas and I ended up looking like I had leprosy on my ankles and wrists.   The only reason I even remotely enjoy Vegas is for the pools, and it took a new kind of confidence to waltz around a communal watering hole looking like I had a contagious disease.

Now that you know more than you wanted to know, I get to the exciting part.

I have found the PERFECT self-tanning foam.

tanning foam

It is Rodan + Fields Essentials Foaming Sunless Tan.  It goes on weightless, stays weightless, and blends into your skin better than ANY other kind I have tried.  It has a natural brown and not orange color, and the best part?  IT DOES NOT SMELL.  There is a slight scent to it, but it dries without the terrible cat urine odor.  In theory, you could put this on in the morning before work, and go for cocktails at night with a fantastic glow.  I’m in love.  Because there is a Debbie Downer at every party, the price on this beauty is not wonderful.  It’s $24, which is average for a higher end brand, but with shipping and handling (what even is handling in 2013??), it comes out to $38.  I got in on a flash sale where I got 2 for 1, so it was price friendly.  Even at the higher cost, it is much more economical than airbrushing, and the product is simply the best.  I am finally satisfied.  Why I did not take these pictures standing up is befuddling, but here are before and after pictures.

pale leg leg

If you too would like a J Lo glow with a fool proof application, here are a couple of reps who can get you going  with it and some of their other favorite products!

Ali Buckley:

https://alibuckley.myrandf.com

” Sign up as a PC (preferred customer) and pay a one time $19.95 fee, get free shipping for life and 10% off your regularly scheduled orders (min $80 every 60 days…but it can be ANY products at all.  You don’t have to get the same thing auto shipped every 2 months).  I recommend the micro derm jar (under essentials).  I’ve really never used anything like it.  I also use our Redefine regimen daily and I used Reverse for several months and it got rid of my sun damage. (PS these products are GREAT for men too).”

Monica Higgins (Kingery for any WHS readers):

https://monicahiggins.myrandf.com

Tanning foam is here: https://monicahiggins.myrandf.com/Shop/Product/ESST125

My favorite products are the Redefine Regimen (https://monicahiggins.myrandf.com/Shop/REDEFINE),

  Night Renewing Serum (https://monicahiggins.myrandf.com/Shop/Product/AASR060),

and the Multi Function Eye Cream (https://monicahiggins.myrandf.com/Shop/Product/AAEY015).

“The Redefine Regimen reminds me of getting a facial. I miss facials!  Now I feel like I treat myself to a mini spa-facial every night and morning in just a few minutes. The Night Serum is seriously liquid gold. I’ve never put anything so luxurious on my face. It’s amazing. AND it fights the aging process! The eye cream is really light and smells amazing.”