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Saturday, March 14, 2009

I can now be hired for childrens’ birthday parties – like you would, say, get a pony or a bouncy house or a clown (but without the post-traumatic stress induced nightmares…I hope). You too, can now celebrate your child’s birthday with “Ms. Jenny.” I’m expanding my business, Little Ditties Music Academy, and am starting to market (a wee more aggressively) for the party end of my business. It’s…wait for it…Little Ditties Party! Yes, I make it sound so professional, so fancy: ‘aggressively marketing this aspect of my business’ talk. Really, it just means that I’ve doctored up my brochures and have been including them with my song coloring sheets at my library classes and soon will give them out at preschool and the Montessori school where I teach.

Word of mouth is how I get most of my business, and the libraries may be where it’s at. Last Friday, I had my first classes of a new five week session. I’ve now added one more library to my Friday class schedule. (So, wow. That means I expanded from one class on Fridays to two. Can you handle that? Do you follow? I know it’s VERY confusing.) Anyway, I’ve got a tight schedule. I end my class at the Bellevue library by 11am and then scoot to start my next class at the Lake Hills library at 11:30.

Last week, since it was our first day, the class took a little longer (I explain things a bit more thoroughly, etc.), so I didn’t get out of Bellevue until 11:05. The little gremlin-elves that live inside the traffic lights to change the color (I used to believe this, by the way) hate me apparently. (Which is just not fair as I’m the only one who knows of their existence and I’ve kept their secret quite well, thank you very much. Well, the jig is up!) They laughed with menacingly glee as they quickly scurried up their ladders to slide the red light into place as I approached. I swear it seemed like the lights were green just a second ago! What happened to yellow, for crying out loud?! Were they trying to keep me from bringing music to the toddlers of today, the Mozarts of tomorrow?!

So, with the curse of the Light Gremelves, upon me, I charge into the Lake Hills library at 11:27 for my 11:30 class. There was a very frazzled woman standing right inside the entrance with a clipboard. The moment I banged in the door (with my two huge tote bags full of instruments and boombox), she gasped, “Are you Jenny?!” Uh, what gave it away?

“Yes,” I said, “I’m so sorry. It took me longer to get here than I expected. [Damn evil little light-changing creatures]. But it only takes me a second to set-up. Is the room unlocked?”

“Yes, but that’s not what I care about,” she said, following closely on my heel. “We have a problem.”

Uh-oh. I drop my bags (Kerplunk! Clang! Bang!) down on the table in the meeting room which will soon be transformed into a magical land of musical mayhem. “Um, problem?” I ask as I plug in my stereo and start unloading my box of rhythm sticks, bag of scarves, bottle of bubble juice.

“How many people can you take in the class?” she asks frantically. The woman looked like she might pop a vein or hyperventilate or pee her pants or experience any sort of embarrassing bodily disaster.

“Well, the library takes care of all of the class registration,” I say slowly and calmly, yet firmly, like I’m talking a toddler down from a tantrum, “And the website lists the class as having room for fifteen 2-5 year olds and a parent or grown-up chaperone.”

“Yes,” she snaps, “I know that,” she nearly shouts. (OK, so what’s your question?) “The problem is that we had 15 sign-up,” (that’s a problem?), “And we have a waiting list” (ooh! That’s good! People are interested!), “and they all showed up today…everyone. The 15 AND the waiting list.” (Oh). “And there’s THIRTEEN OF THEM” (Snap), “On the waiting list. There’s THIRTEEN AND THEY’RE ALL HERE…AND SO ARE THE 15!!” (I see the problem).

I picture a crowd, an angry mob, a throng of yelling toddlers and parents banging on the library door with torches and pitch-forks. (I don’t know why, but every angry mob must have torches and pitch-forks, right?!) Or maybe they would be more the peaceful protest type – a sit-in with harmonious singing of ‘hell no, we won’t go’ set to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: “No, hell no, we won’t go; we won’t go without a show. We are here to sing and play. We are here for class today. No, hell no, we won’t go; we won’t go without a show.” (Yeah, I do that a lot…make-up words to kid tunes. I’m that good. Look, it’s what I do. It’s a gift. Don’t judge me).

“Uh, OK,” I say, stalling…thinking. Then I clear my head and say decisively, “I have enough instruments for 20. And with this room size, I’d say 20 is probably the max that we can take.”

She seems to relax a little now that we have a plan, and she leaves with the tough job of turning away 8 preschool music class wanna-be’s and their dedicated parents.

In the end, I don’t know how many people I had in the class. Every time, I turned back from the stereo or putting away instruments, the crowd seemed to have grown. People kept sneaking in the back door, but I did have ample instruments, scarves, bubbles – of course, and – thank goodness – Little Ditties Party! Brochures and songsheets. Hmm, maybe it was like our own little miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes. I was able to feed the multitude with music. Take that Light Gremlin-Elves! Ha!

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