Over the past two days I've had two separate, yet similiar conversations with two friends. Both involved them telling me they thought I'd be good with kids. One as a teacher, the other as a "good influence"... of course this is all in the abstract as I'm really not so great with kids.
I'm fairly patient, and I can be fun with them... but after about an hour I can't sustain it and will invariably say something "too adult" or maybe I'll tell some poor kid that Peter Pan is being played by a woman.
True exchange between myself and 6 year old Maya during a performance of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby (who was really wonderful) which I attended at the request of my best friend (their teacher) to assist as a chapareone.
Me: Wow, she's amazing.... she looks really convincing as Peter considering she's what... a 50 year old lady, huh?
Maya: WHAT? You mean Peter Pan is a GIRL?
Size 8 to the mouth.
I may as well have handed her a cigarette and a shot of whiskey. I just FORGET they're kids sometimes... Even as a kid I spent more time with adults than with other children, so it's just ... I forget, okay?
I do feel pretty bad about disillusioning Maya, but I have to say that almost a year after the fact she still refers to me as Joy, You know the one who told me Peter Pan was a woman... and she says it with a sort of pride. Which I admire. And Maya is also my one and only fan. She actually has an autographed 8x10 of me in her room. Odd? Sure, but I guess it proves my friends right... I do have some kind of influence on kids.... maybe not the best influence, but influence nonetheless. And I figure when she's an adult, if she still remembers me, she'll have herself a good laugh at the crazy lady who sat with her class during Peter Pan and blew Peter's cover. And after all, it's not like I said anything about Santa Claus!