Monday, January 21, 2008

Singing our complaints

Yesterday, while we were cutting up pretty paper for collages, I told Astrid about the "Complaint Choirs" that started in Finland a year or so ago, and have now popped up in the UK and, interestingly, in Singapore. (I heard about these choirs on NPR....most of my significant learning about the world happens while I'm driving home from work....).

Astrid was very taken by the idea that people could get together and sing beautifully about everyday stuff that bugs them. She didn't want to try singing herself, but she did help me make a list of annoyances that I could sing about *for* her. Among them: lentil soup, chicken soup, bullies, girls who are interested only in Barbie dolls and princesses (hmmmm.....methinks the young lady doth protest too much.....), and getting ready for school on Monday mornings. Then we came up with a complaint song for each member of our family. Mine included traffic, listening to children fuss, meetings, paying bills, and having headaches....Terry's also included fussy (and arguing) children, but focused more on dirty dishes, toys on the floor, Republicans, and overflowing laundry baskets. Astrid took special delight in coming up with her brother's likely complaints: "Homework, and Weekly Essays, and Spelling, and Current Events, and cleaning his room, and taking showers, and getting up for school, and having to leave school right in the middle of Activity Time." I also liked her song for Elliot, because it captured something about Astrid's brother worship.....where his father and I know that his complaints about homework and chores are minor, manageable, and predictable, Astrid sees Elliot as someone who nobly struggles against challenges that are *almost* (but not quite) too much for him. In her eyes, because Elliot is so amazingly powerful, the challenges he faces must also be incalculably difficult.

(It's interesting that she doesn't think the same thing about the difficulties that Terry and I face. Actually, I guess her attitude provides a good reality check for us....if even a not-quite-five-year-old knows that we can handle life, I guess we can.)

No comments: