“All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts …”
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7
I don’t know if old Will had the stage dimensions right but there’s no question my home has been over run by pint-size performers. They are the worst sort too – demanding, constantly rehearsing, and never giving me a copy of the script.
I’m mostly expected to learn by rote. The Director feeds me my lines one by one. He’s patient – repeating them endlessly. Or maybe he’s just relentless – repeating them endlessly. Either way, I’ve learned the best way to live with my 4 year old Scorsese is simply to do what I’m told.
“Mama, OK, now let’s pretend that I’m Baby Noah. I can speak and walk and it’s my birthday… I’m two.”
But before I mess up the scene with some improvisation, the Director chimes in with detailed stage directions: “OK, Mama. You come in the room and see me standing in the crib.”
(To keep things realistic, we’ve borrowed his baby brother’s room right after nap time.)
He continues: “Now, you say: ‘Oh my goodness. What a big boy you are! You can walk all by yourself and you know all the letters in the alphabet and you’re only two! I think you deserve some really yummy chocolate and maybe a new puppy too.””
Meanwhile, if baby brother isn’t given a crawl on role, he’s busy with his own act. Matéo’s the name and magic’s his game. His specialty is making things disappear: Legos, socks, remote controls… virtually anything he can get his tiny mitts on.
But, frankly, mere slight of hand is becoming kid stuff for this 15 month old artist. His newest repertoire includes a well-rehearsed act in which he seems to vanish into thin air.
Picture it: I’m in the kitchen and he’s playing nearby when suddenly a door in the hallway slams shut. (Never mind that Houdini’s grip is still about a foot below the doorknob.) Instantly, I’m transported to some razzle-dazzle game show, unsure of which of four doors conceals the grand prize–a delighted, giggling toddler. (Is it any surprise that I almost always choose the wrong door?)
Now, when Little Scorsese and Baby Houdini get together, they improvise a whole new show. The Magician attempts ever more daring feats, while his brother becomes the Master of Ceremonies, announcing each act with simultaneous awe and consternation.
“Mama! Come quick! Matéo just dipped his hand in the potty and then put it in his mouth.”
“Mama! You won’t believe what he’s doing now… he’s eating some soap!”
“Mama! Make him stop! Matéo keeps biting my fingers when I wave my hand in front of his face!”
People sometimes ask if we are planning on having any more children. But for now, I think two artists is about all we can handle. The Greatest Show on Earth has already made quite a mess of our living room.