Miss Direction

Siegfried and Roy, in all their tiger-taming glory, taught me misdirection, another bit of trickery I use. Misdirection is the deception of the audience. Siegfried/Roy grabs the audience’s attention to some red herring area, while Roy/Siegfried pulls a fast one while they’re distracted. I do not have a partner in crime, so I must perform this trick solo. Now why would an Austin keeper-of-children need misdirection in her bag of tricks? Lemme tell ya. When the kiddos are too young to be left alone, even for a three-minute trip to the bathroom, I am obliged to take them everywhere, and I mean everywhere, with me. Toddlers are like skinny chefs—they cannot be trusted (I’m watching you, Giada). But it only takes a child telling you once in a swimming pool family changing room, “Miss Cheryl, I love your nipples,” for you to scan your brain frantically to find a way to NEVER have it happen again. And so I tell the children to count the ceiling tiles as I change into my suit, ask them “What’s that over there?” when using the water closet, and Voila! It works. When they respond, puzzled, to one of my outbursts, “There wasn’t a unicorn in the shower!” I just reply sheepishly, “Oh, it must have just been a regular horse.”

A Spoonful of Sugar

We all recall the scene in Mary Poppins in which Julie Andrews helps the children tidy up the nursery. With a crisp snap of her fingers, the children’s clothes fly into the closet, their toys onto shelves. It’s AWESOME. But even though I will lay claim to such magical abilities as potty-training a child over the weekend (while his parents are out of town), getting veggies into the bellies of the most adamant verde-haters, and making nappers out of naysayers, I do not profess to have Mary’s mystical abilities. Instead I employ my own version of “Spoonful of Sugar” (better suited to those of us without lightning bolt scars on our foreheads) that transforms otherwise mundane tasks into flights of fancy.

Read the rest of this entry »