So it was going to happen at some point – last night my two worlds (or maybe I should say two of my worlds) collided in public view!
I’m a singer as well as a mum and we had a gig at the ‘Real Food Harvest Festival’ outside the South Bank Centre. The Bear-cub is usually in bed when I have a gig and mostly I arrive late for sound check having done make-up in the car on the way, squeezed in some ridiculously high-heels, and hope that none of the audience would guess less than an hour before I was singing ‘Wheels-on-the-bus’ and bargaining with my two-year old to get out of the bath! However, on this occasion the gig was in the late afternoon and on the beautiful South Bank which I love both vibe and view. So with toddler in tow I thought it would be nice for him to see mummy sing. We’d been at a wedding the day before and he’d danced the night away in his kilt (a whole other blog!) so I’d assumed/hoped he’d do the same while we performed. But, I should have remembered the rule – if you plan your day and especially for your little one to do something in particular they will of course sense it and do the complete opposite. What’s it called again? Ah, yes: Sod’s Law!!!!!
It had already been a crazy journey on the over-ground train to Waterloo with said toddler landing his plane on various strangers heads while mummy attempted to apply make up in order to make illusion/transformation from mum to professional singer! I’d already forgotten my Mac and Clinique make-up and all I could find was ‘Hello Kitty’ make-up – yes really – Hello Kitty make-up at a professional gig! We arrived early and Bear-cub consumed an entire posh cup cake, ice cream and falafel in 15 minutes flat and all seemed to be going to plan. Then it was our turn to perform and I placed Bear-cub with a friend and went to the stage informing friend casually over my shoulder, as I quickened my step, ‘He’ll be fine, he’ll start dancing once the music starts’. But no, how silly of me to think the juggling balls could stay in the air and impress/convince the general public that I was the ultimate literal all-singing-all-dancing-modern-mum! Bear-cub instantly decided to have a meltdown screaming ‘I want to sing on stage with you mummy!’ and I knew it was one of those that could not be bargained away – besides I’d used up all my trump cards with cupcake and ice-cream all ready administered!
So the only option was to relent to bear-cub’s request and I performed a 40-minute set with my band holding my 2-year old’s hand on stage throughout!!! To say I was slightly distracted during the show would be an understatement and at points I wondered if I was even singing in tune let alone singing the right words. Bear-cub however, was in his element twisting and gyrating like a mini Justin (Timberlake, not Bieber or Fletcher) and we just about pulled it off. There were of course a few a hairy moments when Bear-cub started holding his willy and I was expecting a puddle to appear on the stage at any moment. But, no such disaster happened – I think he may have just been doing a Michael Jackson impression! Another moment was when Bear-Cub decided to break-dance during the last track and attempt some kind of head-spin (no word of a lie) but I managed to grab the microphone stand, keep it from falling and keep smiling as if it was so sweet and planned and not stressful in the slightest.
What was interesting was seeing people’s reactions when they gathered round the stage to listen to us and spotted a pint-sized member of the group. Some would laugh and point, some would push their kids to the front for a dance and some would frown. My friend in the audience afterwards told me how she overheard one mum tut and comment to her husband how awful it was that I was ‘making’ my child stand on stage with me during a gig!! This mummy was either jealous, has a child who willingly complies to her every wish or simply has no sympathy for single parents who are still trying to live their dreams and still be a great mum – oh well! I still managed to get Bear-Cub home and in bed for 8pm, collapse on the sofa and celebrate with a rum and a coke. The collision of two worlds, rather than being a disaster of global proportions, was merely unexpected fireworks that made some beautiful colours in my view – at least that’s what I’m telling myself!