You know those times when you just NEED the children to perform for a particular reason? Perhaps you're at the in-laws and you want them to show off their ability to not pee on the toilet seat / floor / tiles. Or maybe you're passing the head teacher in the corridor and it would be most convenient if they could proclaim loudly, "Mummy, I just LOVE reading my school book with you every day." And let's not forget the times when you'd give your right eye if they would just sail past the bloody sweets at the supermarket like all of the other seemingly serene angel-children parented by inexplicably even more serene grown-ups. But do they ever perform on command? Do they heck as like.
So when I came up with an idea for my first ever You Tube video to feature my two Lads, you can understand I was a little nervous.
I chose my words very carefully when I explained to them what I needed them to do. "Right you two, I need you to do a little favour for Mummy that I think you're going to enjoy". (Bearing in mind this was after ten minutes of negotiation that they switch their bloody consoles off and speak to me like humans actually do sometimes). "I'm going to make a You Tube video . . . "
Ding! First point scored. I mentioned 'You Tube'.
"And I'd love you both to be in it. It's going to be me talking about my mindfulness teaching and I'd really love it if you two could be in the background while I'm talking, sitting still and meditating . . . "
Eyes starting to glaze over. Heads starting to droop. I needed to say something quick to get them back on board . . .
"But here's the catch - every time I turn around to talk to the camera, you are allowed to mess around behind my back . . ."
Ding! Messing around? Second point scored.
"Yes. I want you to totally mess around and have loads of fun behind my back. As if I know absolutely nothing about it. Sometimes I'll turn around to show every body watching the film how brilliant you are at meditating, so you'll need to keep an eye on me and snap back into your meditation poses as if nothing's happened . . . "
"And maybe you can use your light sabers too? That would be fun, wouldn't it?"
"It's your chance to make a total fool of Mummy. I'm going to look like I haven't got a clue what's going on . . ."
Ding ding ding ding ding . . . . jackpot!
That was it. I had them. But then Big Lad's conscience got the better of him.
"But how will people know, Mum? How will they know that really it's just a joke and that you're actually very good at teaching mindfulness?"
"Hmmm. Good question." I replied. "I am new to Devon. And people might not want to have their children taught by me if they think I'm rubbish. What do you think we could do?"
At this we all thought for a bit. Then Little Lad piped up. "We could put something in the credits at the end! We could say that it was all just meant to be fun and put a link to your website." Bless him, his cotton socks and his over-exposure to You Tube.
"Yes!" Big Lad agreed. "And we could all have a family hug at the end. You know, like to show that we're all friends really and maybe if we're smiling, people will know that it was all just an act. Because we are very good actors, remember."
"Oh we are!" said Little Lad seriously, "because our uncle is an actor and he's your brother and you made us so it's in our blood and we go to Project Performers every week and so we are really very good. People might be fooled."
"They might be," I nodded thoughtfully, loving my Lads more in that second than I could have thought humanly possible. "But maybe we should just make the video and see, eh? Maybe they'll figure it out for themselves if we do the hug and the link at the end. What do you think?"
They shouted the kiddie equivalent of 'Hell, yeah!' and I set about grabbing washing off radiators so I could film this whole concept in a part of the house that didn't look like a hovel.
We practiced once, without the iPhone rolling, and then I prayed to the gods of You Tube and Parenting and iPhones that all would be well and we just bloody well went for it. I'd trade all those times they did not perform well in the past if they'd just go for gold now. Oscar gold.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what they came up with . . .
It looks like those gods were smiling down on us.
Until the next one . . .
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Fancy seeing more of the Lads? Subscribe to my You Tube channel and I'll keep 'em coming!
For anybody who is interested, my brother the actor who gave the Lads their acting blood, is London-based Matt Pearson and he's really rather brilliant.
For those wondering about Project Performers, it's a youth theatre based in Brixham, South Devon and my Lads love it.