The reigning champ of the TKD talent show is Heath who just happens to be Maya's nemesis. They came up together in the program and got their black belts together. They spar against each other constantly. They have similar personalities. And I think they have a little thing for each other. Yo, if I was Maya's age, I'd be in love with this kid! Maya usually isn't shy about admitting her crushes, but they both get a hard time at the studio if they're too chummy so they keep any kind of likie likes on the down low.
But, uh, check out Heath & Maya at the holiday party not keeping their thing on the down low:
The first year Maya decided to enter the talent show, she just KNEW she had it in the bag. She did a half-assed version of some last-minute lip synch. Then Heath came up, put on some underground house music and did Euro hiphop bboy moves that dropped our jaws. Maya seethed. Especially when he won first place. She vowed to kick his butt the next year. But the next year produced similar results. This year Husband came up with the brilliant idea that I teach Maya and Mina a short merengue routine to dance together with the hopes of bringing down the house. The girls learned it quickly and practiced diligently, especially Maya who was enamored with the prospect of sticking to Heath this year. When we showed up at the party Maya rushed Heath and asked what he was going to do for the talent show. He said, "I'm not doing it this year." Maya said, "Oh great. The year I was going to beat you you're not in it." At least she's not looking for the easy win.
The girls danced really well. It kills me when their little booties swish around merengue style. They were a tad robbed with a third place finish but, feh, what are you gonna do? The Tae Kwon Do crowd is a conservative one and beating a decent violin sonata with some children shaking asses is a tough call. But here's the final dip:
Not twelve hours after this holiday party, we were getting ready for Mina's first little gymnastics event. It was more like a demo, but they called it a Mini-Olympics. Mina didn't give a shit what it was, as long as she could do fifty more cartwheels and got to get up on that beam again. The ages at the Olympics ranged from 5-7 and their outfits were as diverse as professional national team gear to full ballet tutus to pajama bottoms. Watching these kids enthusiastically show off their new skills punctuated by the classic arched pose gets me a little vklempt. Especially the ones with the pajama bottoms or the glasses or the full booty cheek hanging out of their leotard or the ones that run full speed to accept their awards with great intensity -- I love them. All participants received an award which I thought was cool. Mina did great. Only months after starting the gymnastics program she is already long on mad cartwheels and hand stand skills. I love this picture in the winner’s circle:
Immediately after the Mini-Olympics, the girls and I packed in the car and drove up to the LA Zoo to meet Mandy & Melissa for some animal holiday fun. When a zoo is boasting reindeer, you can't miss that. The reindeer pen was situated next to the entrance and as we stared at the surprisingly small animals Mina said, "Mami, these are the ones that were mean to Rudolph." Which only inspired Mandy, Melissa and I to interrogate the reindeer. "Why were you guys so mean to Rudolph, huh?" "I mean, Rudolph didn't do anything to anybody." And on and on. There was a crafts booth set up to color paper reindeer rack hats and after my girls made conservative versions, they took a red magic marker and markered their noses bright red. Cool, good idea. Rudolph Coalition in the house.
There are not a lot of things more fun to me than adding dialogue to a slice of animal life. The animals were game as there seemed to be a little love in the air at the zoo. They were territorial and few were uh, engorged with the idea of love. In the tapir pen, the male seemed to want to get his groove on and Melissa said, "Is nature about to happen right in front of us?" Mina said, "That's a boy alright." I said to the tapirs, "Could you move your nature to the back of the pen so you don't traumatize my child?" But the female tapir wasn't really having it so of course that started this voice over for the scene:
"Hey, baby let me hollar at you for a minute."
"I'm trying eat, beat it."
"Lemme just sniff your butt for a while then."
And . . .on and on.
The red ape exhibit has a new little baby. She's a big hit, and she does not disappoint. She kept climbing up the chain link fence while the mom sat feigning unconcern, but the mom would look up instinctively every three seconds. Until she couldn't take it any longer. She sighed and climbed slowly up after the baby. She pried the little monkey fingers from the fence, no easy task, and with her baby on her chest and a little arm between her lips, she climbed back down. The endearment of the scene tapped at the heart, but you could also see the frustration of a mother's constant vigil right in those mama red ape eyes.
Here are my little red-nose apes using Auntie Melissa as jumpy house: