A few weeks ago, seduced by a great sale, I bought a couple of those nifty little Flip digital video cameras. One for my kids, who have dreams of their web show (thanks a lot, iCarly), one for me because, well, hello? They were $40. That’s too good to pass up. Of course I need one. Duh.
I have no plans for vlogging, mind you. I have serious photo phobia issues. I have to breathe into a paper bag when someone tags me in a picture on Facebook. I threaten to attend all real-life meetings with online friends in a shirt explaining “I’m cuter on the Internet.”
But on the back porch, there’s been a show worth sharing. It’s hummingbird migration season in South Texas, and the porch feeder has been the theater of operations for some great aerial battles. Hummingbirds’ delicate beauty belies their territorial nature, and when two of them show up at the same time, the air ballet that ensues is fascinating.
The children, on the other hand, have bigger plans for their shared Flip Cam.
Yesterday after school, they went marching out in the backyard with it: son touting toy pistols holstered to his sides, daughter in a dress and blond wig, carrying the dog and a magic wand.
Perhaps I should have seen the creative differences coming.
Of course they were back in the house yelling at each other and demanding a referee within 5 minutes. Artistic collaboration is brutal when you’re trying to get Clint Eastwood and Glinda the Singing Good Witch in the same production.
So we talked, and they stood their ground and continued the impasse with “you never let me” and “you don’t listen” and “fine we won’t even MAKE a movie then.”
And during all this, the hummingbirds zoomed back past the porch, and I interrupted the peace talks to have them watch, and tried for a teaching moment.
“You know what I think is funny about the hummingbirds? That even though there are plenty of seats on the feeder, and plenty of sugar water to feed them both, they spend all their time dive-bombing each other and neither one of them ever gets anything. I just wish I could explain to them how silly that is.”
A flicker of understanding crossed my daughter’s face. So I went in for the parenting gold.
“You know, hummingbirds kind of remind me of some kids I know and their Flip cam.”
And at this great insight, my daughter hurled herself onto the couch.
“UGH! I HATE those freaking hummingbirds now! Just tell him I’m right!!!!”
And my son announced, “I’m going to play Legos.”