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  • Viva Sarah Press

Grapes of Wrath (Clowning and Parenting)

The tweenager woke up angry.

Everyone was to blame.

Her youngest brother “took” her spot on the couch. Even though she had vacated said spot about 15 minutes prior.

She didn’t like that her other brother had a spot while “hers” was nowhere in sight.

No, she would not sit in another spot on the couch.

She brought her wrath to the breakfast table.

So, I asked her to explain her feelings so that we could all move on from her irritation to a more pleasant atmosphere.

But she was stuck in a rut of touchiness.

So, I took some grapes from the fruit plate and as she explained her view of the morning’s dealings, the grapes were moved in accordance.

She wanted her feelings validated. I was only too happy to do that. It was a game of ‘yes and’. Yes, you’re angry and let me add to your anger (although, my additions to her story may have been slightly ridiculous and exaggerated – after all, when Oshi, my clown alter ego, joins in on parenting, silliness is par for the course).

In fact, during a podcast on educational clowning, I was asked how Oshi and Viva intermingle. I explained that Oshi has definitely influenced how Viva deals with situations differently.

So, back to the table. After a few grape improvisations, the angry tweenager accepted that her story had been told. In the way she felt it should be told.

I confirmed that she was done her line of reasoning. And then I ate the grapes.

But she’s a tweenager. And she continued to show crossness (although smirks were peeping through her cross face).

So, I noted that her narrative had already been explained, she had accepted the grape improvisation, and because I ate them, the story was now over. And if the story was over, so was her crankiness.

She laughed. Not because she wanted to laugh. She did not want to let her mom get the victory point.

But there was no arguing that her mom had eaten the grapes of wrath.

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