When I was my granddaughter’s age, I used to fold my arms and stick my bottom lip out if I was annoyed or upset.
My mother used to tell me I’d trip over it (the lip).
I’d stare at her through my glassy, glaring eyes, set under furrowed eyebrows, lip in and out, cranky mood personified. It never once worked.
And now that I have been on the receiving end of other more successful cranky looks from my grandchildren, I understand there are better ways to victory.
The pouting lip was always doomed to fail.
My favourite and most successful is the kitten look, where said grandchild uses innocent, wide open, beseeching eyes, slightly moistened with an imminent tear under a raised eyebrow and quivering lip. This is extremely difficult to resist. And I have one grandchild in particular who is a master at this look, and hence master of getting what he wants.
My granddaughter has a whole arsenal of beseeching, beguiling, slightly sulky looks too, all of which I have seen at various times and mostly singly throughout her 11 years.
But recently, I witnessed the whole lot in one hour. I watched her pull out all the stops as she strutted her stuff (rather magnificently I might add – but I am completely biased) in the role of Miss Hannigan in Annie. It was a Rockitt production, a Redland musical theatre group that nurtures the Annies and the Miss Hannigans who walk among us.
My granddaughter was utterly terrifying in the role. For those who don’t know, Miss Hannigan is that dreadful, uncaring custodian at Annie’s orphanage and dislikes and often exploits her charges. Her songs include Little Girls (she hates them) and Easy Street.
I fear my granddaughter has already been type cast, as the evil, mean, nasty character. Last year, she played the naughty leader of the monkeys from the Barrel of Monkeys and later the bird who refused to hatch her eggs, going on a holiday and passing them onto a Horton the elephant to hatch instead (Seussical the Musical).
But Miss Hannigan is the best (or worst) role to date.
Miss Hannigan has brought out all the looks. There were eye rolls, and crossed arms and raised eyebrows. There was the strut and the flounce and the huff and those special looks usually only reserved in quiet spaces and mostly exclusively for her brother.
She was just a little bit scary and completely unlikeable. But also an excellent counterbalance to the gorgeousness that was Annie.
I was pleased to see my granddaughter come out of the theatre smiling. The smile took away her mean eyes and lit up her face. She was restored back to my adorable one, who actually likes other little girls and if she was a bird would most likely raise her own eggs (she loves animals and has her own birds).
I hope it’s a while before I see any more Miss Hannigan looks.