Monday, March 28, 2016

How Much Effort is Too Much?

Two apparently disparate topics merged as I thought about today's blog post.

1) Clipping the Skinny Pigs' Nails

On Easter Monday, schools are closed but malls aren't. This made it possible for me to take my three skinny pig boys to the pet store to have their nails trimmed today.

Owen, the free-range pig (spoiled rotten!)

Kirby, the timid chitterer

Vanilla, the school pet (minus Chocolate, RIP)
It's quite the ordeal to catch and pack every pig in his own carrier and drive to another city to have their claws clipped. I usually need the entire family to help out with carrying a pig. Most people I know that own guinea pigs clip the nails themselves. I don't. I don't feel comfortable doing it. I worry about nicking a blood vessel, especially in the darker nails like Owen has. I don't like holding them in the way you must do to stop them from squirming and to access their paws to do the job. Yet, it's a lot of work (and frankly, much more expensive) to maintain their nails the method I use now - by paying others to do it. I know of a vet technician who is willing to come to my house to clip them on-site, but I haven't called him yet; that service is even more expensive.

2) Preparing for the Kindergarten Performance for Spring Concert

Our school's Spring Concert is scheduled for the end of April, but I've been working on the performances since February. Instead of combining all three kindergarten classes into one act, like I did for the Winter Concert, I've arranged for each class to have the stage to themselves.  In addition, their performances will combine dance, drama and music, unlike the last time when they just sang a single song. I really wanted parents to be able to see their children in a smaller group and doing various things (not just singing).
One group has a puppet theme; another class has a puppy theme. I only see the third class for music, but they will be doing a robot theme - their dance/drama teacher coordinated with me and she has been working just as hard selecting music, choreographing moves, and arranging costumes. My brother has helped me locate and purchase costumes and props for the show. One of the kindergarten teachers has been building marionette contraptions for us to use. I need to hand write a score for the music teacher to play some piano accompaniment.
Some people have said not to make such a big deal about what they are wearing or the type of music they'll perform to (live vs recorded), because they'll be adorable regardless of what they do. Part of me understands the sentiment, but a stronger part of me wants to ensure that the performance we share is well-rehearsed and appealing not just to the parents but to the entire audience.

The common link between these two events: How much effort is too much? Should I try to learn how to clip my pets' nails? Should I concern myself less with polishing the performance? Instead of considering my own opinions, I can reflect on those it directly involves - the skinny pigs and the kindergarten students. I think that the skinny pigs, although they don't like being carted out of the house to the mall and back, benefit from having someone who is confident in their handling abilities to quickly and safely cut their nails. With the kindergarten students, as long as the practices aren't onerous and the preparations-outside-the-class aren't interfering with their fun and learning, it's okay to try to make the show the best it can be. I won't panic if things don't go exactly as hoped or planned, but if I'm willing to make the effort and no one is forcing me into it, then maybe, just maybe, it's worth the drive to Pickering or worth the extra hours or cash to make it happen. Thoughts?

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