Saturday, December 03, 2011

I'm not above using this tactic again

Last night, the kids threw pennies all over the floor and were behaving otherwise atrociously. Joe, exasperated, threatened to throw away the Christmas tree if they didn't pick up the pennies.

Later, when the kids were in bed -- Theo was asleep and Melody called Joe in. He walked over to her and she said in a groggy voice,

"Daddy, when I fall asleep, please don't throw away the Christmas tree."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Because Uncle Elliot always buys them awesome PJs

Melody tells Theo about the toys she wants for Christmas.

Theo: You can get other things besides toys, like pajamas.

Melody: I already have pajamas.

Theo (with great enthusiasm): Yeah, but you can get NEW pajamas!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Melody's Secret

Upon seeing me in my new pink bra from Vicky's this morning, Melody yelled, "Mommy! I like your pink boobs!"

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

He Did It

Here is a compilation of Theo's scenes from his performance in Annie Jr. with Unity Stage Theatre Company this past weekend.

You may recall my nerves when the rehearsal process began. Can he do this? The odds seemed stacked against him. Here was a little boy with autism in a giant space with 27 typical kids who were forming instant friendships and excited about their roles in the play. Theo was eating by himself and not quite getting what he was doing...there was a point when he thought he was playing Annie (because he really wanted to!).

In the beginning, he threw chairs, ripped other kids' homework, hit his castmates. He was so lost and confused that he acted out. If he didn't get a turn in a theatre game, he cried. I asked Sofia, the director, if I could start attending rehearsals with him, and she agreed.

His behavior was so awful at the first rehearsal I saw...I knew in my heart that we had to quit the play. And I cried for three days. But I couldn't bear to call Sofia and tell her. And in case you're wondering, I couldn't bear to blog about it here, either. I talked to Joe about it all week and consulted a couple of message boards, and at the last minute, we decided to give him another shot. Maybe the hour and 45 minute rehearsals were too much for him. What if we just stayed an hour?

So we went back. This time, we had a talk before rehearsal. We went through the list of rules. "Listen, no hitting, wait your turn in games," etc. I acted as a para for him. I did my best to remain in the background, but gave him a gentle push or redirect when he needed it. The next rehearsal, Theo turned a corner. We never did need to leave early. I think that talk we continued to have before rehearsals really helped. Theo does well when prepared for what's about to happen, and when he knows what's expected of him.

As he grew comfortable with the other kids, the adults, and the teenage assistants, his behavior not only improved, he was one of most cooperative kids there. He loved the theatre games so much that he sat focused and participated beautifully. He even became one of the boys. I remember the first time I watched the boys walk over to his table and sit with him. I think I had to cover my wet face with my hair.

When he finally got to rehearse his scenes on stage, he was over the moon. It was clear how much he enjoyed it -- not just peforming, but watching. While the other kids grew restless watching scenes they weren't in, he sat spellbound.

Theo now knows theatre lingo -- scene, rehearse, props, and director, just to name a few, are words he didn't know before.

To say we're proud of him doesn't seem to convey what Joe and I experienced. All the parents were proud of their kids. But when your kid overcomes as much as Theo did to stand on stage, say a few lines and do a few dances with a big smile -- no, pride doesn't even begin to cover it.

Sunday night, we laid in bed talking about Theo's face on stage when he said his lines, finally nailing them. He was beaming. We remembered the quintessential "Hi, mom" wave he gave when he spotted us in the audience. We talked about all the people who came -- so many friends, family members, and even two of his teachers. All the people who love him and are rooting for him. And we cried, because our son inspires us. We hope this story can inspire others.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sweet Dreams

She just opened her eyes, groggily sang "QRSTUV" and went back to sleep. God, I wish I had the dreams of a 2-year-old.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

At a Local Stop and Shop...

Melody said two things that blew my mind today. One was "thank you for dinner," unprompted. The other was "My feet are fucking freezing."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bring On The Chiffon

In response to the NYT article on the book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter":

I did a college paper comparing the early Disney princesses to the later ones. They made significant strides. Snow White and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) were both pretty pathetic, so in comparison, Cinderella is pretty badass. The princes were just as vacuous as the princesses as far as I'm concerned. Really, none of the characters were very developed. The villains were evil for no reason beyond basic jealousy. That doesn't make me love those early movies any less--they were beautifully drawn, and the music--wow. I can watch the movies a million times, because they are classic and wonderful and frozen in time.

Fast forward to the Golden Age of Disney, 1989 to late 90s. The heroines were strong-willed, independently-thinking. Pocahontas kicks a whole lot of ass--what a gorgeous film that sadly no one talks about. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture. Mulan, Jane in Tarzan, Nala, Jasmine. Not Disney, but princess Anastasia--these are all characters I'll be proud for my daughter to watch.

My wedding dress looked a little like Ariel's. And my daughter and Ariel's daughter share the same name--Melody. So yeah, I never grew out of the princess phase. I grew up with the movies, knew all the songs, memorized the dialogue. But I also killed bugs, climbed trees, played on basketball and soccer teams and wore only boys clothing for two years. The key is to make sure our kids are well-rounded. For the record, my son loves Sleeping Beauty and asked for a SB doll for Xmas. We got one for him.

My neverending quest to get skinny is not at all princess related. It's Hollywood related. :)

When it comes to female role models and body image, I think we have much bigger problems than princesses. Scantily clad pop stars and actresses, models, know what I mean.

If anything, emulating princesses helps little girls feel beautiful in those early years. What's wrong with that? They'll have the rest of their lives to hate their nose, their zits, their muffin tops--why not let them enjoy these years of feeling pretty?

I say bring on the chiffon.