Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hello, here we go, it's the Wiggles' Show!

We had an awesome time on Friday taking the boys to see the Wiggles in concert. They tend to do international tours every two to three years and so the timing worked out perfectly where both the boys love the show right now. We had three adults to take care of the two boys and I'll admit that I was nervous about the whole thing. Yes, they love the Wiggles and their music but would they get overwhelmed in the arena? Would they be willing to stay in their seats (as opposed to wanting to run on the stairs or try and get on stage)? Would Alex get upset if they played a song he didn't like? There were a lot of unknown factors but I decided it was worth it to give a try.

I could not be happier with how things went. They were a little bored with waiting but we let them wander around the arena, which made them happy. Nathan made several circuits, including right up to the stage. Avi bought them each a lightstick to wave around and a little plush Big Red Car. (The BRC was a big hit with Alex, he cuddled it throughout the entire concert.)

Once the first notes of "Toot, toot, chugga, chugga" started, Alex's face just lit up and he started jumping up and down in front of his seat with a huge grin on his face. He was singing along and dancing and it was just so wonderful to see. Nathan was a little more uncertain but he was just as excited. Both of them looked a little confused at first that the Wiggles were right there (as opposed to being confined to the TV screen). But they got over that pretty quickly.

The show was fantastic, a lot of acrobatics and they covered a lot of their classic favourites. My personal favourite moment (other than toot, toot) was when they did Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and dimmed all the lights and had the kids waving their lightsticks and adults waving cell phones and a dim blue light sparkling around from a disco ball in the ceiling. It looked really beautiful and wonderful. I only have two very minor complaints. They didn't do a lot from the "Go Bananas" album, which is the newest one and has some real favourites of the boys. And when Murray and Sam came into the audience to say hi to the kids, they both were one aisle over from where we were, so the boys didn't get to say hi.

Alex actually watched Murray the entire time, tracking him with a hopeful grin. We had to hold on to both boys to keep them from running out to tackle the man. I feel a little guilty because at first he stopped at a large open area on the floor and several children approached him. I didn't let the boys go down because I thought he would come up right past us.

You can tell from watching them that they all really love kids and really love what they do. Everyone was having a good time. They took the time to read all of the signs that kids made and collected cards and flowers and pointed out the kids in costume. It really touched me to see how devoted they all are. And it was nice to see them doing some improvisation around the few mistakes that were made. It was very relaxed, very fun.

I made Wiggles' shirts for the boys, which delighted them both. I hand copied the Wiggles' logo onto construction paper and coloured it in. Then Mom sewed the paper to red turtlenecks that I had (I ran out of time so she graciously agreed to do it). The boys were very excited when they saw them. Alex immediately wanted to put on his "Wiggle shirt". He even asked for it again today but the paper didn't survive the night. I'll have to see about making some iron-on decals for them. Nathan even let us change his shirt without a protest. It's the first time in months that's happened.

I'm so proud of them and I'm so glad they had a good time. I know that there's a good chance that Alex will actually remember this. I hope so. Right now, I know that I'm the best Mom in the world in their eyes. And I think that it counts as their best day ever.

Alex asked today to go to the Wiggly concert and I had to tell him no, that it was just one day, a special occasion. They've both been singing the music all day and dancing around.

I don't know if I can express how much of an achievement this is. How badly this could have gone. It gives me a lot of hope and frankly, it was a rare occasion to share something that they truly love. A rare opportunity to make them happy. The sort of blissful happy joy that children are supposed to experience. This was a huge, huge deal and it means a lot to all of us.

The boys were getting a little bored by the end. Nathan kept asking to go on stage and looking at me with grave disappointment when I stopped him. His expression was almost "But my audience needs me!" Alex asked to go play during the final few songs but settled fairly happily when I told him that he had to wait until after the concert.

Another memorably cute moment was when Avi came with nachos. Immediately Nathan got up and switched seats to sit next to his grandfather, all big smiles. Avi graciously offered him some chips and showed him how to dip them in the plasticheese. Nathan wasn't impressed with the cheese but happily munched on the chips. Avi paused at one point to look around and Nathan stealthily took the chip right out of his hand.

I am so glad that we all had a good time. It's a memory that I'm going to treasure for a long time. And I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Anthony, Murray, Sam, Jeff, Paul, Greg and the rest of the Wiggles team. You have created something that delights my boys as few other things do. You put on an amazing show and it was our privilege to attend. Thank you all.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cute Moment

I came in last night and Nathan was curled up sound asleep with his arms wrapped around the book "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet." It's been his favourite the last few weeks and he's taken to cuddling up with it just like a teddy bear.

I think I have myself a reader. :)

Newspaper Article and Walkathon

As some of you know, our family was profiled in the local newspaper. The article was very well done and presented a fair perspective. We were interviewed because of the difference in how early each of our sons was diagnosed and the differences it made. With Alex, there was such a lengthly period between first thinking something might be wrong and actually getting the diagnosis and then again before we could actually begin treatment (especially the publicly-funded treatment). I think that in some ways we lost some good chances, but at the same time, I know that we did the best that we could with the resources and information we had. Nathan got the benefit of our education with Alex. Now, to be fair, he also seems to have fewer challenges, especially on a sensory level. But he also had less time to retreat into himself and set patterns of behaviour. His progress has been much faster than Alex's. The article focused on that difference and was promoting a new clinic that promises diagnosis and treatment information much faster.

In other news, Nathan's preschool had a walkathon this weekend. It was quite cute to see all of the little ones, some in their school t-shirts over heavy winter coats and others in their Hallowe'en costumes. We met at a local park and walked around the duck pond. Nathan made three circuits, which I think is quite impressive for a little guy who isn't quite three yet. Dave took some pictures so hopefully we'll get some up on here so that everyone can see. Alex also joined us (it was the least he could do since he's an alumni of the same preschool) and he did a long walk along the outer circuit of the park with his aide. I had to stay put at the meeting place to collect people's pledge forms. I don't know how much money we raised but it was certainly a thick sheaf of paper, enough to fill both my pockets! I'm sure we did very well. It was pretty cold, below zero in the wind and ice on the smaller streams, so the boys only stayed for about forty minutes before Dave took them home. Then they came to collect their somewhat frozen mother a few hours later. Overall, I think it was a good success. The kids had fun, no huge tantrums or tearbursts. The adults seemed to enjoy themselves, too. A few even showed up in costume (Bob the Builder, a bunny and Merlin getting my personal thumbs-up). There was even an adorable little miniature fluffy dog wearing a little cap with horns.