We Rocked That Chicken and Made It Cry For Mercy

We ventured into the land of Billy Graham today and kicked off our day with a free symphonic band concert at Wheaton College.  We go to this children’s concert every year and always enjoy it.  We even snuck into the second showing the year they had the planetary theme, though we weren’t exactly going rogue–they just had a lot of no shows and the enthusiastic usher enthusiastically ushered us to some excellent seats.

Anyway, some of this year’s highlights:  swastikas, guns and shooting people, punching, explosions, music and scenes from the video game Halo, pots, pans, kitchen blender, garbage can lids, and also…  The Chicken Dance!

Heck yes, I said Chicken Dance, and it was awesome.  During the audience participation portion N, E and I rocked that chicken and made it cry for mercy.  Scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark provided some of that other heartwarming visual candy. 

So, the concert itself was fun, but I’m glad it was free.

What I took away from the morning was appreciation and gratitude for N.  He’s always been a complicated kid, with a roller coaster of ups and downs we’ve navigated through the years.

So, this morning we sat across the aisle from a boy who looked somewhere in the middle of N and E in age.  This boy was surrounded on all sides by noise and chaos, and was quietly reading a book with his ear protection firmly in place.  He was on the aisle and he had an aide.  It tugged at my heart like nothing else this day, and sent me tripping along down memory lane.

I can’t even tell you how many activities and events we left with N screaming and crying, ears covered.  Things he desperately wanted to be able to do but couldn’t make happen.  Movies, plays, concerts…  Even a trip to the bathroom in a busy restaurant became a hysterical screaming event every time someone came in and flushed the overly loud toilets.  I was at our table and could hear the screaming and crying, then Jeff (calmly) and N (tear-stained) left (quickly) to use the quieter Starbucks restroom.  That was years ago and he has come so SO far.

This other kid, at the concert today, was really sweet.  I couldn’t help but peek over at him periodically to see if he was okay.  He had a squishy, squeezy heart he gripped on and off, as well as a little rectangle he bent back and forth and tapped rhythmically with his fingertips, though not in time to the music.  It was soothing to watch, so I imagine it was soothing for him to do.

We’ve worked on coping strategies with N over the years and I’m so grateful he can enjoy himself now doing the things he loves.  When he was 5 and 6 years old he stayed home more than he went out.  People, noise, smells, sound, THE DEMON SUN!!!  …  He was just a mass of exposed nerve endings.  Life was an assault on his senses.  Sensory input was painful.  He’s still extremely sensitive, but can tolerate so much more these days.

Seeing that other boy across the aisle, as he pushed the cups over his ears more tightly to his head, made me realize how far we’ve come in our journey.  It was a very meaningful moment to me.

I’m still not ready to talk about the Paul McCartney concert though…a reminder that we’re all works in progress.  🙂

Heard throughout the day today:

N, regarding the concert: “I loved every minute of it.”

I know this to be true because he kept pulling up his shirt at the shoulders, a sure sign he’s jazzed about something, overstimulated, or both.  There may have been a few quick hand flaps, too.  🙂

E:  “The music was so good!”

He really liked “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” mixed into the opening piece.

N: “It was awe-inspiring!  I was amazed at how fast they learned their songs.  I mean, they’ve only had a year since their last concert!”

That one made me laugh.  Those musicians were indeed impressive for having learned all that in a year.

When we got in the car, N decided “Next time I play Minecraft I’m going to build a concert hall!  I’ll have chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and they’ll be made of gold.”

To which E replied “I’m going to come to your concert and RUIN your concert!” and “Will there be an emergency exit?”

As we drove away, E got very contemplative.  Then he started in on another topic he’d obviously been thinking about.

“So babies really can remember stuff when they’re older.  I remember grandma and grandpa visiting and sitting in the sunroom while there was a storm outside.  You changed my diaper, but that’s not something I want to talk about right now.”  I was writing all of this down while waiting, waiting, waiting to turn onto Roosevelt Road.

“I have some good memories from when I was a baby, and when I was older.”

Love that E, even if he does want to wreck his brother’s Minecraft concert.

From there we went to MRU and had a blast with our friends.  I finally caught up with someone I owed money to, so it was nice to be able to convert E’s scooter from stolen property into personal property.  I also learned many juicy secrets about my friends and their kids…but what happens at MRU stays at MRU.  Sorry.

When we finally got home at 5pm, E and I started decorating for Halloween and N jumped on Minecraft. N got right to work on his life’s most amazing accomplishment thus far:  The Great Wall of Minecraft.

Later, as Jeff was playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl with the boys, we were telling him about our day.  I expressed surprise at some of the content of the concert, such as shooting, fighting, explosions, as well as Harry Potter scenes.  I figured the magic of HP would be frowned upon at Wheaton College (definitely not at our house), and that the kids’ parents should have been the ones to decide if their children should see violent scenes from Raiders (our kids have it committed to memory)…

N was curious why someone would have an issue with HP, so we talked about how some people feel magic is evil and/or goes against God, while others do not.  Jeff asked his opinion on people being against Harry Potter for religious reasons.

“I can’t really argue their religion.  Not everyone is the same religion, so they can just not watch it if they choose,” N said.  He thought it was okay for people to believe differently, be different.

My work here is done.

I was just really proud of both of my kids today.

I’ll even claim I never heard E say he was pretending to be a blood-sucking butt baby at MRU.  I don’t even know what that means.

1 Comment

  1. janedeau said,

    October 12, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Awwww, I love your boys. Especially the Minecraft exchange. ❤

    Sounds like you had a really successful day! Maybe you need to do the chicken dance more often.

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