Today I had a feeling similar to that of a football coach when they’ve been working on something in training, then their team go and execute it perfectly on match day. Or when a teacher has been teaching a child something for a few weeks and one day it clicks and they just get it.
Well it was kind of like that, only with a sprinkle of embarrassment too. You see, what it is that we’ve been drilling into Corben that he perfectly executed today, is to always be his own person. Don’t be a sheep and do things because others are doing them, do them only if it’s what you want to do. Dare to be different if you will.
Today Corben and I went off to the Cast in Doncaster to watch a live interactive performance, Stan and Mabel AND THE RACE FOR SPACE by Music In The Round. The theatre had about 100 people in it I’d say, probably 60 ish of those were other kids. At the front there was a big screen with images, a 5 piece orchestra and a narrator. They were all excellent by the way! So the show format was basically the narrator teaching the kids words to a short song and actions to go along with them, whilst the orchestra played live music. Everything synced together with the images on the big screen and we were all taken along through the story of Stan and Mabel.
Now I’ve put the picture in your minds, imagine a Dad and Son sat right at the back up at the top… Bare in mind from back to front we’re talking only approx 10 rows of seats, so its all pretty close together.
Narrator – …and then you sing ‘wild and free’ – (accompanied by actions)
Everyone repeats and the room goes quiet for a second waiting for the next bit.
Corben decided to fill this second of silence with this… Which everyone heard.
‘Huh, well she’s not making me do that, it’s ridiculous’
Now, part of me is laughing my absolute nuts off, only I’m an adult and understand decorum so that part of me had to be kept inside. The outwardly part of me knows this is where I ‘parent’ and tell him it’s just not cool to take the wind out of someone’s sails like that. The most important part of me in that very moment however, was proud.
Yeah, I was proud. Proud that in a room full of people listening, watching and following instructions, he’d decided it simply wasn’t his thing and has the confidence to say so. Now we’ll have to work on the literal saying-so part of this, but the main message of be your own man is clearly getting through.
Untwist your knickers, I’m not saying any of the other children are wrong to be joining in and following instructions, not at all! It was fun, I was doing it, it added to the entire experience and a little bit of me was willing Corben to join in and enjoy himself just because, well why not. All of the other children clearly were into this sort of thing and Corben just wasn’t. Now if it had been a superhero story I can guarantee he’d have been joining in and shouting about how much he was loving it, which is why I was so proud that I knew he wasn’t just being an ungrateful little shit, he just genuinely didn’t like this kind of thing so didn’t want to do it.
Stan and Mabel are a dog and cat duo that basically round up other animals to find a rocket and fly off to space. Corben did perk up during the part when they were highjacking a rocket from some astronauts but other than that he just watched and dished out the odd, ill-timed comment.
Corben – ‘Ha, that bear looks like he’s not alive anymore’
Me – ‘No mate, he’s tired, talk a bit lower while the lady is telling the story’ – and so other parents don’t question me as to why you’ve mentioned death twice already!
The older Corben gets, the more I’m seeing our parenting style come out. We’ve always been big on Corben being his own person and we do like to let him lead the way in many things we do, for enjoyment and learning. If he’s choosing the topics for learning for example, he’s more likely to learn as it’s his natural interest at that moment. We also like to put him in as many different situations as possible and offer him as many varied opportunities as we can so we can decipher what he likes and/or what suits him best when planning the next thing.
Every time he tries something new it becomes more and more apparent where his natural interests and strengths are and we plan to use this information to be able to tailor his education and choose which opportunities are best to present him. I think it’s fantastic that he’s so black and white when it comes to making us aware of his interests.
He loves superheroes and zombies and I mean loves them! Had today’s story been relating to either of these he would have lost his shit over it, in a good way! That’s just him, he likes goodies and baddies battling, he like gory zombies and we’re finding ways to relate this to learning too.
Lesson learnt for me today. Next time a nice little story about some cool animals and a space rocket comes along with an all singing all action narrator, I’ll pass and wait for the superhero version instead.
I will say though, if your child does like story time that involves animals and loves getting involved in the story with singing and actions, its genuinely a fantastic show. Corben being Corben didn’t take away the fact that this production is excellent. The narrator was impressive, clearly talented and a great story reader. Singing, dancing and getting all the other children really involved was great to see. The orchestra were great, I do love live music like that and the story was very good too.
They’re touring with the show across the UK and I highly recommend it for a good hours interactive entertainment for kids 3-7 years old.
Here’s links to all the details…
Stan and Mabel are back! And this time, they’re joined by a whole carnival of animals as they escape from the School for Wild and Dangerous Animals in search of a safe place to call their home.
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