FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

The Really Big Music Show

Written By: Scot Butwell - Sep• 02•12

big_show_12-300x255“Criss-cross, apple sauce,” I say.

D and I are sitting on the library floor again the following week, surrounded by a motley crew of twenty to thirty kids, waiting for “The Really Big Music Show” to begin, as a part of our city library’s summer reading program.

D will be starting preschool in less than a month, and besides coming for the music show, we’re here to practice the essential “school-readiness” skill of learning to sit still. Yes, that’s right, I’m here to teach my son to sit still.

I tell myself, this lesson will be the foundation of his journey from preschool to elementary school, middle to high school, and on into higher education. As a high school teacher, I know the worst students don’t pay attention very well.

The lesson doesn’t start off well.

The first time I say “criss-cross, apple sauce,” D leans back into my body after ten seconds. It shrinks to five and two seconds the next few times I say “cross-cross, apple sauce.” I know what L would say if she were here, I should not be sitting behind him.

I look around, and every kid has their legs crossed and hands folded. True, most are five to seven years old, and they have a few years of school experience under their belt, but a toddler next to us is even sitting with his legs crossed and hands folded.

“Criss-cross, apple sauce,” I say again, as if I am Harry Potter casting a magic spell on D to sit still like other kids.

Four tables of grandparents sit behind us, watching this very public lesson, and after my fifth or sixth “criss-cross, apple sauce,” I am ready to give up from the diminishing results, even though I am not the giving up type.

“Criss-cross, apple sauce,” I say one last time in a less confident tone.

D leans into my body right after I say “sauce.” Then I realize something: D’s difficulty isn’t related to trouble regulating his body as I had thought; nor is it because the “sensory wiring” in his body is different from other kids.

His occupational therapist has told me D’s sensory system is different than other kids–true–but that’s not the reason he isn’t sitting still. No, he just wants to be physically closer to me.

He just wants to sit the way he does with me at home on the sofa while watching tv. Then I realize something else: Physical touch–and quality time–are his primary love languages!

So we listen to “Surfin’ USA,” “La Cucaracha,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Shoo Fly” and “The Ants Go Marching In,” and as the musician plays ten different instruments, sometimes two or three at a time, D and I enjoy hearing the sound each instrument makes, and I forget all about teaching D to sit still.

The musician explains the national origin for each instrument, and we go on a world music tour from Italy (trumpet) and Spain (guitar) to Hawaii (ukulele) and Germany (harmonica), and Belgium (saxophone) and West Africa (dejembe), among others.

We clap to a song about craving a pizza and coke, and when I look around, I see another dad and son stretched out on the library floor, so we are not the only father and son enjoying  “quality” time with our bodies enmeshed.

Soon enough, parents with grown children tell me all the time, the childhood years will fast become memories, so I take their imparted wisdom and cherish this opportunity to just sit and listen to music with D.

I figure D will have plenty of time–thirteen or fourteen years–to learn how to sit still in school. However, we have only a few years to snuggle and listen to music on the library floor.

*The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, by Gary Chapman.

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.