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Sunday, June 5, 2011

So You Think You Can Recite Poetry?

Jack and Jill 2 - WW Denslow - Project Gutenberg etext 18546.jpgA few weeks ago, there was a sign-up announcement at Finbar's school for the annual variety show.  An email from his Kindergarten teacher went around encouraging parents to have their children participate - that is, by sharing a talent such as singing a song or dancing, or playing an instrument. Something of that nature.  Finbar does none of these things so I was quick to rule him out without even consulting him.  Likewise, he was quick to rule out my opinion when he when he signed HIMSELF up without telling me: 

Name: Finbar (his print writing)
Talent: Poem

Not wanting to make him nervous and secretly being proud of him for having the kahunas to sign up, I let  a couple weeks go by until, a day or two before the show, I matter-of-factly asked Finbar if he had chosen a poem.  To which he quickly blurted in reply:   "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after."   Uhhh. Hmm.

Briefly panic stricken, I googled "Poems for Kids" and scanned the sites for more catchy subject material...poems about space, about school, comedic material.  "Ah to hell with it, let it be", I told myself. 

I was struck by two things in that moment:  1) Finbar has achieved a truly new level of self confidence in recent months  2)  I, in turn worry less about him and what he does and says and in turn get to enjoy what comes

I have mentioned before and will mention again, that I am attribute much of this change to his brain integration therapy and the fact that his school environment is a very healthy place for him to change and grow into his newfound confidence. 

The day of, I tried not to dwell on what was to come, and I did not really speak to Finbar about it.  I went to an early yoga class and almost did not make it to the show. As I ran into the school auditorium, hair still wet from my post-workout shower, I was greeted by Finbar's slightly panicky aide "Oh, thank God you're here. Did you get the message we left you?"  Uh, no I hadn't, but good thing for me we live  a block from school. "MOM YOU're HERE!!!" Finbar loudly blurted out for all to hear.  As heads turned to see who was causing such a stir,  "Phew, for better or worse" I thought, "yes I'm here, bud."

I cringed as I sat not too far from Finbar, who increasingly became anxious, loud and fidgety and behaved more and more inappropiately as they called one child after another up on stage to perform.  But my recent attitude shift toward Finbar ,which is "just let him be" kicked in, and so when he kept coming over to tell me that he did not want to go up on stage I told him he didn't have to. To which he would reply, "OK, I'm going to do it." After about 5 rounds of this, he was finally called up. To my amazement he went up on stage.  And to everyone's amazement he proceeded to shuffle to the back of the stage, keeping his back to the audience without so much as a peep.  And that is where he stood until Mr. Regan, the nice male teacher who was MCing, walked over and nicely offered Finbar the mic.  To which Finbar simply shook his head no.  This went on a few rounds until Mr. Regan began to coax Finbar into telling him the name of his poem (Finbar only would whisper it into his ear). Then Mr. Regan tried to get him to describe what jack and jill did. To which Finbar replied he would not say. At this point, the 5th and 6th graders in the audience are cheering him on "Go, go, go!".  Snickers and chuckles abound. "Oh dear God" I think, "please don't let them boo him off."  At the point at which Mr. Regan gestured to Finbar's teacher with his hands in the air mouthing "what do I do?", Finbar offered to whisper the poem.  And just like that, with a quick grab of the mic he whispered the quickest and quietest  Jack and Jill nursery rhyme anyone has ever heard.  More cheers and applause and he shuffles off the stage. Next.

Talent? oh yeah, the kid's got it.  I was guffawing at his stage presence and natural comedic timing with all his silent gesturing up there.  And I wasn't the only one. I was proud. And I think he was too.

Just in case though, I am currently looking around for a piano teacher for Finbar. I figure it can't hurt to have two talents next year :)