Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Lightning Kid and the Musical Munchkins

The King and Queen were raising their sons to appreciate the outdoors, physical activity, movement and music.  For the latter, the Lightning Kid was involved with a group of Musical Munchkins while at the same time, Shark Boy was taking (what else?) swimming lessons.  The King and Queen tried to take turns taking each of the boys to their lessons, one week the King would take Shark Boy to swimming, while the Queen took the Lightning Kid to Musical Munchkins, and the next week they would switch.

The Lightning Kid had many friends and fans at Musical Munchkins, but the King and Queen were vexed at one development in the sessions that seemed to creep up.  Rather than sing and play with toy musical instruments, an increasing amount of time each session was being spent on arts and crafts... which didn’t seem inherently musical at all.  These crafts involved scissors, glue and small pieces perfect for putting in the mouth and/or gagging on.   

The first time the King encountered this activity, he had the Lightning Kid sit the activity out.  This was painful and upsetting to him, as he saw it as the first of many times that the young Prince might be excluded from an activity he wouldn’t be able to do, and have to watch from the sidelines.  BUT THE GROUP WAS FOR CHILDREN LESS THAN 2 YEARS OLD!  While the other munchkins seemed to put things in their mouths less than the Lightning Kid, and often seemed more developed overall, they and their parents still all struggled with making the craft activities anything less than an unmitigated disaster (one mother used the dreaded R word to describe the proceedings, earning a firm yet fairly polite rebuke from the King).

The next week, during the Queen’s turn at Musical Munchkins, a similar craft activity took place, and the Royal Family’s annoyance increased.  While they wanted a change, they found themselves too busy to lodge a formal complaint, all while considering leaving the program altogether.

When it was the King’s turn again, he had two options: skip the lesson and stay home with the Prince, or take him to Musical Munchkins in spite of their reservations.  The King figured they would take the good of the sessions while leaving the bad.  In fact, there were no crafts that day (perhaps someone else had found the time to register a complaint) and yet the King still found some frustration; he wanted the Lightning Kid to walk more (as the other children did) and when he tried to encourage it, he found the Prince’s bottom to be pulled to the floor as if by some magical force.  While he disliked being bull-headed about the Prince’s development, he knew he would soon be in environments with more children who could walk, and wanted to know he would be safe and capable of keeping up... more or less.  

While the King was not entirely satisfied by how much the Lightning Kid was walking during the Musical Munchkins session, he couldn't help but notice another stark difference between the Lightning Kid and the other children: he was by far the most engaged and engaging child there.  He went around to the other children’s parents and greeted them, he tried to get his hands on toys the second they were available, he scooted and searched around the room for ways to get into trouble.  When the King had a split-second that didn't involve keeping the Prince out of trouble, he observed the other children, they sat placidly in their parents’ laps, a docile look on their faces, some passive, some outright shy.  While that looked to be a lot easier to manage than what the King was used to in terms of taking care of children, he wouldn't have traded places with the other parents... the Prince was full of lightning, as usual, and that was the way his family liked it.

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