Chocolate Dance Party, Anyone?

I need a Chocolate Dance Party in my kitchen. Time to get going on Sophie’s birthday music mix.

This morning, Annabelle rode her bike to school for the first time. She and Ray rode; Sophie and I drove. At first Sophie was bummed, then she got excited. (Ray has told her that when she’s 7, she can ride her bike to school, too. We’ll see.)

We pulled up beside them on the street and I rolled down Sophie’s window. She screamed, “You’re so cool, Annabelle!”

It was one of those moments of pure joy. I’m addicted to them. It always makes me think of the essay by David Sedaris, it’s in one of his earlier books, about all the tics he had as a child and how (before he discovered cigarettes and pot) the best treatment was pain — smacking his head hard on the dashboard of his father’s car, he experienced an exquisite pain that made all the other stuff disipate.

I know what he means. (C’mon, so do you — ever hit your funny bone, or stub your toe?) And in a way, this is the same, these living-in-the-moment moments, like Sunday, when we took Sophie to see Elmo Live for her birthday. (Thanks Gaga!)

Hard to believe it’s been a year since the last Elmo show, in honor of Sophie’s 5th birthday. That day she was so excited to see Elmo and friends on stage, she couldn’t contain herself — kept hitting me on the shoulder, asking, “Did you see? Did you see? Mommy! It’s Elmo!”

This year she upped the ante. For weeks she asked, “Elmo come to my row and hug me?”

Crap. That wasn’t part of the show last year. This is not Disneyland, after all. I’m sure the furries have a union. (I noticed Big Bird was never onstage for more than a few minutes at a time.)

I told Sophie it wouldn’t happen. But we had really good seats this year and from the beginning of the show, I noticed some brazen parents were edging their kids to the front, to touch the characters when they came down from the stage as part of the act.

I made a total ass of myself, but by the end of the show, Sophie had either hugged or touched Telly, Abby Cadabby, at least one Happy Honker and — the biggie — Cookie Monster. We missed Zoe by an inch and damn Elmo, he never came close (too big a star, I guess).

Sophie left happy and I left even happier, high on monsters.

A year ago, I wrote about that first show, at the end of a piece I did for This American Life (you can still hear it: and I can’t believe that a year later, we’re seeing Elmo again and again, I’m dealing with all the issues that radio piece addressed. (Namely: my kid with Down syndrome doesn’t currently qualify as mentally retarded.)

This morning, Dorcas the Physical Therapist talked me off the ledge, reminding me that I mentioned Dr. Death to her a few weeks ago. Dorcas is okay with her; she agrees her reputation is mixed, but says it’s not all bad.

I felt better, as Sophie and I took off for school, and better still when we saw Annabelle — who was clearly having her own Chocolate Dance Party moment, she was so proud. And rightly so.

I was up til 1:30 this morning, stuffing 60 mugs with candy for teacher appreciation week. I left a full kitchen sink and I can’t find the surface of my desk now that I’m at work. I’m distracted by a thousand tiny tasks — blog posts to edit, ideas to nix, more doctor appointments to make. I want to smack my head into the dashboard and see past the stars to some bigger, clearer truth.

But first, I have to go to a meeting.



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3 responses to “Chocolate Dance Party, Anyone?

  1. Oh Amy, you really kill me sometimes. This one had me tearing up at work, yet again.
    You paint such a vivid image of Sophie and Elmo and all those “furries.”
    You amaze me.
    On my to do list (among other things, sigh, those lists are going to be the death of me, I swear): Listening to you on TAL. I tried to download it at home but my archaic comptuter wont accept some itunes files. Will have to sneak it in another time.
    I’m sure I’ll need tissues for that one too.
    PS. Did you listen this week to the taped version of the “live” TAL show? I’ll put it to you this way: Dan Savage cried. A must-listen to. And yes, you’ll need tissues.
    I’ll be following the Dr. Death story with much anticipation.

  2. oh dance parties are the best therapy. dance on.

  3. deborah

    “I want to smack my head into the dashboard and see past the stars to some bigger, clearer truth.”

    and you say you can’t write poetry. i say: ha!

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