Since Baby Chiara was born, I've been making a point to get out every now and then with my boy. B.C. - Before Chiara - he had my undivided mothering for 8 whole years. For example, whereas once we went to the pool every summer morning and swam together, practiced diving, played Marco Polo in the deep end - I am now relegated to the 3-feet area or the Baby Pool (though we have invented a new game, Buzz the Brother, in which Chiara and I chase around Big Brother and finally catch him and buzz him with Chiara's butt or foot, the beestinger...). B.C. I was able to make him his special breakfast every day, but now sometimes, I am feeding the baby or changing diapers, and he, too hungry to wait for me, pours his own cereal and milk. And this is neither good nor bad - it's different. The most important thing is that he adores his sister - she's the first person he kisses good morning and he melts into a smile when she calls out to him: DaaaDooo. He's learning more independence and has one more person who loves him in this lifetime - and that's always a good thing.
But every now and then I like to enlist our trusted babysitter and take him out on a date, and last evening, I enjoyed a night out with not only him but also my other most favorite guy, my husband, at the Oriental Theater, where we saw Billy Elliot.
It was the perfect musical for a nine year old boy. Billy, a young pre-tween, lives in working class northern England with his father, a striking coal miner, politically active brother, and senile granny. When he happens upon a ballet class, he discovers his passion for expressing himself through dance - a pretty uncommon extracurricular activity for a young boy in his community. Despite the opposition of family and society in general, Billy begins training with a local dance instructor and begins, little by little, to discover and pursue his dreams. The take-home message is: Do what you love and follow your heart.
At almost 3 hours in duration, it's a lengthy musical and might not fit the attention span of children under eight. Make sure to splurge on decent seats - while adults can enjoy shows even at a distance, kids need to be as close-up as possible to enjoy the action.
As a fun pre-show discussion, give your kids a little primer on the differences between British and American English. Click here for a fun online dictionary.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
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