Parenting

Work-at-Home-Realities: You Can’t Stay at Home

I only work at home about half the time and some weeks for much less. I never needed encouragement to get my baby out of the house in general, although every single time is still a struggle. I have learned, through two babies, that we are always much happier on the days we have a nice morning outing of some sort. And although I love the one day a week that we’ve arranged for me not to drive anywhere or anyone, this Work-at-home-Mom thing wouldn’t work at all without some of the following places.

  • Public libraries. They have storytimes with music at least once a week, if not more. I’m lucky that our local library has such robust programs, including pre-preschool programs that prepared my toddler for a classroom. Find the right library branch and they’ll have games and learning toys to occupy your child while you take advantage of the free WiFi after Storytime.
  • Read more at The Mom Forum

Work-at-Home-Mom Realities The List

I’ve been a work-at-home-Mom since 2014. I loved being a freelancer, I loved being a Mom and appreciated the privilege of not needing to rush back to work for financial reasons. But by the time my Lil’ Pirate Dude was three months old, I craved the work. I desperately needed to feel a sense of accomplishment beyond getting all the diapers in the hamper which is still a challenge. I refreshed my email hourly in the hopes that a quick gig might appear. More than anything, I wanted conversations with adults that went beyond breastfeeding and formula and sleep patterns.

I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea how hard.

Read more at The Mom Forum

TVY Rising: Peeking Inside Theater for the Very Young

If you don’t spend time around babies regularly, bringing them to the theater — say, for a performance of Theater for the Very Young, or TVY — may be a strange concept. As primary caretaker to a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old, I’m often astonished by how very simple parts of our world can entertain them for extended periods of time. As I type this introduction, my own baby is completely consumed with trying to open my water bottle. He also stayed enthralled through 45 minutes of the clown antics of Beau and Aero at the Orlando Fringe Festival (suggested age: 7 and up).

For overviews of TVY, as distinct from Theater for Young Audiences (TYA), read these good articles in American Theatre and The New Yorker. I want to help artists understand how to create better, smarter theater for all ages, so I interviewed playwright Madhuri Shekar, who worked with the Alliance Theatre in Georgia to adapt the picture book A Bucket of Blessings into TVY.

Read more on The Clyde FItch Report.

We Watch, Too: A Parents’ Roundtable on Theater for Kids

In my first entry of this Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) series, I said I didn’t want to make assumptions on what people think or want from children’s theater. I know most of my desires for pushing the conventions of TYA come from my own childhood and from my new experiences of introducing a small human to the theater. But I was left wondering: How do other parents feel? I interviewed four mothers to see how, and if, their experiences aligned with mine.

I spoke with a mother of three who chose to remain anonymous. I’ll refer to her as Jane in this article. Her children are two, five and eight. Aubrie Canfield has a three-year-old and 10-month-old. Shellie Gauthier has a three-year-old, 13-year-old twins and a 15-year-old. Enci Box has a two-year-old and five-year-old.

Read more at The Clyde Fitch Report. 

 

Why TYA Should Join the Dark Side (of Fairy Tales)

Let’s delve into a pretty common denominator in the world of theater for young audiences (TYA): fairy tales. There is no end to internet lists “revealing” or “discovering” the dark origins of fairy tales, yet it is so surprising that, once upon a time, we actually told children scary stories? Shocking!

Many of the original versions of fairy tales were told to help children and adults confront the very real dangers of their times. Hansel and Gretel is an excellent example and very likely the most well known: it’s famine and hunger that motivate the mother or stepmother (depending on the version) to convince her husband to abandon his children in the woods. Most stage productions hide that part of the tale. It is fear of the darkness inherent in the stories that can cause playwrights to move too far in the other, more saccharine direction, leading to meaningless takes on fairy tales that now feel like the norm. When we remove fear from a fairy tale — or any story — we remove its connection to our lives, and that dumbing down affects theater audiences for a lifetime. Without true connections to our own feelings, fears and joys, why bother attending?

Read more at The Clyde Fitch Report

Read Part 1: Why do Theaters Dumb Down TYA (Theater for Young Audiences)?

Caleb Foote and Angela Giarratana in “Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass” (Photo: Cooper Bates)

Why Do Theaters Dumb Down TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences)?

“We want to do children’s theater that doesn’t suck.”

That was Debbie Devine and Jay McAdam’s answer when I asked how 24th ST Theatre’s shows were different from their local competition. I laughed and understood. I was just starting as their marketing director and not a parent myself, but I certainly knew the horror stories of wide-eyed “children’s theater” talking down to their audiences.

And so I set about convincing progressive Los Angeles parents that a show about death, or one with a scene about getting your period, or a one-woman King Lear, were exactly the shows they should bring their kids to see.

Read more on The Clyde Fitch Report.

This is the first column in a year-long series investigating Theatre for Young Audiences. Click the Talking TYA tag for more.

The Cat in the Hat and Consent

One of the reasons I love being a parent is getting to revisit children’s literature and discover the newest stories. Although I knew about Dr Seuss, I realized that I hadn’t actually read many of his books.

A good friend gave our son a Horton doll, so Horton Hears a Who was a natural starting place. What a wonderful message for children: a person’s a person no matter how small. Then The Lorax, quite a progressive environmental novel for the sixties. We were thrilled at how Dr. Seuss could affect our young son’s thinking about the world. For instance, when LPD [Little Pirate Dude – not his real name, unfortunately – editor] helps me put recycling in its bin, I tie it to The Lorax and our responsibility to the environment. Some of it sinks into his developing brain; more will click later. His young age doesn’t stop us from planting the seeds.

One day, I figured we should begin at the beginning and bought The Cat in the Hat. How exciting! I knew the character but nothing about his origin.

Well, I got quite a shock. The whole story raises serious red flags, in terms of consent, and reads like a manual for child molesters.

Read more at Dwarf+Giant

Graphic by @heatherwhooo

 

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