While were in London, I had the great joy of seeing Matilda with my mother and my girls.
My mother always gets the hottest tickets in town.
For instance, she also took me to see Peter & Alice, starring Judi Dench. Unfortunately, Peter & Alice sucked, which is odd, as:
a) I believe that Judi Dench is a god among us and
b) it was about the fortuitous meeting of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the model for Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Llewellyn Davies, as in Peter Pan, and I have a ridiculous soft-spot for anything about Peter Pan.
There are two reasons for my Peter Pan obsession.
This is one:
This is the other:
Peter Pan was the first musical I ever saw, on Broadway no less. With Sandy Duncan and her glass eye. (Yes, I am old enough that Cathy Rigby was still in the gymnastics game back then.) I was taken to see it with my grandmothers.
Both grandmothers. Who normally didn’t hang out much. So that was a BIG. EFFING. DEAL.
And I have NEVER forgotten it.
So forgive me for getting a little misty-eyed about the fact that WHEN I WAS IN LONDON LAST WEEK MY GIRLS SAW THEIR FIRST MUSICAL!
IN THE WEST END!
IN THE COMPANY OF THEIR GRANDMOTHER!
AND I GOT TO BE THERE TOO!
It was really, really, REALLY good.
I cried the whole time.
Joyous, happy, nostalgic, heart-wrenching tears.
Especially at this part. If you don’t cry at this part then you have no soul. (Fast forward to 0:50):
I have been so obsessed with Matilda since I got back that I tracked down that You Tube video, and I read a New Yorker piece about the composer / lyricist, Tim Minchin, and I bought an ACTUAL CD of the London cast recording.
Yep. A CD, PEOPLE.
Because I JUST HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO listen to it in the car, and I have no effing ipods anymore, apparently — though I do have, oddly, about eight ipod speaker sets — and my phone no longer effing works for anything so mp3 transmission would be a stretch.
SO YES. I BOUGHT THE CD.
And I drove around laughing and crying to it ALL DAY YESTERDAY.
And it was awesome.
I haven’t loved a musical so much since a billion years ago when I was young and single and living in the West Village and John Cameron Mitchell was doing Hedwig and I went and saw it over and over and over again.
You may not understand this compulsion if you’ve only ever seen the MOVIE of Hedwig, which just isn’t good.
It’s just not.
The musical, however, is THE BEST THING EVER.
IT IS THE BEST.
Except now there is also Matilda.
And I intend to listen to it ALL THE TIME until my kids can sing every word and we can all sing to the CD together in the car like we used to sing every word of Les Mis and Miss Saigon and Evita and Chess and A Little Night Music and Into The Woods with my mom when I was growing up.
Like crazy people.
Crazy happy musical theater geek people.
This summer Diddy is doing two weeks of musical theater camp – Guys and Dolls! –and I could die of joy.
In Which Bruce Feiler Reminds Me That Checklists Are Magic
(Or: How I Got My Kids To Make Their Own Beds)
So here’s the first piece of absolute magic I took away from Bruce Feiler’s new book “The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More.”
CHECKLISTS ARE MAGIC.
Yeah, I know.
ChecklistMommy needed A BOOK to tell her that checklists were magic?
Like, isn’t that what this whole silly blog is all about?
So how is it that it never occurred to me to write checklists for my kids?
I’m married to a man who never ever ever reads my checklists.
He calls me and asks me how to do the things I’ve written checklists for instead.
So I figured my kids were an equally lost cause.
I mean, only one of them even reads …
But then I read “The Secrets of Happy Families” and was particularly struck by the chapter about “agile development,” an organizational technique popular in Silcon Valley, and how the Starr family put it to work in their own home.
Basically, David Starr and his wife Eileen started holding family meetings (more about that next week). Then they and their four kids tried using checklists at home. During the morning rush.
If that ain’t a true test of a system, throwing it at your four kids at the most stressful, rush-and-push-and-pull part of the day, then I don’t know what is.
Because I have a billion kids, and I write about family, and I work in the family space, and basically I eat-drink-breathe-sleep (ha! If only I slept!) kids/partnership/family life …
I also tend to read A LOT about kids/partnership/family life, too.
And I have favorites.
I’m a fan of Harvey Karp.
I love The Sleepy Planet ladies.
Wendy Mogel is my personal hero.
Well, folks – I’m adding Bruce Feiler to that list.
Some of you may know him from his columns in the NY Times.
Some of you may know him as the Dad who founded The Council of Dads.
Well, now he’s gone and written The Secrets of Happy Families, a book about how to manage family life that is SO EFFING GREAT it almost makes me want to pack up this blog because he’s basically gone and said it all.
I mean seriously. He has taken family management to an easy, fun, cooperative level that is so unbelievably awesome that –
Let’s put it this way:
For the last two weeks my girls, now aged 4 and 6, have been making their own beds every morning before school without help and without complaint.
They have also been getting themselves dressed – to shoes and coats, no less! – and putting their laundry in the hamper and actually standing ready at the front door without us having to scream, shout, or resort to ridiculous threats to get them to move their little … arses.
(I am going to London tomorrow. I get to say arse.)
How on earth did all of this happen?
A few weeks ago I did myself a massive favor and read Feiler’s book.
Here’s the quick pitch: Continue reading “I Heart Bruce Feiler So Much I Am Giving Away 4 Copies of His New Book” »
So, I read this post from Unclutterer.com at 530 this morning before heading out on my daily run (yes, I’m still running! woo-hoo!), which inspired me to totally automate my weekly schedule today.
Life around here since school started up again has been totally chaotic, mostly because Continue reading “Coolest. Calendar-ing. Ever.” »
We have a few family traditions that I am very very very attached to. These are things I absolutely can not have a logical discussion about. Just the mention of most of them makes me tear up – either out of extreme joy and anticipation or because YOU BETTER NOT BE SUGGESTING WE CHANGE A FUCKING THING.
I have been like this my whole life. When I was 20, I spent a semester living in London with seven or eight other Americans. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I insisted they all cook MY FAMILY’S recipes. I called my home town butcher in suburban New York and got his Turkey Cook Time instructions faxed to me. Then I went to Harrods and unloaded on the poor guy who tried to sell me THEIR pre-made stuffing.
I like things the way I like them.
For instance: Continue reading “What We Do On Our Summer Vacation” »