THE USE OF MAGIC IN BABY AND TODDLER WRANGLING AND COACHING –
AND PARENTING!! Part 1
Okay, now I don’t want to upset anyone who feels that the use of the word “magic” is blasphemous, or that it is somehow insulting to their beliefs. After all, is not trusting smile of a baby or a child magic? The way their little fingers curl around your hand, even as their little selves are curling themselves around your heart? Or how they blissfully fall asleep in your arms? Are those things not the very essence of magic?
So perhaps you’ll allow me the use of the word? I promise it will not offend, if you’ll just hang in there a minute!
While you decide – – – – take a look at the faces of a few of “my kids” . . . . .
Here’s the deal: I give my kids “magic crystals” at the end of their coaching sessions for their auditions. I also give “magic crystals” to my little kids onset. I tell them they are magic, because anytime someone who loves them gives them something, that is the magic part. That someone loves them, which is magical and wonderful, and wants to give something to them, which will remind them of the magic. So see, pretty innocent and non-blasphemous right? Like all these amazing faces above : innocent!!
I have two very, very favorite magic stories – I think you’ll like them, too.
I’ll tell you the first one today . . . tomorrow for the next!
The first one took place pretty early in my coaching career. I had one client who was about 8 years old who coached quite frequently. He was a great kid, and had a little brother named Luke who was very young. About 4. Luke sometimes auditioned, too, and was a sweet and loving little guy, just as was his older brother. One day, the little guy had a BIG audition, with about 4 pages of steady dialogue. That’s a LOT for a little guy who can’t read yet.
Now, I had developed a system for helping my non-readers and brand-new readers to memorize their dialogue: I drew pictures for their words. After all, when I went on an audition, if I started to forget my dialogue, all I would have to do is glance down at the page. Not so for the little ones, they’re forced to memorize everything – and those squiggles on the paper we call words don’t mean squat to a four year old. Thus, my realization – pictures!
Now, unfortunately, I did not inherit my mom, Charlene’s, amazing artistic talent. sigh. However, I seemed to be able to get the meaning across to my kids. (Remind me later to tell you about my drawing for the word “but” and my four-year old little girl client who FREAKED OUT a casting director! )
ANYway – back on-track: I had finished drawing all of Luke’s words while he watched, reinforcing each time what each drawing meant. He was doing very well at “reading” his pictures, and we were getting along swimmingly. But he was pretty much a perfectionist, even at four, and he was getting frustrated when he couldn’t remember what a picture meant. I HAD to come up with something to give him confidence.
Because, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mommies and Daddies . . at the end of the day – in MY mind – my job is to make my babies and clients feel safe, and loved, and confident and important. LIFE skills, for them to keep throughout their entire lives, long after they may disappear from my sphere of influence.. The call backs and the work . . . that’s icing on the cake. Their ‘personhood’ is what my job is about . . . show biz is second to the child. Always.
Suddenly, I knew just what to do – or at least hoped I did.
I grabbed a small very pretty quartz crystal out of my crystal box, and told Luke not to worry: I was going to give him a magic memory crystal. He looked intrigued, and lost some of the worry lines that were creasing his little brow. I rubbed the crystal over all of the dialogue on the four pages, telling him that I was putting the words into his crystal. Then I gently rubbed the rock over Luke’s forehead, telling him that it was now put into his brain and his “remembery”. (aren’t kids malaprops the BEST?!!)
I could literally see his little shoulders un-tense ( if THAT’S not magic, what is?), and he smiled.
So we began his scene again, and lo and behold, he was remembering EVERYTHING on the first three pages. We got to page four, and I saw him get that far-away look the kids get when they suddenly “go up” (can’t remember their dialogue). He scrunched up his face, then I saw a kind of “light bulb” go off in his expression. He grabbed his crystal, ran it over his pictures and then his forehead. His face lit up, and he finished the last page. Word for word . . . . perfect!
I will never forget that little boy . . . . he resides, still, is in a corner of my heart . . . four years old forever. Even though he is now a young man.
Right next to oh-so-many others who have a special place in my heart . . .which will always have room for more.
©Dawn Jeffory-Nelson 2013
All Rights Reserved