Before Beyoncé, Blitzen attended a concert by Michael Franti and Spearhead. It was at venue with no seating and 3000 people jockeying for position in front of the stage. Blitzen was carrying her backpack and a huge tray of cupcakes, and the crowd was stressing her out. Every time someone bumped her she was furious, sure they did it on purpose. It reminded me of our first months on the subway together, with every bit of human contact interpreted as an act of aggression.
Twenty minutes into the show Blitzen began to relax. She knows Michael Franti’s music and began to dance. She convinced me to give her a piggyback ride and the crowd appreciated her moves.
Soon after, I lost her in the crowd. I wasn’t too worried — Blitzen is brave and I knew she wouldn’t leave the venue. A few songs later, I was officially nervous. I asked a security guard to help locate her, and he radioed his friends to join the search. I imagined that Blitzen was tearfully searching the crowd for me. Happily, the security guard near me told me that his colleague found Blitzen. He pointed to a platform next to the stage. There was Blitzen, dancing with Michael Franti’s guitarist.
Blitzen climbed down and re-joined me. We enjoyed the rest of the show from the audience, until the encore when Michael Franti invited children to join him onstage. Blitzen climbed up, suddenly shy again. A man onstage invited her to dance and she began to loosen up. Then, in the midst on “Say Hey (I Love You),” Michael spotted Blitzen and invited her to sing with him. She nailed it, as you can hear above. When the show ended, Michael gave her a hug; on the way out fans wanted to give her high fives and tell her how wonderful she was and how happy her singing and dancing made them.
When we told our friends and family about the incident and showed the video, they didn’t seem too surprised. Of course Blitzen would begin a new experience fearful and angry and wind up onstage, singing solo, charming the crowd.
Our little Blitzen loves to sing and dance and she loves a musical. We got a little sick of High School Musical and Teen Beach Movie and so we introduced her to Grease. She loved it and eagerly asked if there was another ‘episode’. Grease 2 coming right up. Now the child is running around in a faux leather jacket (it 85 degrees!) and wants to change her wardrobe from its current pallet of pink, purple and turquoise to all black AND she really wants a biker for a boyfriend. Um……….speechless.
Blitzen loves to incorporate a good song lyric into her everyday conversation. Taylor Swift, in particular, seems to strike the right note with Blitzen. I guess they have similar philosophies although Blitzen is quite confused by Taylor’s revolving door of boyfriends. We talk about that a lot. Almost every new Taylor Swift hit results in a conversation something like this:
Blitzen says, “Taylor has a new boyfriend?!?”
Me or Andrew, “No, I think this is song is just about breaking up with the old boyfriend.”
Blitzen, “Wait, what is she singing about?”
Me or Andrew reply that it is whatever teenage angsty issue Taylor is belting out.
Blitzen reflects, “She sure has a lot of different boyfriends!”
Anyway, this morning as I was leaving for work (a little earlier than usual) and Blitzen thought about getting upset and cranky, she decided to serenade me with the lyrics from Stay Stay Stay instead.
Apparently Blitzen has been singing quite a bit a school. Cosmically, I think this is good – she is happy and comfortable. I think we may need to work on the volume a bit though. Might not be the best thing to be belting out Beyonce in the middle of class.
I love pop music. Give me two chords and a catchy hook burrowing into my brain and you’ve got me.
It turns out that my musical taste tracks perfectly with that of nine year-old girls. Much to Carrie’s chagrin, Blitzen and I can play the same songs on repeat for hours.
The first couple times Blitzen hears a new song, she listens carefully and asks, “What’s she singing about?” We’ve had thoughtful discussions about the meanings of song lyrics by Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Sara Bareilles, Rihanna, Demi Lovato. Blitzen hears the emotion, confidence and passion of these singers and wants to crack their code.
When Blitzen hears the first few notes of a song she likes, she gets excited. “This is my song right here!” She frequently walks around the house singing lyrics that articulate her emotions. A recent favorite (from a mermaid movie of course) goes “I feel connected, protected… connected inside.”
This month, Blitzen, like most Americans, is singing “Call Me Maybe.” Unlike most Americans, Blitzen can’t sing it without crying. She was weeping in the shower trying to get the words out. As she explained afterward, “H (beloved eight-year-old niece) and I sang this song every day in Arizona. It was our song. I miss H so much.”
Golly Blitzen uses words well to express her feelings. Seaweed makes her anxious, leaving people you love is difficult, Carrie understands her best. When Blitzen sings and cries in the shower with emotion-filled pop songs yet to be written, she’ll know exactly what she’s singing about. I’m especially excited about the words she’ll write herself.
I won’t be able to come visit you, Blitzen told me last night.
Can’t we use a boat? I asked.
I won’t really have a water taxi, she said. In stanza two of the mermaid song, there is mention of a mermaid water taxi.
Well, what if I got a boat, drove out to the middle of the ocean and you could swim up and say hi to me there, I replied.
She considered this possibility for quite a while. That might work, she finally agreed.
And on to other news — Blitzen is getting a new social worker because her family didn’t have enough, I guess. So now there are 3 social workers for the 6 kids instead of 2. 2 agencies, 3 social workers and a whole host of other people. I am sure this will ensure smooth communication, clear planning and a speedy process as we work as a team to do what is best for this family. Or maybe not.
Andrew and Blitzen are meeting the new worker today. I have a work event so my introduction will hopefully happen next week. The agency is a little worried about Blitzen’s reaction to a new person (or more accurately, the removal of the old worker who isn’t really going anywhere, he just isn’t our worker any more, so we’ll see him around at agency functions, etc, but he won’t come visit our house once a month). I am not so worried. Blitzen is much more invested in her relationship with her behavorial therapist. Miss K comes every week to visit with Blitzen and they are very good friends. If Miss K leaves or moves on to other cases, we’re really in trouble. That would be a loss for our entire family because Miss K is GREAT!!! She is so awesome, oh my gosh. In the beginning, when things were, well, frankly kind of awful, she called us every day to check in and give us tips and reassure us. We wouldn’t be where we are now with Blitzen if she hadn’t been so dedicated to helping us and such a great advocate for Blitzen.
We’ll see how the introduction of a new person into our routine turns out. As Blitzen told me last night, she doesn’t really like bad surprises.
Blitzen to everyone she encounters (teachers, kids at school, me and Andrew several times a day, strangers on the street) ‘If you were a creature living under the deep, blue sea, would you be a shark, squid, or a mermaid?’ Hint, the correct answer is mermaid.
Blitzen and our friend / music teacher, P, wrote a mermaid song yesterday. The first stanza goes like this:
Blitzen the mermaid
has short hair so black
she has jewels and gold
piled high in a sack
she swims through the
seaweed, coral and plants
she wears a sparkly orange
outfit but never pants –
She sang it to us last night. It was quite lovely. Apparently they brainstormed lots of good mermaid words before composing this beautiful and catchy tune. Sounds like a lot of fun.