A few weeks before Christmas, I found myself at a live musical production of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
It kind of sounds like hell, right? Initially, I thought so too. I sometimes like to pretend I’m a cool parent, one who doesn’t play kids music or use baby talk or have toys taking over her living room. I am a writer and a badass and a partner and a yogi and a woman, not just a mom!
But the thing is that even though I’m not just a mom, I AM a mom. More specifically, I’m a mom who adores her vivacious, feisty daughter more than life itself. I could not deny that going to see the Chipmunks live was something that Olive would absolutely love, so I did it. For her.
Imagine my surprise when it turned out to one of the best nights I’ve ever had as a parent. I cried, guys. I CRIED. Not because of the show (which was, incidentally, fun and engaging and perfect for kids) but because I got to sit there and watch her reactions as she watched the show. Her face, that look on her face!
She was absolutely blown AWAY by these chipmunks. I’d shown her a clip of the cartoon on YouTube before we went so she’d have some context for the show, but she was completely unprepared for their larger-than-life size, “They are so BIG!” she kept shrieking, and I didn’t even have to shush her because the other five million kids in the theatre were shrieking, too!
The Chipmunks sang and Olive sang. The Chipmunks clapped and she clapped. They told her to get up and dance and she jumped out of her seat and did the best, most exuberantly excited toddler dance in the world and when giant explosions of paper snow erupted overhead it was like she was being raptured. I’ve never seen her so enthralled.
As I was putting her to bed that night, both of us still buzzing from the show, I realized that this is why I advocate experiences over stuff. I don’t think I will ever see Olive experience Chipmunk-levels of excitement in response to a toy or a book or a doll. (Or even a lovingly homemade play kitchen, for that matter!)
The joy of being there, experiencing a live theatre show tailored to her age group, there is absolutely nothing like it and she still talks about it, months later. I remember filing this realization away in my head and vowing to take her to more of these things in the future.
So, having said all that, it was an absolute no-brainer when Arts Commons approached me and asked if I’d be willing to partner with them to spread the word about their next kids show, I was beyond excited. Guys, I was Chipmunk-levels of excited. I couldn’t wait to share another wild, joyful, memorable experience with Olive and spread the word about it to other families, too.
And then I heard what the show was.
Guys, it’s called Elska: Middle of Nowhere. Who is Elska? Oh, no big deal, she’s just a woman described as Bjork, for kids.
BJORK FOR KIDS.
Bjork for kids!
I can’t. Is there anything better than this? Could there possibly be anything better than bringing Olive to see a show billing itself as Bjork for kids?
Yes, in fact.
Getting to talk to the incredible for-kids-Bjork herself.
In early January, Arts Commons connected us with the oh-so-delightful Elska. Olive and I sat down one day before preschool and we placed a call. Elska answered. Olive was floored.
She sat silent, wide-eyed for the first few minutes as Elska and I said hello (“Hiddi hiddi!”). Then because Olive is pathologically unable to remain silent for more than 73 seconds especially with such an exciting person in front of her, her enthusiasm started bubbling out and she began asking Elska the questions we’d come up with together.
What does it feel like to have an arctic fox sleep on your head?
How is the goobler?
Why do people make fun of him?
How will you get to Calgary? (floating on an iceberg, if you’re wondering)
Elska was incredibly warm and whimsical, and she had Olive absolutely entranced. She answered all of Olive’s questions and told us the secret to approaching the wild Winterbear, one of the fun creatures who will be at her concert. She even invited Olive to come hug her after the show, which was the cherry on top of an already mind-blowingly-exciting situation.
So, two weeks from now, in drab, dreary February, Olive and I will get all dressed up to take in some arts and culture. We’ll go out for a special lunch and then head to the Martha Cohen Theatre. We’ll find our seats, take a deep breath and then be drawn into a dreamy world of pop-synth beats, bright colours, and magic, and I’ll see it again, that look on Olive’s face.
There’s simply nothing better.
Want to join us? If you live in or around Calgary and would like to bring your little one to Elska: Middle of Nowhere on Saturday, February 6 at 3:30pm, just hit up the link below to enter to win two tickets, and a copy of her latest CD!
All you need to do is share this post using the buttons below and visit the Arts Commons Facebook Page (feel free to “Like” it if you want to keep up to date on arts and entertainment in Calgary 🙂
Elska: Middle of Nowhere will be showing at the Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary on February 6 & 7, click here for more details!