Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Memory Work

Our 9yo has always been really great about memorizing. When he was three, he memorized large chunks (if I were referring to a book, typically the Bible but does not have to be, it would be called pericopes…thanks, DW, for introducing me to the word…I haven’t been the same since.) of movies. The Incredibles was his movie of choice and we would almost parade him around to do his bit to entertain the troops.

Well, not so much the troops, but the grandparents sure were impressed. We would have entertained troops had we known any enlisted men or women at the time.

As he’s gotten older, we have attempted to capitalize on/get the most from/encourage that talent/skill/what have you by hiding God’s word in his heart. Each week the PBA have a memory verse they have 5 days to memorize. Not an easy feat for me, an adult, but for children it has proved to be fairly stressless.  In fact, the 9yo especially does pretty well with it, as well as other memory work for school. But unfortunately his real passion for memorization is in movie lines.

I have to tell you right here that I do kind of love the ABC Family Countdown to Christmas series. Or whatever it’s called. It’s NOT that I’ve watched that channel enough as of late to know that’s what’s going on there…

Usually we simply watch the movies that are on WHEN they are on, or perhaps DVR them to watch ONCE at a later date.

I was thrilled to notice, early on in the Christmas season, that “Despicable Me” was one of the movies they were going to broadcast.  I had not, at the time, had the good fortune of watching said movie. The PBA had seen it twice and Mr. Always Random and Usually Shallow saw it once.

I asked my husband to record it. For the record, I know, full well, how to schedule the DVR however when we’re watching TV together or as a family, Mr. Random always drives. The rest of us don’t do it right or something. He hasn’t said anything directly stating that, but is very quick to imply it, “Here, give me the remote.” Sometimes for spite I don’t, and I make him watch HGTV.

We have a healthy relationship.

Although I suppose there has to be SOMETHING that I let him do since laundry clearly isn’t it.

Truth be told, half the time I’m not even watching whatever it is that is on the TV because I am doing one of about 20 other things at the same time: paying bills, clipping coupons, making greeting cards, blogging. A number of important things, to be sure, and changing the channel on the TV is not always a priority.

Unless, as was the case just yesterday while we were watc hing the “Twilight Zone” marathon on SciFi, they aired a commercial for something C.R.E.E.P.Y and my 11yo was freaking out and trying not to watch it and change the channel at the same time. At that point I was VERY interested in what was on TV, but wasn’t able to help him out in his panic. We don’t really do scary in our house. I hate it and it gives the PBA, mostly the 9yo, bad dreams. Though it primarily affects the 9yo, I suspect that the 11yo may secretly be ok with the fact that we don’t do scary.

The 9yo sometimes has dreams (good, bad, or indifferent…he uses them all as excuses) that cause him to get up in the middle of the night and snuggle in our bed. It rarely happens now (almost never, in fact), but for a while, starting at about the age of 5, he came in our room EVERY night. Once that habit had taken hold, it was a difficult one to break.

I was especially infuriated because we had always said, “No kiddos in our bed.” I do not recall the 11yo ever asking, so this was new territory for us.  The 9yo was like a ninja and he’d be in there and back asleep before we knew it had even happened. Countless mornings we awoke to find that he was smooshed in between us.

At my wits end, my dear friend JP (she was just a friend before she suggested this…but her idea was such a lifesaver that she now falls into the “dear friend” category) gave me this suggestion; it worked like a charm. I am MORE than pleased to pass this info along.
She said to put a sleeping bag in our room. Tell him at bedtime the expectation, “If you come in our room in the middle of the night, you’ll have to get in the sleeping bag on the floor…not in the bed.”

So we did just as she explained. And when he came in our room that night, he had to unroll the sleeping bag, spread it out where he wanted it, and lay down in it. There was only slight weeping and gnashing of teeth as he fumbled in the dark to unroll and then smooth out the bag.

He only had to do that for two nights before he was “cured”.

As I said, he will still occasionally come in during the night. Or sometimes he simply wakes up early and saunters on in.

Take New Year’s Day, for instance. I was awakened to a squirmy body snuggling up to me and a little voice with a lisp (he has to sleep with a retainer in his mouth…after two rounds of expanders, he WILL maintain the space in there!) saying to me, “Mom, did you know that your teeth are bones?”

Me: Yes, buddy I did. Could you please whisper?

9yo: We’re kind of like starfish…when our teeth get knocked out, they regenerate…just like a starfish regenerates a leg if it breaks off.”

Me: No, that’s not right at all. We are nothing like starfish. If we lose a limb, it doesn’t grow back.

9yo: No, I mean our teeth. If our teeth get knocked out, during boxing or something, they regenerate.

Me: No, that’s not true. If you have a tooth knocked out, you have to get it put back in or get a fake tooth.

9yo: No, I mean if KIDS are boxing and they have a tooth knocked out.

Me: Well, that’s not being regenerated…that’s a baby tooth knocked out and a permanent tooth growing in.

9yo: Yeah, that’s what I meant.

Me: Are you around a lot of kids that are boxing?

9yo: I mean like on that one show with the kids. That old show…what is it?

Me: Is it in black and white? Is it “The Little Rascals”?

9yo: Yeah, that’s it.

Me: OK…Happy New Year!

Do not ask how I was able to discern what he was talking about, especially at 5:30 in the morning shortly after being awakened. The 9yo and I have a weird kind of connection with things like that. I’m not always proud of that fact.

And he MAY come by his randomness honestly…

But I digress…I was discussing the 9yo but it was about his ability to memorize, not his mad ninja skills or his seemingly-random comments.

Just to recap in case you’ve completely forgotten what we were talking about:

My 9yo has quite a knack for memory work. His medium of choice is movie lines. We DVR’d “Despicable Me” at the beginning of December.  

Yes, I was able to succinctly recap that which probably took you several minutes to read originally. Don’t you wish you had those few minutes back? But no crying about it now…let’s continue.

So…not that I was busy or anything but it took two weeks for me to be able to watch the movie in its entirety. And that was only by watching an hour one night and then watching the second hour two weeks later. Yes, it’s an action –packed glamorous life I lead. Don’t hate.

However, in the time it took me to complete this movie one time, my 9yo watched the movie…or at least various parts of it…ad nauseum. And thereby committed virtually the entire thing to memory.

If I walked through the living room while he was watching it and it was a scene in the second half of the movie, he would shout, “Mom! Don’t watch this part! You haven’t seen it yet!”

I appreciated his consideration, but based on what I had seen, I was fairly certain nothing would be spoiled by me seeing the movie out of order.

By New Year’s Eve, I had watched the movie in its complete, unedited format. And we had no major plans for New Year’s, other than hanging out at home and enjoying one another’s company.

However, despite the number of times he’d watched it over the previous month, imagine our 9yo’s delight when we realized that the Disney Channel (no, NOT ABC Family) was airing “Despicable Me” that night.

We all knew unquestioningly that our New Year’s Eve entertainment would be provided by the 9yo.

We proceeded to spend the better part of two hours alternately muting and un-muting the movie while the 9yo did all the voices, with inflection and accent. He even provided the music if there was no dialogue. Music identical to the movie soundtrack. It was like Bobby McFarrin standing there in front of me. Don’t worry…be happy.

My sides hurt from laughing.  You could not have bought entertainment like that had you wanted to. I don’t know exactly why you would want to, but let me know if so…we rent him for birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. Our rates our reasonable.

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