Monday, October 24, 2016

Dog Days

My son is very particular about the dogs he chooses to befriend. I am glad for this, as it keeps us from worrying that he will just approach a possibly aggressive animal.

His breeds of choice are labradors and golden retrievers, which happen to be the most child-friendly types, and my favourites as well. I dream of one day getting him a service dog, but that will be a long time coming yet, as we need a house and the enlarged shoebox we currently live in.

Since Big A is allergic, Little A's only interactions with canines are the neighbours' pets and the occasional work dog. My sister and her family have golden retrievers, but in all his years of existence, Little A has never been to their house to play with them.

Then last Sunday, at birthday lunch for my mum, my sister's family turned up with two of their three dogs.

The adults sat at the table while the cousins alternated between eating and spending time outside with the pooches. Other children came up as well, and played with the very friendly animals.

Little A hopes for more dog visits, so this upcoming half-term I have asked my nephew and niece to bring the dogs over again, when Little A spends time at his grandparents'.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Conducting the Orchestra

Little A has always loved classical music. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Haydn and Vivaldi are names he knows well, as he has been hearing their work since he was in the womb. He might not be able to spell Tchaikovsky, but he certainly knows most of the music from Swan Lake and the Nutcracker Suite.

Several years ago, my sister gave him a violin that my nieces had outgrown. It was something he adored, along with the other toy instruments in his music box, and still does. However, it was only recently that he started rereading a long time favourite storybook, and this time he learnt all the parts of the orchestra.

Each time Big A and I have travelled this year, we have been asked to bring back specific instruments from the brass or woodwind sections. Since Little A is not yet having proper lessons and real instruments are huge, heavy and expensive, he makes do with toy versions.

In the last few weeks, he has discovered the joy of conducting "concerts". In the evenings, he arranges the chairs, assigns us instruments, and plays excerpts on his iPad. We "play" along, and bow at the end to applause.

We are pleased with this initiated social interaction, and look forward to building it into proper music lessons, more interaction with peers, and increased opportunities for communication. Music is the food of love, indeed. Play on!