The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
June 11, 2022
Have you found your way to “Bluey” yet? Do you know the game Keepy Uppy? Shadowlands? Asparagus? The Claw? Featherwand can be very challenging! “Bluey” is an Australian animated series that has made its way around the world with a sensational following of both children and their parents, and even grandparents. The Heeler family (of the blue heeler dog variety) lives in a comfortable home in Australia. Bluey and her sister Bingo are the main characters. The participation of their parents in their lives is an example to parents everywhere, to be in the moment with their children and to play!
The book “My Dad is Awesome” by Bluey and Bingo is a tribute to their dad Bandit. With humor, they honor their dad’s ability to parent with love, joy and fun, laced with both discipline and an honest portrayal of failure. When failure happens, they display healthy remedies for all sides. Give yourself 15 minutes to try just one episode and see if it doesn’t touch something in you. “Bluey” can be found on many channels including Disney Junior, The Disney Channel and YouTube. Treat yourself even if you don’t have young kids. This program has a way of speaking to all ages and Bandit can reveal special insights into the life of dads.
When looking for more books on fathers, I came across “Like No Other Boy” by Larry Center. The main character, Chris Crutcher, is divorced with joint custody of his 8-year-old autistic son. The writing brings the reader through a myriad of emotions as Chris tries to find the best way to help his son through the intricate mazes of autism. Chris is a voice over actor and uses his multiple voices when trying to engage his son. A surprising breakthrough comes during a trip to the zoo and a connection between his son Tommy and the chimpanzees.
Using sign language, facial and body motions and what is determined to be an internal intuition, Tommy and the chimpanzees communicate. This stimulates Tommy’s ability to put his thoughts into words and to gain greater ease in speaking to his dad. It’s a real breakthrough that is hard won by a complicated and heartbreaking path through the courts and a challenge to Chris’s joint custody of his son.
While reading, I wanted this novel to be a biography, to be real. There are studies between primates and autism going on at this time. I hope they find viable answers for children like Tommy and his family. In the meantime, build hope with this remarkable dad in this story, that his love and determination is enough to bridge the gaps between himself and his child.
A real life miracle did happen with a young autistic boy and his love of the parrot voice lago, in the animated film “Aladdin,” spoken/played by the actor Gilbert Gottfried. The book “Life, Animated” by Ron Susskind relates how he found he could talk to his autistic son Owen by interacting with him as his favorite Disney characters. In both the book and the 2016 documentary “Life, Animated,” Gottfried surprises Owen and a group of his autistic friends while they are performing their version of Aladdin voices. Gottfried steps through the door at the exact strategic moment, in the voice of lago, to the delight of the teenagers. What a wonderful gift to these kids. Gottfried, a father himself to two girls, gave these young people a memory to hold for a lifetime and encouragement to grow and expand their own personal journeys.
Dads come in all shapes and sizes. Some are serious and quiet. Some are stern. Some are more boisterous and fun than others. Being a dad does not come with instructions and most dads have to wing it from the moment that little bundle of joy is placed in their big daddy arms. If you were gifted with the best dad in the world, you were truly blessed. Honor them. Honor dads for the hardest job in their whole lives. And if you are a dad, new or old, it is never too late to put on your daddy gloves and give the kids and grandkids in your life your full attention and time. Play some Keepy Uppy and Featherwand. Get down to their eye level or lift them up to yours. Smile into their eyes. No one will be disappointed.
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.