Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ode to Maurice Sendak

I took my boys to see “Where the Wild Things Are” recently. It’s been out awhile, I know, but we’ve been busy. We caught the Saturday morning show over at Discover Mills Mall, when tickets prices are only $6 apiece for shows before noon. My wife thought it was a wonderful way to save money on ticket prices and it would have been, had I not promised the boys popcorn and drinks.

The kids enjoyed the show, though my younger son thought it a bit scary at times. (Granted, that could have been the caffeine and sugar in the Coke that kept him agitated.) My older son loved it. Admittedly, so did I, but not for any reason that had to do with the movie.

When my older son was still a toddler, my wife and I noticed he had trouble speaking. He had babbled like any child does at the appropriate ages and then his language abilities fell to the ground like a meteorite. We took him to doctors, therapists, specialists, etc. And we grew more and more frustrated.

One of the things we did though was to continue to try and read to him. We read simple books, books with great pictures, books to help kids pick up reading. We tried acting these books out to bring his words out.

No book was more popular with my older son than “Where the Wild Things Are.” We read the book every night. We bought a cassette tape of Maurice Sendak stories and listened to it in the car on the way to day care. And, as we went through the book, we followed the crescendos and decrescendos all the way up to my son’s favorite part of the book, where the little boy character, Max, is made king of the place where the wild things are and gives his first decree.

“Let the wild rumpus start.”

Max and the wild things all danced around and played. My son and I would do the same thing, at least until it was time for the wild things to be sent to bed without their supper as had happened to Max earlier in the story.

From there, we would finish the book. We might read something else. Another one my son’s favorites was another Sendak book, “In the Night Kitchen.” And while my son enjoyed that story, his reaction was never close to what came out for the wild things.

And after our reading was done, my son and I would put the books away until the next night, when we got to open up them up and let the wild rumpus start all over again.


Jody Hedlund said...

How beautiful, Walt! You sound like a wonderful Daddy! (And you just can't go to the movies without popcorn! What fun is that?)

Keli Gwyn said...

How neat that you were able to watch this movie with your son and relive the many memories associated with the book. No doubt your oldest loved the wild rumpuses you two shared. It's obvious you're a great dad.

Walt M said...

Jody, that was my thought. What's a movie without popcorn? Thanks for stopping by.

Walt M said...


We did have fun when he was little, but being able to pull him out of that shell was more fun. Thank you for your comments.