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Review Time: That Physics Show

Review: That Physics Show

Location: Elektra Theater,  300 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036, United States                                                                                                                        Our Show time: 3pm

“I learned  more in these 90 minutes than I learned in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade”. 

These were the words of my 13 year old as we walked out of “That Physics Show”, an off- Broadway production that my family and I were fortunate enough to be given tickets to see. The premise of the show? Well, the name says it all: “Physics”. It was 90 minutes of Einstein meets Bill Nye the Science Guy. My son’s reaction to the show took me by surprise. Throughout the entire show, he looked less than amused. I guess it was that “don’t let them see you smile, laugh, or enjoy anything about life” thing that teens do. His 10 year old brother, however, knelt in his chair, sat on the edge of his seat, stood blocking the people in front of him, all to see experiment demonstrations, one after the next. He also whispered the occasional “I know what’s about to happen” in my ear, followed by a sped up narrative of what was about to go down so that he could beat the experiment to the outcome and have the satisfaction of saying “I told you!!”

As for me, I was pleasantly surprised that both of my boys ended up enjoying the show. My first instinct upon sitting in the small theater was concern that they were going to be bored. Well, actually, my VERY first instinct was to scout out the “Exit” signs. Having all three of my children (and my mom) in the small space automatically triggered my anxiety and had my spider senses tingling. But once that was established, I was concerned that the boys were going to stare at me some point in the show and say “Really mom? Really?” They were already giving me that look when I told them we were going to a show about science.

“That Physics Show” was carried out primarily by one man, David Maiullo, with appearances by his two assistants who said very little, but provided him with all the props needed to set him up for each of his “tricks”. When the show first began, he explained to the audience that he is a physics demonstrator at Rutgers University and that it is his belief that physics (and practically all sciences), would be a lot more interesting if they were taught in a hands on manner. While I definitely believe in that theory, I thought that his college vernacular would have my children snoozing in no time. With terms like “Laws of Conservation of Motion”, “Inertia”, “Isobaric Pressure”, and “Uniform Circular Motion” I thought surely they would lose interest. However, this was not at all the case as he presented some pretty amazing demonstrations to go with each tongue twisting term. Furthermore, as he performed each experiment, he tapped into the audience members’ inner scientist by posing questions like “what do you think is about to happen?”, followed by an enthusiastic  “let’s find out!” My ten-year old was always up for the prediction and waited to see if his hypothesis was correct. I, on the other hand, stayed silent not wanting to predict anything and run the risk of looking silly in front of my son. For example, did you know what would happen if people filled balloons with hydrogen instead of helium? Well, I didn’t know! (Don’t judge me). But my son knew and when it happened, the wide smile that filled his face was enough to indicate that this show was right up his alley.

After the show was over, everyone had an opportunity to take a picture  with the star of the show. My 10 year old stared at him with respect and admiration. My 13 year old gave him his props and told him how he wished all science classes were taught in this manner. My mom was just happy to get out with her grandchildren. And my 2 year old was able to keep it together with a little help from the iPad and some headphones for the last 30 minutes of the show.

Yup, it was a great 90 minutes: an outing with my kids, educational, and fun. Definitely time well spent.

Would I recommend this show?: Yes.

Who would I recommend this show to?:

1. Parents of a curious child

2. Middle school students (it’s a great way to show them how the things they’ve learned actually applies to real life).

3. Educators who need a little reminder that teaching should not be filled with lectures.

Pros:

1. A very interactive show that keeps the audience engaged.

2. My teen liked it! A teenager liked something that his mother chose to do. Enough said.

3. Extremely accessible from the NYC train station. The “A” train to 42nd street Port Authority, followed by a 50 foot walk from the train station.

4. The different physics concepts were broken down into simpler terms so that children as young as 7 or 8 years old could understand and connect it to their everyday lives.

Cons:
1. The seating was all one level, making it difficult for shorter children to see the stage.

2. Some of the experiments/demonstrations were anti-climactic while others kept me in suspense. It was like an entertainment sandwich; great experiments followed by things that I could have done at home, followed by things that absolutely wowed me. I am not sure that this is a true “con” per say, because it still held the attention of my children, and I guess that’s all that matters.
Overall Rating:

Four peas in a pod! (Out of five)
Talk to you soon,

Serene
Share with me: Have you seen the show already? What did you think of it? Do you plan to see the show? Let me know you thoughts once you see it.

Fist Bumps and Hugs

This summer we were fortunate enough to get our eldest son enrolled in a Summer Camp that is completely dedicated to traveling.  Each day our son, along with about 100 other pre-teens and teens travel to a new location.  These trips can range from visiting a museum or an amusement park to hiking in the Adirondacks or white water rafting.  Everyday presents a new adventure which is perfect for my son, who loves to always be on the go.

So on the first day of camp, I was just as excited as he was for this great opportunity. My excitement was probably more visible, because as you know, according to the “Teen Code”, showing any sign of excitement over anything is totally lame.  But I knew he was excited because for the entire month leading up to camp, he could not stop looking at the itinerary.

But either way, as we drove to the meeting grounds, I gave him the rundown of my expectations of him and all the regular “overprotective” mom speeches:

“ Stay with your group when you are in large places”, “Make sure you listen for instructions when your group leader speaks”, and so on and so on. 

As he nodded on with each point, we pulled up to the front of the building and I began to scan the area for parking.  The car hadn’t come to a full stop before my son says, “Okay mom, bye.” “Umm, sorry mister,”I had to quickly burst his bubble,” It’s the first day of camp. I’d like to meet the counselors, perhaps see who some of the campers are, and perhaps just show my face to let them know that there is some type of parental unit attached to the camper.”   You would have thought that I told him that I’d like to go with him and be his trip buddy, holding hands and everything. “Fine”, he said, slumping back in his seat.

After parking the car we entered the camp main building and walked towards the large cluster of people standing in the lobby, which actually turned out to be two separate groups.  There was a group of teens in one huddle and then pressed along side the wall on the other side of the room was a small group of parents who were obviously asked to keep their distance as if they needed to be quarantined.  My son quickly noticed the separation and very nicely requested that I stand amongst the other parents.

“Mom, there are no parents over in this area” he said speaking from the side of his mouth and looking straight ahead because God forbid we look like we are actually together. 

I assured him that I wouldn’t linger too long, that I just wanted to find out a few more things.  I proceeded to get the answers I was seeking from the director of the program, and he informed me that the buses to transport the campers to their first destination was about 15 minutes away.  I decided that since my son was making a conscious effort to keep his distance from me, that I too would follow his lead and join this covert op.  I moved like a ninja to his side watching over my shoulder to make sure that no other teen could see me speaking to the child that has the same exact face as mine.  I faced my back to his back and whispered to him that his bus would be arriving at 0800 and that when he arrived back to the camp building, I would be placed inconspicuously  around the corner, slumped down in the drivers seat so that we could make a fast break later on that evening.  He quickly understood my message and gave a head nod while also surveying the area.  He then turned his body halfway to face me and gave me what could only be considered a hug of some sort.  It was so quick, by the time I realized what had happened, he had already slipped through the crowd and sat down to wait for his bus.  I watched from a distance, careful not to let him see me watching him.

15 minutes later all campers were told to line up outside as the buses had now arrived.  I followed the group, noting the bus number, and the driver behind the wheel.  But I especially noted the confidence with which my son moved along the line as he prepared for his first traveling camp adventure with a group that he’s never been with.  I noted that I have a child who is no longer a baby although he will always be my baby.  And I noted that as he is growing, I am also growing, and growth is good.

As he got closer and closer to the entrance of the bus, I had a sudden urge to run, grab him and hug him like I did when he was little.  But I fought the urge, cause I knew that he would “never” forgive me for that one.  So instead, I walked in his direction as if I were walking pass him. And just as he was about step on the bus, I stuck out my fist. He noticed me immediately and did the same.  As our fists bumped, I mouth the words, “I love you”. And though he didn’t say it back, the small smile that came to the corner of his mouth said everything that my heart needed to hear.  And I walked away proud of myself, knowing that I am a pretty awesome mom to a pretty cool pre-teen. And thus begins my own journey into the world of teenagers.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Share with me: When did you first realize that it might be time to let go just a little bit? 

 

Summer Amnesia

Originally published in August 2014

It’s that time of year again.  Summer Break for the children and for me as well.  Although I still have to go to work every day, not having to get up in the morning and wake up Papi and Munch, not having to pack their lunches the night before, not having to prepare clothing for the week is all a very welcomed break. But what I have found is that it is also a brain break, which could be a good thing, but right now I am not referring to the good way. Right now I am referring to the brain break that my children always take that makes it seem as if they have never gone to school a day in their lives by the time school begins again in September.  Last year, I will never forget my oldest son, Papi picking up a pencil to write something towards the end of the summer break.

It looked like he was using chopsticks for the very first time with his non-dominant hand, then he actually said “this feels so weird! I haven’t held a pencil in so long. I almost forgot how to write.” 

Now you may be asking yourself, what kind of mother am I that I didn’t see to it that they were writing all summer long? My response: It was just that kind of a fun summer. Don’t judge me.  But either way,  what kind of craziness is that?!!  Does two months really have the capability of wiping away something that is practiced daily for ten months? Well apparently it does and this summer, there was no way that I was going to let that type of amnesia try to set it again.

And thus, my new family project was born. Now, the key to having children do anything that even resembles school work during the summer, and they still enjoy it is to disguise it as something else.  I have seen parents who sign their children up for literacy, and math classes throughout the summer to avoid the aforementioned “forgetfulness”, but I am not that parent as I do think children need down time.

However, I am that parent that will trick her children into doing work by making it look fun. SO this is what I did.

First I came up with a writing topic, something that sparks creativity. Then instead of just assigning the writing task to the children, our entire family got involved: me, and my hubby, as well as the boys. Next I gave each of the boys their own composition notebooks and a due date that we all had to adhere to. Two days after the assignment was given, everyone was ready with their story.  We gathered on the sofa and took turns reading our stories out loud. The rules were that no one was allowed to laugh at anyone’s story in a critical manner, and no interrupting.    It was a great success! Everyone definitely brought their own personalities to their stories with the big laugh of the night being my hubby’s half human, half raisin story (yep, that’s his personality for sure).  But most importantly, it was family time well spent and the children enjoyed writing.  So much in fact, that when I was ready to give them the next writing topic, they had come up with a few of their own. So now we let Munch choose the next topic: “If you could have any super talent in the world, what would it be?”  Then our oldest son, Papi is excited to choose the next topic thereafter.  I think I may be on to something! This September, there will be no forgetfulness when it comes to holding a pencil! Mission Complete.

Talk to you soon!

Serene

Share with me: What things will you do over the summer for your children to counteract summer amnesia?  

Pot of Sweet Peas

We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

Tomorrow my children start summer camp.  They are not new to summer camp at all but this particular summer camp is new to them.  In the past they have always attended summer camp where both my husband and I have worked.  If they needed us we were always no less than 5 minutes away.   However, this year they are beginning an all new summer camp which is VERY different from what they are use to.  My babies are going to be traveling an hour away from the city, going upstate New York every single day for the next 4 weeks!  Talk about an adjustment! And not just for them, but for me as well.  I’m scared y’all.  They have never ever been that far away from me unless it was with family.   

As I was saying goodnight to them this evening, they expressed to me that they too are a bit frightened of this new experience.  “How am I going to make new friends?, Are you going to be able to come with us mom?, and What are we going to do if we need help and there are no counselors around?” These were all the questions that I was hit with this evening.  Now, I usually try to make it a rule of being honest with my children so I told them the truth about how I am feeling as well. I shared with them that I too am a bit nervous about them going so far from me.  But I also explained to them that because we are all scared, this is the main reason that they have to go.  They have to go so we can all face our fears and see that there is nothing to fear at all.  

As parents, sometimes our fears and reservations can lead to us not allowing our children to explore the things that they may be curious about exploring. 

We must always remember that we are our children’s first teachers and if we always project our emotions and thoughts about every little and big thing on our children, we run the risk of them not coming to their own conclusions about the world. 

We can also discourage them from seeing things that may benefit them in the long run.  This whole camp thing is one of the many things that I know I have to just say a prayer about and leave it in God’s hands.  I have to trust that my babies will be better than fine and they will have their best summer yet. I went to summer camp far from home as a young child and it was a time in my life that I will never forget.  So why should I hold them back? I shouldn’t and I won’t.  

Talk to you soon!

Share with me: What personal fears, dislikes, concerns, or worries do you have that you have made it your business to NOT pass on to your child OR What dislikes, fears, concerns, worries have you projected on your child?