Category Archives: Madagascar


This is how my anxiety works:  I discover pins and needles in my left foot, so I must have a tumor in my spine.  (By the way, the MRI I had last week was clear.)  I find a new freckle on my arm, so I probably have skin cancer.  I write a blog for a while.  Then, one day I decide I should write a book.  Right away.  Before it’s too late and I’ve become an old lady full of regret (if the melanoma hasn’t already killed me).

Of all the possibilities, I jump to the worst-case scenario.  I bounce directly from A to Z, and in the process, I skip a lot of important stops in the middle.  Working with my life coach over the last few months has helped me (1) slow down and (2) focus on B, C, D, and so on.  With her guidance, the elusive book is still in my future, but I’ve slowed down enough to improve the blog design, add a URL, beef up my writing skills, and experiment with new features, like giveaways. With less bouncing around, I’ve accomplished more on my blog than I ever imagined.

(Speaking of giveaways, there’s still time to enter to win tickets to the June 2nd advanced screening of “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” – South Florida readers only!  All you have to do is click here and leave a comment at the end of Monday’s “Crackalackin” post.)

A few weeks ago, I had a one-on-one session with Dylan’s occupational therapist about his mealtime challenges.  She asked me, “What are you afraid of?”  I said, “I’m afraid he’ll be a thirty-year-old man who only eats boxed macaroni and cheese and fruit squeezers.”  (Bounce.)  After delicately reminding me that he’s currently a five-year-old boy, she asked me what I want right now.  I said, “Well, I’d like to tie him to a chair and force-feed him a roasted chicken.”  (Bounce.)  Then I said, “But, I’d settle for him sitting at the dinner table for more than 30 seconds.”

And that was it.  Just like with the blog (and my health), I’d been bouncing around when what I really needed to do was stop moving.  Instead of forcing Dylan to sit at the table and try half a dozen new foods in one meal (and wonder why there was crying, whining, and chaos), I needed to work on getting him to simply sit at the table.  Just a few weeks into our new mealtime plan, dinnertime has become a lot less stressful.

Last weekend at a birthday party, Dylan went inside a bounce house for the very first time…and absolutely loved it. Until then, he wouldn’t go near a bounce house.  He was terrified.  I think it was a combination of the noise from the air blowers and the feeling of instability inside (a sensory nightmare).  As you can imagine, this has caused me a great deal of anxiety (and a lot of bouncing) over the years.

I actually don’t care much for bounce houses.  In fact, nothing makes me happier than knowing Riley is old enough to go in a bounce house without my assistance.  (Yes, Riley loves bounce houses.)  I believe people can avoid bounce houses and still lead successful and productive lives.  What bothers me is Dylan’s Fear.

I’ve brought Dylan to dozens of bounce house birthday parties only to see him cower in a corner.  I’ve seen the simultaneous fright and longing in his eyes as he’s watched his friends bounce in, out, up, down, and all around bounce houses.  He’s always wanted to join them, but he couldn’t, and that kind of phobia is dangerous.

On Saturday, though, he stared down the Fear and bounced.  And bounced and bounced and bounced!  Once he realized how fun it was, we could hardly get him out.

(I’ll get in big trouble if I don’t mention here that Mike played a big role in getting Dylan to go in the bounce house at the birthday party.  Yes, there was a little bribery involved, but no matter what I offered, he never would have done it for me.  It pains me to admit this, but Mike is the Dylan Whisperer.  I am not.)

It’s hard to describe what it felt like to witness Dylan conquer this fear, to break down the wall he was hiding behind.  It was a feeling of lightness – a weight lifted off my chest and a blend of joy, pride, hope, and possibility.  It was similar to what I felt when he got dressed for his graduation pictures.  After the birthday party, I hesitated sharing the news because I didn’t want anyone to deflate (pun intended) the delight I felt.  I also chose not to write about it until now so the glory would be all mine for a few days.

Every kid has a struggle, an issue, or a quirk.  And every parent has to figure out how to help them through it, all the while managing their own personal idiosyncrasies (i.e. Crazy).  In my case, I’m working on doing less bouncing.  In Dylan’s case, he’s working on doing more bouncing.  Big, brave, beyond belief bouncing.


Filed under anxiety, food issues, Madagascar, phobia, sensory processing disorder

Crackalackin (And a Giveaway!)

Guess what?  I’m doing my first-ever Runaway Mama giveaway!  As Lightning McQueen would say, “Ka-Chow!”  Except this post is about “Madagascar,” so as Marty would say, “That’s off the chizain!”

Before I explain the promotion, let me tell you a story.

A few years ago, Mike and I received a frantic call from our babysitter.  After she put Dylan to bed, she heard him through the baby monitor saying, “I can’t breathe, can’t breathe, darkness creeping in.  Can’t breathe, walls closing in around me.  So alone, so alone.”  After we stopped laughing, we explained to her that Dylan wasn’t hallucinating; rather, he was performing a monologue from his favorite movie, “Madagascar.”  It was from the scene where Alex, the lion, is stuck in a crate en route to Madagascar.

And so began our wild ride with Dylan and “Madagascar.”  That Halloween, Dylan refused to wear a costume.  In fact, he opted out of Halloween altogether, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try like hell to make him a costume he would love (Crafty and Crazy Mama!).  Behold:

A flat screen television and remote control showing the movie!  I was particularly proud of this costume (check out the craftsmanship on the remote control!), and when Dylan refused to wear it (and after I finished weeping from his disapproval), I wore it myself.

For Dylan’s third birthday, he had a “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” cake:

This was one of his favorite birthday presents:

(Who doesn’t belong in this picture?)

Shortly after Dylan’s birthday, we visited the Miami Zoo and saw Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman in the flesh!

Notice Dylan’s t-shirt.  In our family, we go hard or we go home.

That spring, Dylan’s preschool teachers told me the story of how each child in the class was asked to name their favorite animal during circle time.  When it was Dylan’s turn to answer, he said (after a long, pensive, and concerning silence), “Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman.”

These days, “Madagascar” and “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” play on a continuous loop (between “Cars 2” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) on our DVD player.  Riley is catching up nicely, which is a good thing, because “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” will be in theaters in June.

And here’s where I tell you about my super-exciting, first-ever Runaway Mama giveaway!  Yah!  Here are the details:

Ten lucky SOUTH FLORIDA readers have the chance to win passes to an advanced screening of “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” on Saturday, June 2nd at 10:30 a.m. at either the AMC Sunset Place in South Miami or the Cinemark Paradise in Davie.  

Now that’s CRACKALACKIN!  (Long distance readers, hang in there.  Eventually, I’ll go national.)

If you’d like to enter (each winner can invite three guests), leave a comment here telling me why you love “Madagascar” and/or who your favorite character is. (In case you’re wondering, my favorite character is Melman.  For obvious reasons, I can relate to his anxiety and hypochondriacal tendencies.)

Please do not enter if you can’t arrange your own transportation and/or lodging.  Winners will receive movie tickets ONLY.  As Alex would say, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds ya!”

The deadline to enter is midnight on Friday, May 25th.  After that, I’ll choose 10 winners at random.  Good luck!



Filed under birthday, Crazy Mama, Halloween, Madagascar, movie, zoo