Saturday, April 4, 2009

Me and The Dancing Queen

My youngest sister is just 16. She loves Zac Effron, movie musicals, Inuyasha, ABBA, Christmas and all things Asian. She likes to spend her free time talking on the phone with her sisters, playing games or watching videos on the computer, and reading (books about movies, China, dogs and Asian cookbooks are her favourites). She is sensitive, funny, caring and very talkative. She also has William's Syndrome.

There are a lot of things that are difficult for her to understand or do, but there is also a lot that she is very good singing, smiling (she beams!), brightening someone's day with a kind word or expression of affection, having an infectious, whole hearted enthusiasm for the things she likes, and earnestly "telling it like it is" with refreshing, often hilarious candour. It sounds trite, and it is often said of special needs children, but she has truly been a gift for our family.

Last week she came to stay with us while my parents were away on a business conference. I was a little worried about how she'd get on with her nephews...all three of them are at a similar stage as far as social maturity goes, and share some similar issues with rigidity etc., but other than a few "bumps" everyone did really well. Since it was also my guys' Spring break, we decided that everybody got to choose a special themed day, and food and activities to go with it. So we had "Pizza and Movie Day" (finally got to see Coraline! and it is visually STUNNING!), "Asian Day" (which also included an outing to the book store to look at all the manga that she's not allowed to read!), "Video Game Day", "Art & Reading Day" and "Do Whatever You Want Day". (Can you guess who picked each day?)

On "Art & Reading Day", the Dancing Queen and I worked on a special painting to hang in her bedroom. She wanted a beautiful girl, preferably a Geisha (but you know, not the kind that would do "blah, blah, blah" with men, but the kind that would just walk in her garden...obviously!). So all the whimsical folk art stuff that I've been learning over at Willowing's came in handy, and together we made this:

(mixed media, 16x12 on stretched canvas)

I was thrilled at how proud she was of it. Really thrilled. She's never participated much in art activities. Fine motor deficits make it hard for her to manipulate pencils, brushes, scissors etc. and sensory issues mean that the idea of getting stuff like paint on her hands or clothing can be upsetting for her. She was very quiet while we were working, and I often had to call her back to the table when it was time to do the next part, so I wasn't sure how much she was enjoying the process (sometimes it's hard to tell with the DQ), but the minute Mom and Dad came home she was proudly showing them her finished piece, and even asked me if I would help her work on more art to give as Christmas presents this year. Yay!

She lives about 5 hours away, so I am not sure how we could accomplish the joint Christmas girls art project...but I will figure out a way. There are some collaborations that are just too enriching, too challenging and too good to pass up.

"You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, diggin' the dancing queen"


  1. Aw E. I feel like all I do is come on here and say 'Lovely, lovely, lovely. This post is lovely.' But it's true!

    Favourite part: "But you know, not the kind of Geisha that would do "blah, blah, blah" with men." LOVE IT!

  2. maybe you could art together via mail, a la senpa--like you do a bit and send it to her with a 'instruction/how to'.

    she sounds lovely and your visit with her sounds enriching! thanks for sharing :)

  3. my favourite evening spent with the Dancing Queen was that hot night out on the acreage where she ran around in her skivvies making us laugh hysterically. she eats that up... what a showgirl.

  4. @K You can drop by and say "lovely" to me anytime. :) And "blah, blah, blah" is all the DQ. She never, ever says "sex", even refers to the Carrie Bradshaw show as "Blah, Blah, Blah in the City"!

    @Serenity hi and thanks! :) The mail is a good idea, but she just can't work independently enough. I will need to be there with her, unless I can enlist somebody else's help to be with her. Hmmmm...

    @ Craig I had forgotten all about that! She was just little then. Gosh, how many years ago was that?

  5. Blah, blah, blah in the city?!?! hahahahaha! How long have you been hanging on to *that* little gem?! Hilarious!


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