Oh my gosh, you guys. Have I got a story for you!
Do you remember when I wrote this post about how my oldest has struggled with sensory stuff since birth, but that we were finally able to go glow bowling without major drama? Remember how I said that we had conquered glow bowling and our next stop would be a movie theater?
Yeah, well… it’s been over a year since that post and we haven’t made it to the movie theater yet. The kids have finally filled the family kindness bucket and we plan to go to see The Peanuts Movie when it comes out next week, but I was presented with the chance to take the kids to Marvel Universe Live.
*Disclosure: I received tickets to Marvel Universe Live at no cost in exchange for a post. I was not required to write a positive review. As always, I only share what I believe my readers would enjoy.
Marvel Universe Live
For the uninitiated, Marvel Universe Live is a live show featuring twenty-five well-known superheroes from Marvel Comics as they embark on an action-packed adventure. During the performance, some of Marvel’s much-loved superheroes must band together to locate and reunite the Cosmic Cube fractals and defeat the dreaded Loki. Featuring Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, and Wolverine, among others, Marvel Universe Live is filled with action, special effects, and suspense. And, if you love bad guys like my 4-year-old, there are plenty of those, too: from Loki to Red Skull to Electro to Green Goblin and more!
Super Hero Love
If you’ve followed this site for any length of time, you already know that I have a superhero-loving 4-year-old. My little superhero has been obsessed with all things Marvel and DC for well over a year. He’s forever morphing into various superheroes and villains. It is not at all unusual to see me out in our community with my superhero sidekick.
Speaking of good books, Seuss has treasured two superhero books for the past year-plus. They are tattered and well-loved. He falls asleep with them regularly.
Folks, before this superhero obsession I had no idea about the whole DC – Marvel thing. I thought superheroes were superheroes and that they all knew each other or hated each other, or whatever. Roll your eyes at me if you want, but I spent my childhood with Anne with an E and the smurfs, not DC or Marvel.
Children are our wisest teachers and Seuss has schooled me in superheroes!
A Marvel-ous Opportunity
So what does a mama do when she’s presented with an opportunity to make one child over-the-moon-happy, but that same opportunity might be extremely stressful for the other son?
I’ve mentioned before how I sometimes feel guilty because there is one squeaky wheel in our home while the other two demand far less attention. I decided to go for the opportunity, despite the fact that it could be a terribly squeaky evening.
Here is how we prepared our oldest, who struggles with sensory stuff, for Marvel Universe Live:
- We didn’t talk about it at all until the afternoon of the event. The kids had no idea that we were going. We did this because he didn’t have time to work himself up into a dither about anything.
- When it came time to tell the kids, we talked about how much Seuss loves superheroes and what a great family night this could be for all of us, and especially for our littlest member. We did this because empathy is important.
- Then, I showed the kids videos of Marvel Universe Live so that they knew what to expect. I talked about how it was going to contain the following: loud volume, suspense, darkness, surprising noises, crowds, various smells, stunts, lights, explosions, fire, and more. We did this because it’s important to prepare these kids for the unexpected.
- We talked about how everything we would see would be a performance. We did this because it’s important for them to understand that it is all for entertainment and that none of it is real.
- We talked about coping strategies for Leo. We asked him to identify what might help. We did this because it’s important to plan and to know what works for you. Leo is getting really good at knowing what will work and what might not work for him. Coping skills are among the most important of life skills. Leo was able to identify the following:
- He wanted to watch the previews once more so that he could really take in all that he would be seeing.
- He wanted to bring his noise-canceling headphones.
- He wanted to know where an EXIT was, just in case.
- He wanted to sit beside me and hold my hand as needed.
- He wanted to make sure that one parent could leave with him if it got to be too much.
- Finally, to prepare for the night and get the kids excited, we grabbed some face paint and got in the superhero spirit!
A SUPER Family Night Out
The kids’ excitement was palpable as we quickly ate dinner and gathered our coats. These early birds could not believe that they were heading out to an event at 7:00 pm on a school night.
Leo kept telling us he was going to love it. We hoped, especially for Seuss’ sake, that he was right!
To say that Seuss enjoyed himself would be a GIGANTIC understatement. He was enthralled from the beginning ’til the end and hasn’t stopped talking about the event! His face looked like THIS the entire night:
But what about Leo? Well, he started off the night armed with headphones.
He was excited but visibly nervous. When the lights went out and the show began, he huddled close to me. I could feel his little heart pounding. The first explosion made us both jump and Schizz and I exchanged glances. We were waiting for him to freak out; we were convinced that he would scream and flee at any moment.
Well, I am happy to report that Leo loved it. It helped that he was armed with a program that outlined the events of the story. He read it before the show started and followed along as the night went on.
Folks, this event was a sensory overload. It was a fun sensory overload but …
The lights: flashing, strobe, lasers.
The scary characters.
The whizzing cars and jumping motorcycles.
The smell of exhaust.
Folks, he did it.
He not only did it, but he rocked it.
About three-quarters through the show I looked over and saw THIS:
They all loved it.
Marveling at Our Journey
Once the kids were tucked in bed, hours later than their usual bedtime, Schizz and I marveled at our journey and how far we have come. We just couldn’t believe it: Leo not only sat through all of that, but he enjoyed himself.
What a difference a year can make!
Tell me, folks: What successes have your family celebrated lately? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram