Friday, June 4, 2010

The Power of Disney

Disney Pixar really has an amazing thing going. Reaching out to different children using extraordinary characters. Alden has never really sat down to watch a television show, let alone, a two hour movie, mostly due to his auditory processing disorder. However, he is an advertiser's dream come true, recognizing logos and slogans from products shown in commercials, and you guessed it... especially cars! It wasn't until about six months ago that the Family Channel aired "Cars" on its network, that Alden had any interest in watching TV. With Alden's facination with his model cars, I tuned in after Alden and Olivia's relaxing bathtime to see if we could have a family movie night, thinking movie night would last for about 10 minutes tops. Surprised and bewildered by Alden's interest, I had never seen Alden so excited watching the TV. "A Mazda!," Alden shouted. Lightning McQueen was a Mazda, according to our car whiz. Alden related each character with the type of car he thought they were. He was probably right. "Look Mamma and Daddy, it's a Porsche!," Alden shouted when the character, Sally was introduced. "Yes, Alden, that's a Porsche," Olivia would repeat to acknowledge Alden's excitement, as she usually did. It was truly amazing to see how wonderful and attentive both kids were with the movie. Needless to say, movie night lasted for the whole two hours and Alden was literally beside himself in excitement. Lightning McQueen was becoming his new hero... and ours.

The Family Channel reaired the show the following night and I was smart enough to record it on our DVR. Thank goodness for that! Waiting for at least a week, I told Alden that if he was a good boy at school and at home, that we could see if the "Cars" movie was on again, hiding the fact that we had recorded it. Alden had an amazing week at school and at home, so I punched in the DVR recordings button, as Alden watched the screen with sheer excitement. "Look Sissy, there's the 'Cars' movie on there!," he screamed in delight as he read the TV screen. Somehow he now knew that we had the movie recorded, even after never having used the DVR. Too smart for his own good! Again, he sat through the whole movie, with me forwarding through most of the commercials unless he would ask to see one of the commercials. Amazingly, he remembered, from just having seen the movie once previously, what commercials were where. Incredible. Lightning McQueen was becoming his new hero... and ours.

Realizing now that his pull-ups that he had been wearing for months were starstruck with Lightning McQueen and Mater, potting training became a "whiz" for Alden. Not wanting to make a mess in his "designer - labeled" pull-ups, Alden seemed to quickly get the hang of using the potty. Grampa found Lightning McQueen underware, or as Alden calls them, "Lightning McQueen Hanes," and life quickly changed as my son now was growing up! Even Olivia shared in his excitement for wearing the Lightning McQueen "Hanes!" "Yay, Alden! You are wearing Nightning Keens," she would exclaim in excitement. Lightning McQueen was becoming his new hero... and ours.

From potty training to feeding, Lightning McQueen was the most popular topic in our world. Having found a Lightning McQueen sports bottle cup, a plate, forks and spoons, Alden was drinking some out of a cup and trying a few new foods. We rewarded Alden with the miniature cars from the movie, as these became his new obsession. They worked, using the bribery of the miniatures to get him to eat eggs and drink juice from a cup. Our world with Alden, was changing because of Lightning McQueen. Though Alden still has many feeding and drinking difficulties, he is trying all because of his "Cars" items. He even tried Lightning McQueen macaroni and cheese, which he would have never even touched before.

Disney Pixar probably has no idea the impact that they make on certain children, perhaps they do, but I celebrate the characters of the "Cars" movie everyday! Without Lightning McQueen, where would our lives be now? Oh, the power of Disney! Alden has truly found a hero in Lightning McQueen... and so have we!