Wednesday, June 8, 2011


As much as I enjoyed my trip, one of the best parts happened when I walked through my front door last night. There is NOTHING...and I mean the greeting from two excited animals after you've been away for awhile. 
Trooper came hopping down the stairs and immediately started jumping all over me. Chester followed, and being older and wiser, gave me a look that said, "It's about damn time" before leaping into my arms and slathering my bald head with his scratchy tongue. The whole trip home, I was looking forward to seeing my babies and they did not disappoint! 

The pet sitter, Rachel, did a FANTASTIC job!!! If you are going out of town, I highly recommend The Pet Staff. She left me detailed report cards on my kitchen table of each and every visit, and checked off all the things that she did. Incredible.

The only thing I wish I didn't come home to was discovered as I was giving Trooper her usual belly rub. I noticed her tummy was a bit red. When she rolled over...sure enough...FLEAS! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! And I take full responsibility. I was lazy in administering her Frontline flea treatment before I left. So I went into high velocity anti-flea mode, went over every inch with her flea comb, vacuumed and destroyed those suckers. Plus, she got her Frontline Plus which also destroys eggs. Chester seems to be fine, but I'm keeping a close watch on him too. Ugh. So disgusting. Especially after my friend (and host) George went on and on about his fear of bedbugs. 


So today, it's back to playing Patrick Edward Cake (Pat E. Cake) the whacky baker of Main Street. I love doing this role because I get to really work closely with the kids. If you don't know, the show is called "My Disneyland Birthday Party". Pat E. Cake has prepared individual birthday cakes for everyone, but didn't have time to decorate them. So he invites everyone to decorate their very own cake with the best one winning a prize. But of course since it's Disneyland, everyone is a winner and the special guests, Mickey and Minnie, crash the party for a photo session.
Doing Pat E. Cake taught me a very valuable lesson in working with children. When I was in grade school, we used to take school field trips to see children's theatre at various venues in Chicago. I remember once going to see a production of the "Wizard of Oz" and getting to meet the actors afterwards. I got to meet the witch and was so excited to find out that she was really nice. But more importantly, she took the time to hear what I had to say. That moment stuck with me. Of course, when I got on the bus and I told my teacher I got to meet the witch, she said, "Well you're lucky she didn't cook you in her cauldron and EAT you!!!" (That was years of therapy right there. Thank you public school system.) But I remembered how the actress playing the witch, got down so I could look her in the eye and how she let me express myself.

In doing this role, I've learned that children do not want to be talked down to or talked over. They want to be validated and heard. So that is why, when doing Pat E. Cake, I try to recreate the experience the "witch" had on me by connecting with every child in the birthday party. It's pretty magical when a child comes in, not knowing what to expect, and then showering you with hugs because you provided them with such joy. It makes me feel good that I can create a memorable experience for these kids. And perhaps one day, when someone is writing their blog entry, they'll say, "When I was a kid, this crazy bald guy with a birthday cake on his head made me feel so special." A bit corny I know. But sometimes we change the world with baby steps.

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