(Photo Courtesy: Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo Puppet Show)
I’m a Pittsburgher, so puppetry is in my blood. Mister Rogers and his cast of puppets, like Lady Elaine Fairchilde andAna Platypus were my neighbors. They didn’t live in the house next door per say, but they did tape the show in my city.Recently, my daughter has expressed interest in puppet shows on TV. She tunes in to Barney and Friends and even knows how to pull up the purple dinosaur on my iPad. I wondered if her excitement would transfer to a live performance. But before I take my tot to a show, I needed to know that she would leave the drama on stage.
Yesterday, I sat down with Ra Jobe, a performer for Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo. The unique puppet show takes audience members on a journey through prehistoric Australia. He told me four things I needed to do to prepare my little one to see a show.
It started out as an ordinary Saturday. My daughter and I ate pancakes and sausage with Dora the Explorer and sang along to Spanglish songs. In the afternoon, we walked to the park, which had been pretty empty all season. But since the temperatures topped 70 degrees, the warm weather attracted a big crowd—and unfortunately big problems. But the children weren’t the ones running wild. Some of their parents were out-of-control.
My family has always been unique. We probably have a few black sheep in our bunch. Growing up, there were only two Hopson’s listed in Pittsburgh’s White Pages–one was my dad; the other my grandfather. My paternal grandparents met and married at age 16. They stayed together until death did them part, and over the 65 years of marital bliss, they welcomed 15 children and more than 30 children into their home and their hearts. Our family is filled with bakers and bouncers, moms and managers, contractors and childcare workers. My parents encouraged my sister and I to discover our own individuality–even if that meant joining and quitting teams, bands and dance schools. We eventually found our place. I went on to become a television news reporter who traveled the world, and my sister is leading a sweet life as the owner of a baking business called The Cupcake Crew. Now that I’m a mom myself, I want my daughter to embrace her individuality as well–even if she marches to the beat of her own drum.
Here’s what makes her absolutely, incredibly unique.
As a child a climbed to the top of Mount Everest, took a submarine to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, I hopped aboard a train to the wild west and took a time machine back to see Jesus walk the roads of Zion. I travelled through space and time before I got the first stamp on my U.S. passport. I didn’t book a flight on United or Delta. Instead, I went to the information desk at my local library.
My love of books began before I could talk, walk or write. My mother would tell me stories as she rocked me to sleep. She never said no when I asked her to add a title to my little library–even if I asked her to buy an expensive, hardcover, hard to find book. I learned about different countries, cultures and perspectives. That’s a priceless educational experience I hope to share with my daughter as we celebrate Latino Book Month.