Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Michael Jackson is Coming to My Party

When Michael Jackson passed away, Max was a pretty confused and curious kid. Number one, he didn't really know who MJ was and number two, he didn't understand why mommy was crying like a baby over the man. My parents were here at the time and we watched the memorial service together, mourning the man who had played a huge role in my childhood. Max had a million questions. "What's in the box?", "Why is Michael Jackson in the box?", "When is he coming out of the box?", and so on and so on that lead to difficult conversations about death and dying.

Aside from having to explain the whole idea of passing away, I took the opportunity to give Max a little music history lesson. From "ABC" to "Man in the Mirror", we watched the videos, watched MJ's evolution and learned all about "Billie Jean". We talked about the message of the songs and Max was really into everything that Michael had to say. Every day Max would talk about Michael Jackson, trying to dance like him, singing "Beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it" over and over and over until I felt like "beating" my head against the wall.

Months later and he is still obsessed. He asks me to put on Michael Jackson songs every day. And Michael Jackson is coming to his party. Apparently the whole death and dying conversation hasn't really sunk in. I explain over and over that MJ can not come to the party, that he can not come back to the world, but Max insists that he will write him a letter and he will come back. Max has taken to telling strangers that MJ is coming to the party. In the line at the grocery store. At the bank. On the beach. At school, everyone knows that Michael Jackson is going to Max's party when he is a big boy of five. The other day we were at Coco's Grill and Max made his very first DJ request, running up to the booth and asking the DJ to play all Michael Jackson songs. He then proceeded to dance to "Thriller" and "Bad" and "Don't Stop til you Get Enough" in the shallow end of the pool. (Thank you Mr. DJ, you made a little boy very happy).

I'm not sure when this will pass, though I know it will. I dig that the kid likes the music and the message and he's got some mean Micheal moves. I am just not sure what to do about his party. We could absolutely get an impersonator to come to the party and have a great time with that, but will it confuse the whole death issue? I know that at five the line between fantasy and reality can be fuzzy, and I don't want to destroy illusions or crush the kid, would it be horrible to tell him that it's not the real Michael Jackson? Or do we just avoid the whole thing and get Spiderman? I hate to disappoint the kid, he really really wants an MJ party (and heck, I would have a whole lot more fun with that than with superheroes!), but I don't want to confuse him after months of telling him that he can't come back.

Well, his birthday is not until April, perhaps he will have moved on by then. Here's hoping it's on to something easier to explain, like zombies. In the meantime, we'll continue to practice our moonwalk and play with our pretend chimp Bubbles and carry on with plans to "heal the world and make it a better place".


Gaelyn said...

It is cool that Max has gotten into MJ with such passion. That's what it's like to be a kid, and should be. Too bad many loose this zest with age. Yet, April is a long way off. If the MJ party happens I'd tell him that someone else is playing MJ and why. Death is just part of life, so we should live to the fullest.

Manolo said...

This situation reminds me of the Simpson's episode when MJ comes to Lisa's birthday. The other idea is to have a piƱata of MJ (circa Thriller), but you may get a little perturbed about beating the c#@p out of the guy.
Hey, isn't day of the dead coming soon, teaching opportunity (although Mexican traditions might just confuse more your lil'MexiCanadian.

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

How cute!!! Manolo has a great idea. If you're celebrating Dia de Muertos, you could always build an altar for MJ. My daughters 7th grade class has to build an altar for Dia de Muertos outside La Presidencia. The first person the entire class thought of was MJ, but the teacher shot down that idea. (Very closed minded teachers here.)

Or you could always celebrate Halloween and dress Max up as MJ! :D

Steve Cotton said...

Ooh. Good Halloween idea. A bit of Freudian transference. As a group, we are going to put pooor Max into years of therapy. Or he will simply have a natural childhood like most of us had.

Thomas Johnson said...

You can explain to Max in your great motherly way, that MJ will not be at his party, but someone who looks like him, who will share his music, and love.

Fort Washington, MD

Heather said...

Too cute! Wait till you teach him about run dmc, jk!

Mystery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CancunCanuck said...

Gaelyn- He's a pretty bright kid, I think I can explain it to him. He's just at an age where he's discovering the lines between truth/lie, fantasy/fiction, so it's not always easy but we're working on it! I don't want to destroy his imaginative side, so it's a balance.

Manolo- LOL, love that episode! Day of the Dead will be a very good opportunity to speak about this for sure. Mexican traditions are extremely important, I'm not concerned about confusing him, he'll get it in the end and be better for it (I hope!)

Leslie- I can't believe the teacher denied the kids their idea of having MJ! It's a perfect learning opportunity. I am thinking about an MJ costume for Halloween, but my lil guy wants to be something REALLY scary he says. :)

Steve- Haha! Parenting is tough, I love getting input from all corners. And doesn't everyone need a little therapy now and then? :)

Thomas Johnson- Hello TJ, thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your comment, a lovely thought.

Heather- I think first I better learn to understand reggaeton, seems to be what the kids are listening to (UGH!). :P

Mystery- Saw your comment before you deleted it, not sure what you meant, care to elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Two nieces of mine are also obsessed with Michael Jackson (they even went to see the "This Is It" movie with their grandma) so it's not unusual for little kids to like the guy and his music.

Anyway, love the site and I hope you keep enjoying Mexico.

Matt Voges said...

Are your kid's is more active? You need to give them an active toys for keep them busy. Inflatable bounce house, Water slide, Moonwalks are very active to give them the fun they need. moonwalks for rent

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