Party Like You're 99
Over, Part One


Noah went to his very first karate class yesterday.

Long-time readers: Yeah. You know the deal. You know that this was kind of a big step.

Newer peeps: There's no way to nicely sum up three-plus years of developmental delays, meltdowns, evaluations, diagnoses, successes, failures, therapy, IEP meetings and God knows what else in a sentence or two, except to say that yeah. This was kind of big step

After our success with the homegrown hardscrabble soccer practices, we started wondering what other organized activities Noah was ready for. Soccer is on hold until the spring, since we could no longer consistently track down indoor venues and the constant switching of locations was driving the kids a bit batty. 

Jason suggested karate, mostly because Jason always, ALWAYS wanted to learn karate as a kid but Jason's parents wouldn't ever let Jason learn karate and yes, sometimes parenthood is little more than an ongoing experiment in Surrogate Childhood Wish Fulfillment. He then let Noah watch the original Karate Kid movie.

(Not only was karate completely off the table for me as a kid [GIRLS DID BALLET, YOU KNOW] [P.S. I HATED BALLET], I wasn't even allowed to see the Karate Kid movie. So as I watched it for the first time with Noah, I was sucked into some crazy mothering timewarp wormhole where I became the asshole who had to sit there questioning the appropriateness of the movie choice, especially since the main takeaway lesson Noah seemed to pick up on was that kicking people's knees means YOU WIN.)

But, the movie cemented it. Noah wanted to learn karate. Like, immediately. 

The place we took him to starts off with a short, private introductory lesson-slash-evaluation session, where an instructor teaches your child a couple basic stances and drills and sees if there's really an interest in karate (versus, you know, chucking ninja stars at thine enemies and shit). We'd prepared Noah for the fact that there wouldn't be other kids there at first, but chose the unfortunate wording of "If you do a good job and listen to the teacher, you can go to a real karate class afterwards."

During the private session, Noah was a ball of trembling, vibrating excitement. He couldn't stand still. He wiggled and jumped and wanted to talk the whole time.  He had problem keeping eye contact and was easily distracted by other people walking around or his own reflection in the mirror.

Still, though, the interest and motivation was obviously there. He was just so freaking EXCITED. He mimicked the stances and did some blocks and kicks and never once insisted on busting out his perfected-at-home Ralph-Macchio-crane pose instead of standing at attention. He earnestly promised to practice self-control, first-time listening, and never use karate on friends, family or pets, and I never realized that martial arts could be so damn adorable

(Plus, I highly, HIGHLY doubt anyone with a valid credit card actually gets turned down for white-belt preschooler karate. Just a hunch, though.)

We went into the office to get him officially signed and suited up for the class. Noah sat on my lap and suddenly we realized his eyes were red and brimming with tears.

"I didn't do a good job," he said. "I can't do real karate now."


Well! Best parents ever, right? Oh my God

Noah, you did a great job. You can absolutely do real karate now. 

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(Not pictured: One poor, hysterically jealous little brother sobbing just beyond the glass door because he totally mimicked everything they taught Noah and showed off a great forward kick and the teacher said he was a natural but you have to be three years old for a class and it's not fair and you guys are mean and the worst parents ever.)

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(Totally pictured: Pride, child having time of his life, money well spent.)



Wow! That's an tremendous victory. I'm so happy for you guys.


OH MY STARS!! Noah is so adorable! And it's so exciting that he's doing karate.


This made me so happy. You've come a long way, baby!


How adorable. Yay for Noah! (and poor Ez, he'll get there soon)

cindy w

That is freaking awesome. Go Noah!

Also: poor Ezra.

Also also: kicking people's knees TOTALLY means you win. I would forfeit if someone merely threatened to kick my knees. That shit HURTS.


Beyond awesome!

For years, as the mom of an Aspie, I've heard various suggestions: swimming, tee ball, soccer. None were appropriate for my son's other issues.

Karate. That one sounded good, but we held back. Time, finances, little brother jealousy. We finally are in a position to do it, his school full of students who are so much further along emotionally-because they've been taking Karate.

I guess we need to rent 'Karate Kid' now and see what he thinks.

All the benefits that Noah will get from this are trumped by the fact that he looks so stinking cute in his uniform.


Yay Noah! Poor Ezra... I'm sure Noah won't mind teaching him a thing or two about karate at home. :-)




Amy, this is AWESOME! I'm sure Jason is as thrilled as you are...see: Surrogate Childhood Wish Fulfillment!


I also was not allowed to watch Karate Kid when I was a kid (or MTV or anything else that the kids in school talked about ever)! That shit totally stays with you and warps you later on, right?!? Anyway, Go Noah!!!


Holy shit I am so proud of Noah! I want to see moar ninja-Noah!


Oh My God, that is beyond AWESOME! GO NOAH!!!!


AWESOME, And Noah still kicked my knees in with Adorableness!


Dammit. Tearing up at desk AGAIN.

GO NOAH! (sorry Ez, sucks to be two, doesn't it?)


Dammit. Tearing up at desk AGAIN.

GO NOAH! (sorry Ez, sucks to be two, doesn't it?)


Dammit. Tearing up at desk AGAIN.

GO NOAH! (sorry Ez, sucks to be two, doesn't it?)


I've been reading you for a long time but rarely (if ever) comment. I believe the technical term is "lurking".

I am so inordinately excited for you and your family at this development. And how freaking CUTE is Noah in his karate gear?!

Congratulations to all of you on this HUGE step.


That is so crazy adorable. There is something extra special about those karate outfits. It is my favorite thing that Michael does.

What until the belt tests! Bring cameras, your video camera, and lots of tissues, for the simultaneous laughter and tears.


Ummm, hi, I'm sitting at my desk, eyes brimmming. Way to go Noah! Cutest, most earnest karate kid, EVER.

Pinkie Bling

I looooooooove this!




OMG YAY! Go Noah!


Hooray, and congrats to Noah!!!

(Don't worry, Ezra - you'll be three before you know it!!)


Not only am I so excited for you and Noah (poor Ezra!) but I'm also so hopeful for my daughter and our family. I have a non-medically (although educationally) diagnosed autistic 2 year old. I know it's not the same as what Noah has, but so much of what you went through is SO similar to where we are now...and things like this truly give me lots of hope.


That instructor's kinda dreamy.

Kim T

This compeletely made me laugh:

"Jason suggested karate, mostly because Jason always, ALWAYS wanted to learn karate as a kid but Jason's parents wouldn't ever let Jason learn karate and yes, sometimes parenthood is little more than an ongoing experiment in Surrogate Childhood Wish Fulfillment"

I'm not sure if my husband's parents denied him the opportunity to learn karate, I actually don't think it was available, but he has always wanted to learn. My younger daughter (8) signed up about 10 months ago, my husband about 9 months ago and my older daughter (nearly 11) about 4 months ago. The owner of the studio is working on me now too. I joke that it's a bit of cult. But actually it's been a really good thing for all of them. Good luck on the journey. I don't know about your studio but ours is extremely inclusive. Helping everyone be the best version of themselves. It's been a good thing.

the grumbles

is it weird that i'm totally bursting with pride? he looks so cute, and big, and awesome.


Yay Noah! I'm so happy for you. I know you'll do great in karate!!


Hell to the yeah! So happy for Noah and grinning like an idiot at my desk. Sorry, Ezra, being the little sib sucks. You can explain it to the new baby soon.


Adorable! It's been cool to watch his life transitions and improvements with quirks. Thanks for sharing your journey.


Ah, so adorable!


So great. I'm signing my Monkey up for Karate next fall (when he'll be 5, which is the age they start it at our local place). His little sister will probably be fuming.


Awesome!! Yay Noah!!

Karin Morrow

OMGoodness, Noah looks absolutely adorable!! So glad that he took to karate!!


Yay for Noah!!!~!!!!


Hooray for martial arts! Learning martial arts (at a good school) is one of the best things you can do to be a good person.


Adding to my previous comment: Noah is ALREADY a wonderful person! I mean that martial arts teaches awesome life skills that help you act like the great person you are.


I teared up a little reading this, and not just because I also just gave myself a papercut. Way to go, Noah.


I teared up a little reading this, and not just because I also just gave myself a papercut. Way to go, Noah.


my goodness thats adorable. good for him :) he looks very happy. being pregnant and more than likely emotional how did u not cry? or did you? lol

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Yay Noah!!!

Nancy R

Awesome! Noah can teach Ez all he learns, which will reinforce that stuff for Noah too.

Ninja status can't be far away, can it?


So Cute! I'm so proud of you, Noah! And gosh, those little kids in those karate clothes are just so darn adorable. Neither of us took karate, but my husband and I agree, boy or girl, we're signing them up as soon as we can. I hope they actually like it. :)


What a great update - hooray for Noah!

We have a Star Wars fan here, too, and we found wushu classes - i.e., the totally rad stuff Darth Maul does - for him. Same story with the So Desperate To Be Included Younger Brother.

Also: Noah, the uniform rocks.


Oh I wish I could get my son to try things like that. Anybody have advice on getting an anxious-at-new-things kid to actually try new things? He obviously has some athletic ability so I think he'd enjoy it if I could just get him to TRY it. He says he won't try because he doesn't want other people (parents) looking at him.


Fan-kicking-tastic. My kids have been in martial arts since Kindergarten, and it's been such a gift. My own quirky, independent, almost 12 year old wacky-bag-of-tricks son is now a black belt candidate, and tonight my nine year old girl gets to break her first board! They've learned "bully busters", public speaking, discipline and respect. AKA all the shit we are really bad at modeling for them! I hope he enjoys it forever. Oh and hey, my girl is 2 years younger than my boy, and the total overachiever in the family - it was really good that her brother got to start first and always be ahead of her in skill and belt levels. Be warned, though - it seems like a long way out, but at this point the 2 years might as well be freaking ice ages because their classes will be on different nights until SHE is a black belt candidate, which means that we are there four nights per week. That's about three too many. HiiiiYAH!


Huge Fucking Like.

Also: convinces me to spend the exorbitant Little Gym fees for the sports class my little man will love.



I know I've been talking your ears off about karate for a while so I am thrilled that you are using it! I think it is a great sensory/OT tool.
We stopped because our school started letting other teenage students teach our classes and it was, ad you'd expect, a mess. He was stimming all over the place.
Now, we are thinking baseball for the spring. Yay for Noah!

Beth C

Awww ... karate can be adorable! Way to go Noah!


One suggestion is private or semi private lesson. They often make it an affordable add-on if it looks like you could enroll in class after a few sessions. I found karate is one area where they are familiar with working around kiddo quirks.


Gosh he's so adorable! x


Go little guy! I love seeing him overcome things - it gives hope for the rest of us. You're a role-model, kid!

PS Love the uniform!
PPS OMFG don't wash it with anything else.


Hurray! I guess Noah will have to teach little brother.

Carla Hinkle

So fantastic. Great job Noah!


I've been reading you for years but don't often comment, but today, seeing Noah standing so proud in his little Karate gi just made me so proud of him, and of you guys for being awesome parents.

This photo also apparently makes me write run on sentences. Either way, great job Noah, Amy and Jason...and Ez, well...give it time :)


I been reading you forever, never comment. But I should be doing market analyses and stuff but I have my eyes full of happy tears. Go Noah!!! So happy for you guys!!

Jennifer B

You did it again! (Good tears! Good tears!)

Jennifer B

You did it again! (Good tears! Good tears!)


Again, your last line gets the pregnant lady all teary-eyed. How wonderful.


SO great. He looks so happy and confident! So so so great. (Also, poor little Ezra. I was the younger sibling too. But soon enough he can lord it over his baby brother!)


What an awesome post! I am so proud of Noah! How adorable is he in that uniform (er, karate outfit, whatever it's called)?!


Go Noah- that is great!!

I cannot wait to enroll my older in martial arts- he's going to love it.

And yes- we're in that terrible stage where my oldest is just about old enough for everything, but my youngest isn't. She is *not* happy about this- I'm already dreading having to take her t-ball games in the Spring and telling her she can't play with her big brother!


Oh he looks so cute in his little red suit thingy. :)

the bee

That is adorable. Can Ezra get the outfit and just pretend at home? Can yiou tell I was also the 2d child that always had to follow my cool sister Patte? Yep. He needs the outfit to feel whole.


AWESOME!! I am so proud and happy for Noah because I love your kids (yes, the not-pictured, screaming one too(.


Yay for Noah! I love taekwondo and can't wait 'til our toddler is old enough to join us in class.


daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu for always make me cryyyyy!

i love you guys.


Soo glad you have Noah in martial arts. Both of my Asperger boys started taekwondo when they were about 6, and you CANNOT underestimate what the benefits will be for Noah. Learning to listen and pay attention, impulse control, directed and focused movement, leadership skills. Both of those boys and myself and my daughter are now black belts and continuing on. My other children are also in TKD. Make sure you bring your video camera to capture his face when he breaks his first board! He will ALWAYS remember it.

Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog

He's growing up!! Good job, Noah!


Way to go Noah!!


I LOVE IT!!! Go Noah!!

As a kid, we always signed ourselves up for the free intro lessons at various karate studios Remember those boxes they put out at restaurants next to the candy machines? We OWNED those boxes - much to our mother's dismay. I love that Karate is a sport with attainable goals. Such a wonderful thing!

E @ Oh! Apostrophe

Smiling at that proud kiddo. Way to go Noah!


Sweep the leg, Noah! :)


What a cutie! I'm sure he'll do well and have a great time! And so will Ezra, when his time comes!


I also love that part about parenting being surrogate childhood wish fullfillment. I wanted ballet lessons SO BAD as a kid, but we couldn't afford them. So my kid will surely have them if she or he wants them!


Like, totally awesome man!


Trust me, they turn kids down. I was in tae kwon do for 8 years and plenty of parents were told that they would have to wait. A kid who is totally disinterested, has no concept of left or right or isn't too reliable in the toilet training department has to wait for a little more maturity.


Yay! I took self defense and eventually, jujutsu classes in college. Loved it, and loved how much my balance and coordination improved. I've always been a klutzy person, hated phys ed, and I could get my body to do Jujutsu! It will be so good for Noah!


You guys are doing SO RIGHT by that kid.

And setting a damn good example for the rest of us.


oh my...i don't normally well up at other peoples blogs, but this one got me. WTG Noah!


I taught martial arts for many years before a career change to a PhD in psychology. It's a HUGE achievement for him to be there, and the potential for growth and development is equally huge. But amid all the back-slapping, a few words of caution are in order. Group lessons are a whole different animal from solo lessons. It may be great, but it may not. Any dojo taking 3 year-olds probably will take anyone not actively clenching a steak knife in their teeth (it's an economic necessity for a business with razor thin profit margins). And like any kid, including neurotypicals, he may lose interest after the first few easy belts when it starts getting hard and they have to wait more than 4-6 weeks between belt tests. Most places never fail anyone in a test, but it could be hard on him if his cohort goes up and he doesn't.
Like I said, it's a huge positive step, I don't want to rain on the parade, and I'm a big advocate for the benefits of martial arts practice, but it's not a miracle panacea and it's not for everyone.


How is it possible to be proud of someone I've never met???

GO NOAH!! I'm so proud of you, buddy!

Oh and 'Za, as the younger sib, I totally feel your pain.


Having taught Tae Kwon Do for 10+ years, I can attest to how awesome the right class can be. I saw so many kids come in who started off bouncing off the walls, and five to seven years later, were assisting with class themselves. Not all of them kept with it that long, but many parents attested to how much martial arts helped in other situations. Much luck to Noah, and I hope he has a BLAST (that's the most important part, in my book.)


Noah looks adorable in his karate uniform. ADORABLE. Had to comment and share this fact with you. And poor, poor underaged Ezra. I feel for him. Your time is coming, buddy!


go Noah!!!


Wow!! noah in the karate suit :). You should be not only proud of NOah, but also yourself..... You guyss too have worked so hard :)

Katie Serendipity

Holy crap, I want a red gi! (Or whatever the heck you call them in Japan. I did TaeKwonDo for a gazillion years and we wore white uniforms. I think I see that he's even wearing his belt correctly (not funny looking in the back which drove me insane-o, these other black belts who don't know how to tie a damn belt.) (Someone else's blog is probably not the most appropriate place for the rant I seem to be on. Stopping.)

I am SO happy he is happy and doing karate. Martial arts teaches some wonderful skills--one of the most important is self-confidence. There's just something wonderful knowing that when someone is being mean to you you could totally "whup some hunny-butt!" (Name that movie.) Ahem. Not that you would, after promising to not use it unnecessarily. But still. The knowing. It helps. :)

Jessie G


Karate, swimming, Golf..those are the sports we strive for in our home with our kiddo (one who has high fx'ing autism) the ones that focus on individual growth but also offer some sort of team feeling.

great choice!

Canadian Pharmacy

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You guys must live near us, because I think my son got his black belt from this school. Tae Kwon Do College? They were great.


You guys must live near us, because I think my son got his black belt from this school. Tae Kwon Do College? They were great.

Heather B.

I'm really proud of the baby.

Yes, he's still a baby.


I'm a karate mom. I never thought I'd be a karate mom, but my kids have been involved for 10 years and have black belts and it is so much more than kicking and punching!! It's an all-encompassing discipline. Great job Noah! And good choice of activity, parents!


So awesome. And he looks great in his uniform.


Totally unrelated to this adorable story however! Hallmark now has a line of children's books where you can record a loved one reading the story aloud which i thought would be awesome for Noah and Ezra to have in order to preserve you Father's voice.


I gasped a happy gasp when I read the first line. I am so proud of Noah and so excited. I hear such great things about karate as an activity for PDD kids, so I may pursue it for Hoss and Little Joe. Princess has shown no interest in it whatsoever, but she's channeling her neuro-atypical qualities into becoming a CSI-wannabe.

ccr in MA

That is so awesome. Well, not for Ezra, but life is full of not being old enough to do something, I'm afraid, kiddo. (Until you get to be too old to do things. Gee, I'm all sunshine today!)

Go Noah!


The home videos of the boys at karate class are some of our favorites ever. Enjoy every moment!


The home videos of the boys at karate class are some of our favorites ever. Enjoy every moment!

Laura in Michigan

I still have the picture of the older brother helping to tie the newly earned white sash on little sister. Still makes me get a little weepy. Martial arts has been a really good thing in our family and I think it will good for yours too!

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