Beau Is the Loneliest Number
Ghosts of Deodorant Wars Past


Jason was lucky enough to take a couple days off this week, and spent them either 1) getting at least one of the two children responsible for most of the screaming/tattling/HE'S BREATHING MY AIR sort of hullaballoo out of my hair, or 2) spending quality one-on-one time with our middle and youngest children, reinforcing good positive attention behaviors with a side of spoiling and all that jazz. 




Technically a bit of both, I suppose. Both days involved the aquarium and copious amounts of dessert.





Jason also sent the following photo as evidence of Ezra's Scrabble prowess, but in doing so revealed himself to be a dirty cheat who plays acronyms and two-letter words the second I'm not around to challenge that shit. 


(Note: Jason won't play Scrabble with me anymore.)


Last night it was my turn to treat a kid to a special time out, and I landed either the best or worst assignment, depending on how you look at it. I took him to see DanTDM Live at the Baltimore Hippodrome. 

Who is DanTDM, you might ask? A perfectly reasonable question that I'm still not sure I can answer. DanTDM is a small and highly energetic British human who makes more money playing video games on YouTube than all of us put together, and can also sell out 5,000+ seat venues full of screaming kids, preteens and their long-suffering parents who STILL can't believe how much they paid for this...whatever it is, and oh dear God, did you see the merchandise lines? Did you see the merchandise PRICES??

(By the way, the last time I tried to talk about my blog with Noah and if he was comfortable with me continuing to write about him and post photos, he answered "oh sure" without hesitation, and followed it up with "you know no one reads blogs anymore, right?")

But lo, I am a sucker for my children's pure, unbridled joy, which is exactly what I got when I surprised Noah with our tickets a couple months ago. Plus, all his friends at school were like, sooooooooooooooooo jealous and I get surprisingly smug and petty about that shit.  

So we went, and while I remain somewhat baffled about the whole Dude Plays Minecraft on YouTube --> Achieves Justin Bieber-like Celebrity Status phenomenon, I did learn a couple things and made a few interesting observations.

(On the other hand, I was like, WAY WAY WAY into NKOTB in fifth grade, so I do get it on some level. Yet now I have to spell-check "Bieber vs. Beiber" in a separate browser tab every time, so clearly, none of this is meant for me anymore anyway. Nothing is meant for me anymore, other than the Great British Bake-Off and the occasional dusty-ass blog.)

First, there were a LOT of ASD and special needs kids at this show. A LOT. Clearly, this guy connects and clicks with them -- I admit a huge reason I splurged on the tickets was because I know going to see a crowded and noisy live show is a challenging, but important sort of experience for Noah. He does not always enjoy going to the movies or sporting events, although he always desperately WANTS to enjoy them. If that makes sense. And we'd like to take him to see shows and plays and stuff like that, but tend to hesitate because of the high ticket prices AND the high risk of it being too much and having to bail. 

But DanTDM seemed to offer the right amount of motivation to try. So I did. And I was definitely not the only parent there doing the "I have no idea how this is going to go but oh God I hope he/she has fun also here's your fidget/sunglasses/earmuffs" song and dance.

After we arrived, while perusing the tour t-shirt options,* an usher noticed Noah's earmuffs and asked me if they were for sensory/Spectrum purposes. I was a tiny bit taken aback (like WHAT? are they FORBIDDEN? are we breaking a RULE?) but said yes. 

I was then informed that for this show, the theater's VIP lounge had been converted into a viewing room for special needs kids. Comfortable chairs, lots of personal space, moderate light/sound levels, etc. The kids could then watch the show on a large screen, with attendants offering them drinks and popcorn, or just hang out to chill for a little bit. The usher said we were more than welcome to make use of the lounge for all or just part of the show, whatever he needed. 

We actually never needed the room, but I am 1,000% convinced that just knowing it existed, that it was an option, was enormously helpful. He visibly relaxed and sort of...un-tensioned himself. It wasn't all or nothing. It wasn't put up with stuff he hated vs. having to leave and miss out on the stuff he loved. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone involved for that. 

Second, I get why this guy is so appealing to kids like Noah. He's like the tween years version of Thomas the Tank Engine, or Steve from Blues Clues. His facial expressions are wildly animated and over the top. His enthusiasm for something they like and understand (trains! the mail! pixelated farm animals!) is out-sized yet genuine. He operates at top volume in every way imaginable, but in a completely non-threatening, let's play together! fashion. 

DAN! they scream, as a cartoonish villain lurks behind him, only to disappear every time Dan turns around. He looks at them with a biiiiiig look of confusion, then asks them if they'll "be on his team" to help him complete the villain's challenges. They cheer again, the same way they cheered for the wide-eyed Thomas to be really useful, or to help poor Steve find those pesky paw prints he would practically trip over without the help of all the preschoolers at home. 

There wasn't much for parents in the script, to be honest -- there's no deeper level of humor sailing over the kids' heads, and really, that's fine.


It's not meant for us. 


(The bar and concession areas, on the other hand, supplied everything that I needed juuuuuust fine.)

*We did escape without spending a ridiculous amount of money on merchandise, because if there's one thing the DanTDM Live show is completely devoid of, it's anything explicitly Minecraft branded or even Minecraft adjacent. This was a little disappointing for Noah, who was expecting the show to have actual Minecraft mentions or tie-ins. Nope. And other kids around us in the upper balcony complained that all the audience participation bits (of which there are a lot) only involve kids from the lower (and higher priced) orchestra section. So those are my last two "know before you go" for parents of fellow DanTDM fanboys/girls.




I seriously teared up during the paragraph about the VIP room. I love your transparency and all if your efforts for your kids, Amy. It is so helpful for me, who has an "atypical" kid.

My kids love DanTDM. We watch his channel all the time.


I don't know who Dan is or even anything about Minecraft but I also teared up about the sensitivity and accommodation of the event ❤️


I also teared up, as I am wont to do when you post about Noah. So glad you guys braved the show and that he liked it.

Also, you are not allowed to stop writing here! We are INVESTED. :)


((Throws money at ticket people))!!!

Wheeeeeeee, my kid is going to be soooooo excited.


It's a good thing I'm alone in my office for now so no one can see me wipe my eyes and blow my nose. That was wonderful about having a space where kids could come and go as they needed. Gah! My eyes are leaking again talking about it. Seriously awesome of Dan, the Thomas the Steve clues guy and the events staff of the show.

Also you should open Ezra to the world of scrabble challenges. Generally with much theatrics and honour and pencil fencing with devilish rouges who use FAQ as a word.

Fraulein N

Maybe I have allergies or something? Suddenly I need a tissue? But I totally, totally, totally get the "not enjoying it but desperately WANTING to" thing. I was that kid. I'm still that adult, but maybe I wouldn't be if I'd had a parent who put in half the effort you do. I'm sure Noah appreciates it now, but not nearly as much as he will when he looks back on stuff like this someday.

Katie H.

My daughter is a TOTAL Dan TDM fangirl and almost DIED when one of her friends from where we lived before got to MEET HIM IN THE ACTUAL PERSON OF FLESH AND BLOOD OH GOD SHE GOT TO TOUCH HIM in St. Louis. I was glad that was just a touch too far away for us to go. :) LOVE that the people setting up his shows realize that some kiddos might need a place to chill and that gave Noah comfort!


Okay, thanks for clearing up who this guy is. My cousin took his daughter to a show and posted pictures of her there and I was SOO confused. And way to go to that venue for all the accommodations! That's great!

Krista W

My kids saw your Instagram pic yesterday and were all DanTDM what What WHAT?!? They were beyond disappointed that there are no Canadian dates on the tour. I was sort of tied between sad for them and glad, because $$$.


Did you know that TDF (the folks who run the discount ticket booth in Times Sq., among other things) offers autism-friendly performances of Broadway shows?


I asked my 10 yr old son if he knew who DanTDM was.... he did, is totally jealous of you, and can't believe I don't know who that is... 😂


Glad to see I'm not the only one who teared up at the mention of the VIP room.

My 11-year-old son is also a big fan of DanTDM, though these days we're more about the pugs and less about the Minecraft. How great that you got to go and that it was a good experience for Noah!


We went to the DC show tonight and I agree wholeheartedly about Dan. We did the "meet and greet" too, and I think my son was going to burst with happiness. Take ALL my money to see that kind of joy in my kid! It was the perfect amount of teamwork, games, and bad guys without being too scary, but my son was also disappointed he didn't get to see him play any Minecraft. Maybe there was something about the copyright, but it was still a huge hit. We did not fare so lucky in leaving without copious amounts of merchandise, but it was still worth it :D My kid felt like a rockstar tonight and I loved being able to give that experience to him <3


Wonderful to hear about the accommodations, and some of us still read blogs...hopefully enough of us to keep you writing for us for a long time to come.

Sue W.

Amy. You obviously need to clean up the corners of this dusty old early 21st Century blog that nobody reads any more, There seem to be more than a few of us non-readers who have a collective something in our eyes. Dust. From this very unread blog.
I don't have kids. But I have friends with kids who are on the Spectrum. I see what they deal with. Just like me with my recent gluten intolerance diagnosis, I think there are a LOT more options available for Spectrum people and gluten intolerant people than there was, even 10 years ago. And I seem to see more come along every day. Legoland in Winter Haven, Florida recently announced the opening of a quiet room for kids on the Spectrum. I recently found a GF bread that actually tastes good. So there is hope and change out there.
Tell Noah that as long as you keep writing, we will keep not reading!


Its so awesome to see all of the options available these days! We have Regal Cinemas up here and they have also started offering specific showings geared towards either spectrum kids or just sensitive kids in general. My young daughter isn't spectrum but the NOISE of the regular movie showings really makes the show unwatchable for her (its even loud for me, to be honest). The info desk ended up finding us a pair of over the ear headphones for our last trip and told us about the lower volume/less dark showings. I wish they would advertise it better, but maybe it's something new? My brother has ASD and it's so great to see how far businesses have come in accommodations since we were kids. Its easy to take things for granted if you don't see how simple things can be a struggle for some people.


Do you think the kids in the Balcony seats had a good time-I just looked and he is going to be coming soon near me-but all they have left are balcony tickets.


This is very good Info, my kid is going next week.


My son, 6 with ADHD, sensory issues and social anxiety love love loves Dan. And, I can't lie, I love him a bit too. First, he's pretty cute. Second, he knows who his audience is and really just seems genuinely enthused by what interests them. I was contemplating taking my kid to see him here in NY but decided tickets were too pricey for us & I couldn't guarantee that The Kid wouldn't have a freak out. I'm glad to hear they were so good about accommodating sensory issues! Hopefully he'll come back and we can go check it out.

Anna B-Lynch

I think we had the same week! Im a member at the aquarium and was just there last week, live with a 7.5 yr old Minecraft obsessed Dan TDM fan, but the difference is I kinda sorta neglected to tell him that Dan TDM was in town. You are a braver momma than me!

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