Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Voice (special needs edition)

This weekend, Max's school had a little festival. Max had a great time playing games and winning (purple) prizes, making sand art (purple, purple and more purple) and saying hi to his friends (not purple). 

There was a barbershop quartet strolling around and serenading kids. Max watched them sing, fascinated. Then he said, "Cars 2 Talking Lightning McQueen" and gestured to them, and I knew he was hoping they could sing a song about it. 

Max didn't have his iPad and speech app handy. Still, I wanted him to tell the guys what was on his mind. I'm really pushing him to be more independent, and also trying to boost his confidence about how he communicates with people. While I am fine with serving as his trusty translator, I'd like Max to use his words. This can be a challenge, given that even I don't always understand what he's articulating, but I think it's important that he keep trying. His speech therapists agree. Ideally, his speech app is around so he can use it if his message isn't coming across.

We went over to the men and introduced ourselves. 

"I'm ax!" Max said. 

"Hi, Max," one of the guys said.

"Arrs ooh aw-eeen ihning eh-eeen!" Max said, and I mentioned that Max has a thing for a toy he called Cars 2 Talking Lightning McQueen, and that the character was from the Cars movies. 

"Ing!" Max said, hopefully. 

"He wants us to sing something from the movie?" one of the men asked. I answered, "Well, really, he wants a song about..."

"...arrs ooh aw-eeen ihning eh-eeen!" Max said.

Meanwhile, a volunteer standing nearby pulled up a video of You Might Think I'm Crazy on her iPhone, Weezer's song from Cars 2. Oddly enough, the barbershop quartet had never attempted to sing You Might Think I'm Crazy in their history of barbershop quartet-ness. Didn't matter, because that wasn't what Max was gunning for.

"Arrs ooh aw-eeen ihning eh-eeen!" said Max.

The quartet started improvising a song that had the words "fast car." Max shook his head and corrected them: "Arrs ooh aw-eeen ihning eh-eeen!" Because, well, an obsession is an obsession. I explained to Max that they were being nice by coming up with a song at all. That's when they said they'd think on a song involving Lightning McQueen. 

A bit later, I saw the guys on the side, practicing. And then, they sang to him; the look on Max's face pretty much says it all.


After, I clapped hard and thanked them profusely.

"Ain ooh!" Max said.

Later, one of the men emailed an MP3 of the group singing the full song:

I want a car just like the car that's driven by Lightning McQueen
It is a car, and the fastest car, that we have ever seen
A big, red, fast car that's built for speed
One that keeps Lightning in the lead
Oh, I want a car just like the car that's driven by Lightning McQueen

It is now Max's favorite song; he seems proud that he made it happen. He also seems to get that having a barbershop quartet sing a song about Lightning McQueen is a very special thing. So far, he hasn't asked me if they will make an appearance at his Cars 2 bowling party, but that can't be far off.


  1. The smile on his face made my day!!!

  2. This is great. Max's smile says it all.

  3. I'm crying at my desk for a GOOD reason. Thanks, Ellen.

  4. I am smiling through my tears. That was awesome, awesome! - Marie (I'm Kelli McIntosh's mom.)

  5. Seeing this makes me smile and think that there really is some kindness left in humanity. What a bunch of nice guys....


  6. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing! -Genevie

  7. Made my day, thank you!!

  8. Day = made. Thank you! The smile on his face is priceless!

  9. Well, that got the tears flowing.

  10. This totally melted my heart. It even leaked out of my eye a little bit.

  11. Hilarious! I loved everything about this post. Way to go, mama!

  12. I am seriously crying over this. What sweet mean!! I swooned when I saw Max's sweet face! Oh how I loved this! There are truly some wonderful people in this world. Thank God!

  13. Oops! I meant men--not mean! Couldn't see through my tears, I guess!

  14. Fantastic!! I LOVE it - it's my new favourite song too :), thanks Max!

  15. Oh. My. Gosh! That just went on my list of the most awesome thing EVER! Those guys are fantastic, they really are. So happy for Max; his smile was just heartwarming.

  16. This totally made me day. What a great story!

  17. Those men get some real props from this mom! Way to go, guys! :-)


Thanks for sharing!

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