Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A is for Abracadabra

Among the birthday gifts that Xena received this year was a Hello Kitty magic set. She was really excited to see Hello Kitty on the cover and took off with one of the figurines inside, showing no further interest in the set. I, on the other hand, was fascinated. Most of the tricks were indeed a little high-level for preschoolers, but there was a colour-changing trick scarf which was really easy to carry out, and something that can easily fool this age group. I did the trick for Xena and she was thrilled! And that gave me an idea. From time to time, Xena's school has story-telling sessions by parents and I'd wanted to do one this week. But then I decided to take it to the next level and perform some magic tricks instead. When I emailed her teacher to ask if I could do that (I promised her there would be no fire or explosions in the classroom!). She was more than happy to have me come and do something different from what the kids had seen so far.

So I turned to Google devta once again and got cracking. I needed some tricks which did not need much in terms of set-up, could be easily performed in a small space where the audience is literally inches from you, and was something 3-year-olds could relate to and enjoy. I prepared four tricks and rehearsed them 1828276337399302 times with Xena until she was sick of them.

I washed my hair the previous night and did not condition it so I'd have lots of static electricity for my balloon trick. I took an inflated balloon in my bag but took some spare balloons and a pump along, just in case the inflated one burst in my bag. (I also imagined the scenario in which I was in a crowded bus and suddenly something inside my bag went 'KABOOM!')

To be very honest, I was actually nervous. And that surprised me because I'd have thought that after years of doing corporate presentations, this should be nothing. Though I knew that it was just a bunch of 3-year-olds who wouldn't demand a money-back guarantee if a trick didn't work, I still felt like I was going for an important exam. Xena was going to be there and I had to make her proud in front of her classmates. She had already seen the tricks enough times to not be impressed by them anymore, but what she had not seen what how her friends and teachers would take to her mommy's stunts.

I reached at 10 am sharp, the time given to me. The teachers welcomed me warmly and asked me to sit outside while they 'prepared the class'. Prepared the class? *Gulp* I was asked to go inside a few minutes later. There was a small chair for me (My first thought was "OMG no table! How would my monkey trick work??") and the class was seated on a rug in front of me, looking at me with eager eyes. I looked out for yawning kid. I'm not kidding -- there's a poor kid in her class who's yawning in at least one class photo every day. (The teachers take daily photos of the class activities and upload them for parents to see.) All kids look alert and active and happy, but this kid is consistent. He is most likely just very tired from the early starts, but the impression one got from looking at him in the photos was "Boring teacher boring teacher boring teacher!" I didn't want to be "Boring magician, boring magician, boring magician!"

To my relief, yawning kid looked alert and excited, and so did the others. Xena ran to me and wrapped herself around my legs, and I had to peel her off and tell her that Mommy was a cool magician today and that she had to sit with her friends.

So these are the tricks I had, and here's how it went.

1. Colour-changing scarf - This was my first trick because it needed no set-up at all, and could not go wrong at all. The rigged scarf was already in the Hello Kitty magic kit so all I needed to do it pull the hidden scarf out, giving the impression that the scarf had completely changed in colour. I tried to add some educational value by asking them to name the before and after colours. The kids were thrilled and some even clapped! (You can tell from the exclamation mark that I was not expecting any kind of applause whatsoever.)

2. Magic hollow tube - This was my favorite of the lot, and also something that Viv said can impress grown-ups too. You have a very obviously hollow tube and suddenly you take out a whole bunch of things from it. You can get the details of how to rig the tube here. The class was excited to see me magically produce a balloon, a leaf, a puppet, a long scarf and a strip of stickers from it. One of the kids even yelled out, "Can you take out a dinosaur?" *Gulp* The teachers somehow saved me from that one.

3. Balloon picking up paper strips - This one's a no-brainer, of course. You rub a balloon on your hair and first it picks up electrons off your hair and then it picks up strips of paper. I'd hoped for no rain so the air would be really dry, and luckily it didn't rain. (But I want rain NOW!) Some of the kids came forward to try it for themselves and were very happy with the results.

4. Monkey magnet trick - I'd meant to do this on a table so they'd not be able to see my hand with the magnet behind the screen. But there was no table. So I got down on the floor and used the chair as a table and did it. I put a monkey fridge magnet on the chair in front of a cardboard screen. Then I told the kids that the monkey was asleep and they needed to wake it up. "Wake up, monkey!" They yelled. I used the magnet the shake the monkey a little but did not allow it to stick to the cardboard. The children though excited at the shaking head, were perplexed that it was not waking up. Then I told them, "Oh! I think we have to say 'please'! They yelled out, "Monkey, please wake up!" Immediately the monkey jumped to the cardboard, sending one of the kids into uncontrollable giggles. A chain reaction started and soon everyone was giggling. I had to literally stop and wait for the laughter to subside. Then I asked the kids to ask the monkey to move up, move down and go round and round on the paper. It obeyed every time, but only when there was a 'please'. The I told them that the monkey was tired and it needed to go to sleep again. "Please go to sleep, monkey!" they yelled out. I pulled the magnet away and the monkey fell on the chair, rolled over and went to sleep, producing peals of laughter from the class.

I finally breathed. I had done the tricks and they were a hit. The children were laughing and clapping and the teachers were beaming. Her class teacher told me I'd set the bar too high for her to engage the kids anymore and I'd have to come back every month. So I decided to give her my magic tube and showed her how to use it. Xena had a proud look on her face. The class said a big "THANK YOU" and waved goodbye to me.

I believe it's time to update my resume.

To add: Part-time magician. (Not suitable for audiences above 3 years of age)



12 comments:

Arun said...

LOL! Only 25 letters to go!

...just a bunch of 3-year-olds who wouldn't come after me for their money back...

You were actually charging them? Play money, I'm sure, still..... :) :) :)

ferret said...

Haha i love the nuance of your exclamation mark :D
And i'm thrilled that i'll be reading a new post from you everyday!!

V said...

I'm going to enjoy this if every post is like this one.

V

Dil se said...

Your are such a cool mom!! Playing magic tricks!! And loved your vivid and detailed descriptions.

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

Hahaha!!!! Fun fun fun fun looking forward to the magic mom!

Yamini said...

That's amazing! you are such a cool mom!! :)

Yamini said...

'Dil se' already said that :P But i think we all think so!! :) :)

ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ/ Ashwini said...

Ha ha ha , that was a good start.

Meghana Nasre. said...

Totally impressed -- both by the part-time magician thing and taking up the 26 blogs challenge. You are simply inspiring! All the best wishes to you and your family.

Meghana.
(A regular follower of this blog)

Sayesha said...

Arun,
Sheesh!! :P

ferret,
Thank you. :D

V,
I sure do hope so! :O

Dil se,
Thank you. :)

Porkodi,
Thanks. :D

Yamini,
Thank you. :)

Ashwini,
Thanks. :)

Meghana,
Your name is totally new to me! What kind of a regular follower posts her first comment years later? :P :P Just kidding. Welcome to the bar and thank you for your comment. :)

How do we know said...

ha ha ha ha ha!! u rock magic mama!

Sayesha said...

How do we know,
Thank you. :)