Hospital Clowning: Laughter Doo-Dee

Wednesday, February 21st 2018

1)  New Lyrics

In pre-op with Dr. Bucket Buster today I improvise some novel and tasty lyrics.  Check it out; The Doo-Dee Song [0:25]:


2) tenor Watching You

I marvel as Dr. Bucket Buster plays out an entire fabulous fake war with a young patient behind the nurse’s console.  Crumpled paper towels, kleenex, rubber bands, paper clips and lots of threatening glares may have been involved.


3)  A Fashion Show to Remember

beads Gowning up all the way to mask and gloves for a visit with a young lady in Oncology, I jokingly ask Dr. Bucket Bucket Buster, “How do I look?”  Thus begins the hospital FASHION SHOW of the century.  We take turns as one of us performs an elaborate “runway” look while the other one provides the “music” (bad singing).  At one point I am trailing a long paper towel veil and repeatedly bumping into the bathroom door.  When finally Dr. Bucket Buster directs me out of harms way I go left and… bump into the patient’s cup of BEADS which she had been using for a craft.  Now we are on the floor collecting all the beads into “bead soup;” a slurry with hand sanitizer.  We then lay them out on more paper towels to dry, sing a “Bead Drying Song” and all is restored.  So that’s how you do THAT.


4)  BRT

Learned another term, BRT; Behavioral Response Team.  Before visiting a young boygold medal (my son’s age) we are given a pretty extensive run down on how many obstacles there have been to his getting any clown visits for the past few weeks.  But today things look good and the Child Life Specialist starts telling us how he loves BOY humor, I solemnly let out a slow BURP.  Without missing a beat she agrees, “Yes absolutely he would love that,” and in we go.   He puts us through the paces, impresses us with his amazing finger dance moves and happily rejects most of our dance moves.  In context I draw him a “GOLD MEDAL” on a piece of paper, and just as I’m questioning whether we should give anything to this patient, he goes to LICK the ink.  We get it away just in time, and he starts, um, picking his nose.  When he starts to show us what he found in there I book it out of there post haste.  Easiest exit from a patient’s room I’ve had yet.  I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the visit.


5) Second That Emotion

brain heartWe finish the day rocking out on some Smokey Robinson to one of our frequent fliers in dialysis who loves music and some enthusiastic nurses.  It’s a great way to finish the day but what I want to know is what other great song choice shall I bring this friend next time??

Another amazing day in this blessed work.

#Hospital Clowning                                                ♥

Posted in art, childhood, comedy, faith, forgiveness, health, Hospital Clowning, Laughter League, learning, love, making art, mental health, music, patience, Performing Life, ukeoke, ukulele, work | 1 Comment

Hospital Clowning: Seven Discoveries

Thursday,  February 15th 2018

1)  Therapy Dogs

CooperOne of the hazards of hospital clowning is crossing paths with therapy dogs.  I say ‘hazard’ because I love animals so much and when I ran into Cooper today I came unglued.  Look at that face!  I could gaze into his eyes all day.  We were about to enter a patient’s room but first I had to toot my kazoo and squeak and juggle and stuff for Cooper, whose soulful eyes were full of awe.  Be still my heart; he was my most enthusiastic audience yet this morning.


2)  The Greatest Show on Earth


I have never seen a child fall harder for one of my partners than little 3 y/o Simon did today for Doc Skeeter.  At first he wasn’t feeling too hot; just hanging out in his mama’s arms.  Before long he warmed up a little, then Doc offered up a dazzling array of silly noises and ridiculous dance moves.  I did not know Doc Skeeter’s face and bald head could double as a whole percussion section, but it does.  Little Simon got quite the workout first giggling in his mom’s arms, then following us down the hall as we played and danced for him walking for PT.  That smile alone must have given his face quite a workout.  One of those smiles that gives me the paradox feeling for having made OUR day at least as much as we made his.


3)  EOL


Next we were asked to avoid a certain part of the hallway because a patient had just passed away and the family was grieving.  We had seen the note “EOL” by the patient’s name but hadn’t realized it means “End of Life.”  The kid was 11 years old and on his 3rd day in the hospital.  And while I’m getting used to being around children with all kinds of illness at work and then my own healthy ones at home… any child at EOL is not something I ever want to get used to, much less when they are close in age.


4)  Electrify the BabyqTBAnxET5

We dazzled a baby whose eyes were so wide in amazement and whose mind was totally blown that this could even be happening.  TWO giant silly colorful grownups singing, dancing and making silly noises; are you KIDDING ME?!?


5)  A Rose at Any Age

Fbored eyesound a 13 year old reading a book and pretty bored.  In the past I would have been unsure of myself around such a wonderful creature but I was frankly just happy to meet him, and finally comfortable with NOT KNOWING and just BEING.  Ditto with another 18 year old kid and his mother.   I mean, we were plenty dumb and hopefully entertaining too, but I mainly just feel privileged just to connect with these young adults in the hospital for no other reason than they are a young humans in the hospital, and we are in the precise unique position to do so.   I doubt I can express exactly what I mean.  I can only say it is a profound privilege.


6) Docs Who Fartalot

happy fart

For some reason, all our humor seemed to swirl around the toilet for our last visit of the day, a 12 year old girl.  It was as if all the farts we held in that day came out for this poor girl, except that of course she loved it.  Sometimes farts are just what the clown doctor orders.  Her face and smile are fart-melted into my memory.


7) The Name Song

First with Keegan in a room and then with an Andrew outside the cafeteria today, I improvised a useful little ditty.   Hopefully it’s a keeper and here it goes:

2018-02-15 A SONG ABOUT YOUR NAME [1:54]:


And that’s all I have to say about that.

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Parenting: Blam Blam Pang Pow!

Monday, February 12, 2018 – continued

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Him: “This is so old school and original, I love it!”

Me:  Booyah baby!


After school Gavin put in a good effort trying to stay mad at me.  But bless him, he couldn’t.  I teased him a little on failing to stay mad at me, we had a good laugh, and I told him how proud I am of him.

Because of his cousins’ birthday, we were picking up some party items at the dollar store.  Soon he found a toy and said, “I know this is violent but I was wondering if we could get it?”  It was an old fashioned CAP GUN.  Hell yes.

From what I understand, ACTUAL old fashioned toy gun play is healthy, normal and not desensitizing to violence.  It is all still within the realm of the child’s own imagination.  I reminded him how proud I am of his great attitude today and laid down the whopping $2.10 for both the gun AND ammo.


Whoo boy!  Imagine his surprise and thrill when he shot it off at home and it actually goes BLAM!  A little smoke came out and it really smells of gunpowder.  Real combustion!  This is living.

And, no, I never thought I’d be so happy to see my Boy play with a toy gun.

2018-02-08 Boy + Cap Gun = Instant Imagination! [44 seconds]



And since that time he has been playing a REAL game with his friends (and even chose “Spot It,” one of the identification games recommended by Harvard to foster inhibitory control, lol, don’t tell him).   He also made sure to share and evaluate the new progress rubric he and his teacher developed to keep us parents in the loop around his work in school.

He has also done some of the school work he needs to catch up on (a report on Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman, if you can believe that), and is now playing ball with friends.

Please excuse my reveling in the wonderful wonderment that is Wonderful Boy!


2018-02-12 17.26.52.jpg

Gavin’s School Accountability Rubric


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Parenting: Video Game Access

Monday, February 12th 2018

mind matters.png

Please Note:  NOT AN EXPERT.

I’m not an expert in childhood brain development, but I know enough to get that unmitigated access to video games overdevelops the amygdyla (“Reptile Brain”) and under-develops the pre-frontal cortex (responsible for executive function, decision making and self-regulation).

And today in class I learned there is a difference between natural childhood play with death and dying vs. digital virtual death and violence on a graphic screen.  Duh, right?

‘Cuz like, I mean, a persons BRAIN is still DEVELOPING into their early twenties, and a child’s brain is not equipped to make the same distinctions an adult brain can.


BTW:  I’m not talking -or even worried- about whether violent video games cause violence.  I don’t honestly think that because my innocent baby was virtually robbing a jewelry store last night that he is headed for a life of crime or has a morality problem.

I am talking about the impact of graphic -and yes violent- video games on BRAIN DEVELOPMENT.


So by coincidence -or not- at the same time as I find my boy committing virtual crimes, I also learn of his lack of fulfillment of some expectations in SCHOOL.

So one Mind Matters class, one brain development coach consultation, one teacher meeting, and one tete-a-tete with Daddy later, I find Boy at school lunch in the cafeteria.  I approach him cautiously so as to not embarrass him in front of friends and he throws his arms up and pulls my head in close for a vigorous hug.  (Phew.  Perhaps my last for a while though.)

I let him know there’s good news and bad news and ask if he wants it now or after school.  He says now, what’s the bad news?  I tell him they’re intertwined:  that I’ve spoken with his teacher and with Daddy and we’ve come up with a plan for him to work his way back to Roblox.

At first he takes the news well, but then says, “OK, here’s my counter argument.  At least 50% of these boys here all play World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, and those are totally violent and gory!”

And *I* said:  “Yes!  That is absolutely what is happening in our culture; I agree!  It’s not your fault!  What I want to know is how many of their parents are taking parenting CLASSES or are learning about HEALTHY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT?!


I don’t mean to brag, but; shoot, score win.  In parenting as in life, it’s rare when one knows exactly what to say or can articulate a teflon argument.

I acknowledged that it must suck, to have the parents he has, but them’s the breaks!

My son’s beautiful open loving face turned to disappointment, sadness and despair.  He discarded the rest of his lunch and put his head down on the table, refusing to speak to me.  I retreated and watched from afar as he later walked right past me -twice- with a cold steely indifference refusing to acknowledge my continued existence.


And while I take no pleasure in his unhappiness, I do take comfort in its being a sure sign that I am doing something right.

Poor kid.

Poor poor deprived kid.  (Not.)

Buckle up as we introduce more Mindfulness, clapping games and -horror!- board games.







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Parenting: Video Game Rant

Sunday, February 11th 2018

fuckity Curse-Word-Coffee-Mugs.jpg

Somehow my son’s extensive and impressive foray into Minecraft has morphed into a “Roblox” habit.  Keep in mind yes we regulate the amount of time he gets on the computer, say nothing for the unmitigated access he probably gets from his friends (close by condo neighbors).   And no I don’t know WTF “Roblox” is, except for this article I just read, ugh.


Today I heard an alarm going off and went to look out the window to see what neighbor’s house was sounding.  Come to find out the alarm was in the GAME he was playing, because his character had just robbed a jewelry store!

WHY? I ask him, more existentially than literally.  “WHAT ARE YOU PREPARING FOR?” I ask him.  “NOTHING!” he says.  “EXACTLY” I say.

With no research on the topic yet –I happen to loathe the topic because in my world there are nowhere near enough hours in any day for all the myriad incredible things there are to do I.R.L.—  I insist that there are video games that help cultivate all kinds of positive skills and behaviors.  This claim is met by blank stares and skepticism in my household.  But there is even a game where the object is to help find WATER in areas of the planet where water is scarce.

And guess what; in the future that is going to be EVERYWHERE.  So I told my son that locating and producing potable water is going to be a necessary skill in his future, as cities run out of water.  First up; Cape Town Day Zero in two months.

cape town water queue

Queuing for water in Cape Town, thankfully without violence yet.


I told him I saw FIRST HAND a game my friends played in England -15 years ago!- where the object was to run around town trying to find an old wise person who could translate some sacred ancient text.  Granted not the most exciting video game, but no killing or stealing.

I told Gavin it’s not his fault most games are made of killing and stealing because that is what MEN have been doing since MEN have existed.  I pointed out as he knows that’s not going to change anytime soon since we have political leaders hellbent on continuing the same (take Bears Ears, for ONE example).  I also told him he comes by his penchant honestly considering he is probably related to people who are addicted to video games centered around killing and stealing.

I told him that no problem was ever solved by the same thinking that created it.  And that I don’t care if  99.99% of video games are made of stealing and killing.  That I, his mother, insist that he find a game that simulates creating something positive for a virtual world.  I told him if he does this I will consider allowing him to continue also playing whateverthefuck “Roblox.”

He said okay.

In any case, that is my rant for now.  Obviously more research and time into something I don’t like or want is called for.  All the video game addiction I see all around me is such utter and complete f*ing bullsh*t in my view it is a nonstarter for me.

I think I want to make a sign for the desk in front of the computer that says:


God forbid we cultivate a mindset and awareness for helping to SOLVE the world’s problems rather than to perpetuate them.

Flippin’ frickin’ fracking fudge.


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Cartoons by Gavin: Episode 4

Feb 10, 2018

1) Because I frequently say how I wish I understood basic electrical engineering:

2) Another cartoon mom:

3) Another take on parenting (ahem):

4) One answer for bad press he’s read:


Yes, meow.

Keep creating buddy!



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Happy Birthday Zachary and Olivia

Friday, February 9th 2018

2018-02-09 16.11.33.jpg




Love these two monkeys!




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