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Mommy, What's a Manifesto?

August 15, 2012

From Michael:

Way back in 1999 I wrote Infant Manifesto. This young family gave us the audio and pictures of their girls doing a dramatic reading of the script. We all had a big laugh. So here is their letter telling us about what they did. Your children will love hearing this 5-year-old and her big sisters do a really professional job reading.

Dear Pearls,

At our little home studio, as I was attempting to clean up some of the Pearl’s ancient tapes, I came across the articles Infant Manifesto and Infant Maniwhatso. The flash of memories of the first time I read it made me giggle. It was if I was hearing little kid voices using all of these big words, and it made me laugh all day just imagining it. As soon as my husband got home from work I rushed to read it to him and we both had a big laugh. The obviousness of the child training principles, along with Mike’s sometimes obnoxious wit, was just what our family needed to really solidify some of the basic mindset of the need for consistency and what it looks like.

With this memory fresh in my mind, I called my girls into the room and asked if any of them wanted to record a monologue. My girls were going to have some fun and learn some skills that a lot of adults will never have.

One at a time, the girls came into the little studio and climbed up onto the stool to speak into the microphone. They had to sit still so that their rustling around wasn’t picked up in the recording. They had to enunciate their words, play the part of their character, and repeat the same phrase occasionally even fifteen times until they got it right. All of this, they had to do without getting nervous or embarrassed. My littlest one, whom we call Nomies, went first and after about forty minutes had to take a break. Her sister, Eden, then took her turn and did her whole article in one session. She just couldn’t wait to hear it played. They watched as I showed them how to reassemble all of the phrases and lines so that it would sound, at least somewhat like it was a continuous speech. It really gave them an appreciation for what goes into a project. After a few hours Infant Manifesto was complete and all of our girls were in the office giggling to their heart’s content (except for Eden who was laughing so hard one might think she was going to injure herself) as they listened to their voices over and over again.

After that, little Nomies reminded me about every half hour that she needed to do her next recording session. After all, her article was longer than her big sister’s. The next chance we got, we were back in the studio and she finished her article. In the first session she had become a little frustrated as she had to keep redoing lines, but this time she could barely contain her excitement. It took the rest of the day, and all the next morning before slow old mom had Infant Maniwhatso ready for her to hear. The technical knowledge and speaking confidence these girls learned this week will be with them for the rest of their lives, solidified by good old fashioned laughter and more new exciting projects.

Mike and Debi, we hope you enjoy our rendition of your articles, (we didn’t exactly ask permission first) but really, it was worth it. - Rachel Valet

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