Wanda’s Monster: From Fiend To Friend

Today was a landmark day for us – we took Cheese to her first musical, at age 22 months. The show was Wanda’s Monster, a really cute off-Broadway show, perfect for kids aged two to 10. We weren’t sure if it was a good idea to take Cheese seeing as she’s such a wiggle monster that we can’t even take her to a 30 minute music class anymore, but I really wanted to see how she enjoyed watching a real show.

Wanda’s Monster, in its essence, is about a girl called Wanda who discovers a monster living in her closet. At first she is scared of the monster, then, after receiving some advice from her super-hip grandmother, pushes through her fear to get to know him, gaining a new friend in the process. While the story is very simple (hey, it’s a kids’ musical after all!), the underlying messages of tolerance and acceptance are important lessons for us to learn (and be reminded of) at any age.

We sat in the back row in anticipation of needing to bolt after 10 minutes or less, and were stunned that we made it through the entire show, without a single wiggle. Cheese loved Wanda and the monster – asking for Wanda every time she left the stage, and pointing to the monster and saying with conviction “Mon! Mon!” (she hasn’t quite mastered multi-syllable words yet).

Wanda's Monster

Wanda's Monster

Wanda's Monster

Wanda's Monster

After the show we met the cast. Cheese was too shy to pat the monster or high-five Wanda. As we left she stopped to wave to the cast, yelling “Bye bye Mon!”. A new musical (and monster) fan is born.

wandas monster

Wanda’s Monster is playing July 13 – September 8, 2013, at Vineyard’s Dimson Theatre, Union Square. At 50 minutes (no interval) it’s the perfect length to try for your kid’s first show, or to take older kids who enjoy monsters. A few of the older toddlers were scared of the monster (Cheese knowingly said “Baby” when one such toddler wailed and needed to be removed from the theater), but by the end all the kids were dancing in their seats and shouting out “Rooaaarrrrrrr!”.

Buy tickets here. Use the code MBSAVE to score a 25% discount on full-pried tickets.

I was not compensated for this blog post. While I was invited to attend a special bloggers’ preview of the show, all opinions are my own. The show rocked. Take your kids, you’ll all have a blast.

How to survive your toddler’s first book signing

This article was originally posted on the MommyNearest blog

As mother to a rambunctious toddler, there are certain things I steer clear of: stores with fragile items on display, activities requiring the toddler to sit still, and open access to chocolate.

So it was definitely an out of the ordinary day that saw us attending a book reading and signing of brunchwithmybaby.com co-founder Alexis Barad-Cutler, for her new book, Who Are We? An Animal Guessing Game. The reading and signing was hosted by Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Brooklyn, one of our fave stores in the ‘hood for gifts for family and friends of all ages.

Book party

All three danger zones were in full force – china cows, glass vases and oversized coffee mugs at toddler level, a reading (requiring, you guessed it, sitting and listening, two skills that my toddler pretends not to have), and a huge open carton of Trader Joe Chocolate Cats, helpfully handed out by another toddler hopped up on sugar.

You’ve probably attended a book reading or signing, at least once. For adults, they’re usually a pretty calm affair. The attendees sit in chairs, quietly, while the author reads a chapter, and then sits behind a desk and signs copies for attendees in a neat line.

A book reading and signing for kids is more like a baby mosh pit than the serene scene described above. Picture 10 toddlers between the ages of 18 months and two years old, in a store filled with pretty, shiny things, and easy access to food. Yes, chaos, and yes, they egg each other on.


When it was time for Alexis to perform the reading, kids and adults all sat on the floor. Well, the adults sat, while the toddlers stood, performed yoga, stuffed their faces with the chocolate cat cookies, and, in my toddler’s case, assisted the author with her reading by helping her turn the pages and open the flaps.

Each spread inside the book features gatefold flaps that unfold to reveal the animal that’s being asked about. (The kids seemed to enjoy the element of surprise of seeing what’s underneath each flap.) My daughter’s favorite spread was the one with the snakes because she likes to make the snake sound (ssssss!). The adults liked the simple, rhyming text and the illustrations.

The book was well received by all adults and most of the toddlers (hey, they’re pretty discerning mini-people). It was a crazy experience, and thankfully nothing was broken, no kids were lost, and everyone slept well after coming down from their massive sugar crash.


Thinking of taking your toddler to a book reading and signing and scared of how they’ll behave? Just do it – it will be a fun and totally hilarious experience that you’ll be laughing over for weeks to come. Just remember to bring your camera, and cash incase they trash more than just your reputation.