Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Wiggles

Anyone who knows Jake or who has been following his story knows that he LOVES the Wiggles. His love began even before his accident. Around the time he turned 1, he was ready for something besides those Baby Einstein DVD's, and my sister in law had given me her old Wiggles VHS collection of tapes. Yes, that was back when we had both a VCR and a DVD player on top of the TV. I put in "Wiggle Time" one day when I needed to take a shower, and he was mesmerized.  I used to strap him into a booster seat on the floor, turn on the VCR and I had an instant 20 minutes. Our only issue was when they sang the song about the "5 little Ducks." When all the ducks were gone, and Mother Duck said "quack, quack, quack" but "no little ducks came back," Captain Feathersword would fake cry. His fake crying went on and on, and he would pretend to need a bucket to catch his tears. Captain Feathersword would even crack up during the song, but Jake took it very seriously. As soon as Captain Feathersword started crying, then he would lose it and cry too. He was only 12 months old, but the empathy that kid had. My sweet boy.

Jake was 15 months old and the Wiggles were definitely his favorite when he had his accident. We would play the Wiggles for him in the ICU. He was unconscious, but we hoped that the music would reach him. I don't know if it did, but we kept on playing them. Jake was sent from Vanderbilt to Children's Hospital of Atlanta Rehabilitation Hospital. Amazingly, one of the toys in their toy closet in the physical therapy room was a Wiggles guitar. This was the first toy post accident that Jake responded to and would reach for. I credit this guitar with helping him reach past midline and even turn his head and body from right to left toward the music. At the time, our Occupational Therapist told us that she thought Jake was blind. I remember vividly the day she took him into a dark room, and she shined a flashlight to see if he would follow the light. He didn't. We were still playing the Wiggles tapes, but from his hospital bed the TV seemed to far away. Our friend Shelley, whose own daughter had spent so much time in the hospital, sent us a portable DVD player. Suddenly, we could put a Wiggles DVD in and place it right next to him. Immediately, he started responding to it. He would calm down, relax and enjoy the music.

The Christmas after Jake's accident when we were home from Atlanta, Jake got the Wiggles Wiggly guitar and drum as presents. I had to order them from Australia, but I was getting that guitar. Four + years later it is still one of his favorite toys. Jake still watches the Wiggles almost daily, although he has some issues with Dorothy the dinosaur. We have almost every Wiggles DVD and Jake loves the old ones with the original yellow Wiggle Greg, and the newer ones with Sam as the yellow Wiggle.

I used to be on the Wiggles mailing list, and we took Jake to their concert back in 2008, but I changed my email last year, and I forgot to sign back up with the Wiggles. I was randomly checking their website recently (they now have an IPAD app that of course Jake LOVES), and discovered two things.  Greg is back, but only for this year as he, Murray (red Wiggle) and Jeff (purple Wiggle) are retiring. Anythony (blue Wiggle) is staying on, but they are doing one final celebration tour together, and they are coming to Nashville for one show on August 7th. OMG - we have to go. They are playing at the Ryman which is the coolest venue ever, and much better than when they were here in 2008 and played at the Municipal Auditorium (not cool). I went through ticket master, but the only 4 seats available were in the balcony. For those that don't know, there are really no bad seats at the Ryman, but with Jake's vision issues (he can see pretty well now, but doesn't attend well when things are far away) I didn't think this would work. I was so disappointed. I checked some of the ticket broker sites but floor seats were selling for $150 - $200 a piece. Really?

What's a Mom to do? Email the Wiggles of course. Here is what I wrote:

 Dear Wiggles, I am writing you to ask about your concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I just recently learned that you are coming to Nashville. I have two boys that are HUGE Wiggles fans. Jake is 6 and has loved the Wiggles since he was 11 months old. He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury when he was 15 months old. He spent weeks in the hospital and has continued therapy to this day. He continues to make progress but still suffers many effects since he lost a lot of brain function. The Wiggles have gotten us through so many things and have probably been the one constant that Jake has loved both before and after his accident. Now his little brother (Emmett, age 2) loves the Wiggles since he is always watching them with his brother. All that to say, when I went to Ticketmaster to get tickets the only tickets available are in the balcony. Jake has cortical vision blindness due to his brain injury. He can see, but he has holes in his visual field, and he does not attend as well to things when they are far away. I wondered if you had access to any other tickets? Thank you so much for your time. We will forever be grateful to the Wiggles for how much they have meant to Jake. Elizabeth Doolittle

It has been a few weeks and I was starting to worry because I hadn't heard anything from them. Then, last night I got this email from the Wiggles Tour Manager:

Hi Elizabeth

Please find attached a voucher for 4 free tickets that include a meet and greet with the Wiggles in Nashville on 7th August. The meet and greet will happen prior to the 6.30pm show. You need to go to the box office 90 mins prior to register and find out more details on this fantastic opportunity.

We're counting down the days. Thank you Wiggles!
I haven't stopped smiling since I got this email. We're counting down the days. Thank you Wiggles!

Jake Christmas 2007

The Wiggles Concert 2008


  1. Oh Wow!!! Wonderful!! Way to go mom!

  2. Sooooo happy for Jake and for the Wiggles!!!

  3. Tissues, please! That's the most heartwarming thing I've heard Ina very long time.

  4. I'm in tears! So happy for you guys! I'm moving back. Can I come meet the girls and see the boys? I miss Jake a lot!

  5. Oh my! That left me with tears and lots of goose bumps. I am so happy for Jake and grateful that you took the "bull by the horn" and reached out to make this happen for that little guy. He is going to have a great time. I can't wait to see pictures. I hope this will be a night that all of you will remember always. I have a great new respect for the Wiggles.

  6. I am in tears - I am so thrilled for Jake. I know how much the Wiggles have meant to him (and you) and am thrilled he gets to meet the original four in their farewell tour. Have fun and take LOTS of pictures - happy day!