Friday, December 21, 2007

Peace, Porridge and Peter and the Wolf

Phoenix's appetite for stories is positively insatiable. Who doesn't love a good yarn, right? I'll tell you who, the person who's voice is hoarse from spinning the damn thing. P loves freshly formed Phoenix stories, tailored to his current interests. When we're too tired or lame to use our imaginations we read countless books. But often, we are done before he is. He especially loves books during dinner. But trying to eat while being climbed on by the small moving object you are shoving forkfulls of food at all while trying to feed yourself, chew and hold/read a book without spitting/spilling food everywhere gets old. Despite the widening of my ass to the contrary, I usually choose to wait until the food grows cold and the child spins to something else before venturing to eat. But the dream of warm food and peaceful meals continuously chewed at my brain. This week I finally found the solution.

We tried books on tape in Wichita. Rewinding and finding the spot he wants frustrates Phoenix (and me!). Books with CD's are user friendly but wouldn't last a day in our house. Try as he may, he's not quite ready to keep discs scratch free. Then I came across my old records. Remembering how much I enjoyed listening to my little record player as a girl I knew I had the answer. I found a portable record player DJ's use (read: sturdy) and ordered old children's records off of ebay. It all arrived yesterday along with a subtle but annoying cold for P and the combo was perfect. Most of the records don't have picture books, leaving P's imagination open to grow exponentially. I worried that without himself as star these illustration free records might not capture his attention, but he's actually more enthralled with them than the picture book records. His favorite so far is Tchaikovsky's Peter and the Wolf, told by Boris Karloff. I vividly remember being terrified and drawn to this same piece when I was young. I can't capture the terror any more, and P doesn't seem too nervous, but he's definitely drawn to it. That and Benny the Beaver, a beaver who plays instruments with his tail. He also favors Babar and Hooks and Ladder, a story about a day in the fire station. Most of these are 50 or 60 years old and have the sound effects familiar to old radio broadcasts replete with chorus and that funny Nathan Lane like accent. They are wonderful. And they are labeled "Unbreakable." Of course, we haven't told P that, but they've lasted through some 50 years of children's abuse so I'm guessing he's good to go. He's especially proud of his record player, what with the buttons and carrying case, I think he feels pretty big. But best of all, we've had 4 peaceful meals in a row and lots of chats about new subjects and vocabulary. As you can see above, P loves porridge and slurped it up while solemnly listening to Peter and then Hansel and Gretel this morning. And you know, porridge tastes much better warm.


Joanne Rendell said...

i had the same peter and the wolf when i was a kid! wow, your post brought back so many memories.

also, i don't know if you are digital yet, but for more audio kids stories you should try brad and i live by this site. it is how i "read" these days (i.e. downloading books). they have plenty of kids stuff too. also, bbc radio (god loves the brits) streams great kids radio shows. worth a try for a quiet and hot dinner!

Dale said...

My favorite was Tina the Ballerina, Oh, how I loved this
record. I always begged my mom to buy more from the local Stop n' Shop. I wonder if she still has them, if so, they're yours. Love the pics and we miss you guys awfully. Big hugs to P.