Friday, January 25, 2008
Monsters and Minotaurs
Capitalistic implications aside, "The Foutainhead" is so brilliant it made me shiver. To have the integrity and lack of baggage that defined the hero, that so often defines kids. But I consistently found myself wondering how wee ones could grow into adulthood so unscathed, especially with our current cultural parenting paradigm. Roark often reminded me of P, but nowhere more so than in his line "I'm only myself."
Ask P what he wants to be when he grows up and he'll give you a look of confusion and say "Phoenix!" And while some of his friends really enjoy being roaring lions or jumping frogs, P is only P, roaring or jumping. Meanwhile, I am never me. The small, original cast of his toddlerhood has been replaced with a never ending line of impersonations starring friends/family or characters from books and songs. His demands for alternate playmates start at breakfast and ends at bedtime. He misses me occasionally and says "I want Mama now." Usually just to ask me a question, verify some information a character has given him or to ask to nurse. Then its "be Tigger now. No, be Puff mama. Now be Jackie Paper." Yet after all of this, comments like "this way little bunny" aimed at my bouncing son, are met with a wry grin and a "nohhh, silly, I'm Phoenix!"
So when he decided he wanted to be a minotaur the other day I was fairly surprised. He asked me to make him some horns, hooves and scary eyes. Knowing his level of patience with excessive creativity I grabbed what was closest at hand and was shocked when he remained a minotaur for more than 2 minutes. He'd chase me and then magically turn back into Phoenix by lowering his glasses, reassuring me that he wouldn't really eat me :) Then he dressed his "baby brother," aka monster doll, as a minotaur and took the above picture. The plot then changed slightly. Where I was supposed to be scared of Phoenix the minotaur, I was now to menacingly move the Monster minotaur providing P a chance to save us with his toy pretzel stick. I've never seen a pretzel stick wielded with such fury and such natural stabbing motions. It was the first kill game we've ever played and I tried to roll with it, attempting to kill my pacifist tendencies and pretend die with gusto. Looks like "Killing monsters - why children need fantasy, super heroes and make-believe violence" by Gerard Jones will have to be my next book...
Posted by Jac