For a few years, Raphael was obsessed with penguins. I don’t know where this penguin deal came from, but for a while there, it was intense. There were days he wouldn’t answer, unless you addressed him as Penguin Martin. He signed his preschool papers “PM” for, of course, Penguin Martin. He told me, very seriously, many times, that he was MAD at God and was going to ASK HIM someday why he wasn’t born a penguin. He had a special penguin walk, and if you don’t think that’s too adorable for words, you haven’t seen a sleeping six year old boy stumble around the living room as a penguin, confused, trying to find the bathroom.
What was interesting about the penguin passion was that the movie “March of the Penguins” came out right at the zenith of it all. Remember that? And then the whole world was penguin mad. It’s as though Raphael had his finger on the pulse of that trend long before…well, before I noticed it, anyhow. Perhaps not all that amazing. Nonetheless.
He has since moved on from penguins – they’ll always be dear to him, and when he sees a picture of one, he sighs a happy, “Oh, it’s a penguino,” and no, I don’t know why the Spanish – but he has a new passion in life.
OH, the chickens.
Chicken noises, chicken pictures, long and detailed chicken stories. We start our homeschool days with ten minutes of writing time, and Raphael has been churning out the tales of chicken adventures like you wouldn’t believe. He refuses to believe me when I tell him that chickens do not, in fact, fart. Such is the power of the fiction writer.
At Monday school, his language arts teacher has forbidden him to write about chickens anymore. His art teacher has forbidden him to draw any more chickens. To me, this is the obvious advantage of Monday school. I, personally, am not going to stand between him and his chicken love. Fly your funky fowl flag, my son! But the truth is that YES, he does need to start learning how to set aside his obsessions and play by the rules when needed, otherwise he is going to get fired from his first real job when he turns in an important report to his boss, and the last seven pages of it are about the perfection of his girlfriend’s boobs.
So this weekend I was listening to the radio, and I heard two things that stuck with me. First of all, the theme of this weekend’s This American Life was “Poultry Slam” – with three of the four stories being about chickens. And I heard a few minutes of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony for this year, and do you KNOW what the theme was? Can you guess?
The chickens, they are hot.
But, then, Raphael already knew. Take a look at the turtle he drew at Monday school. Isn’t that nice?
Oh yes, Raphael already knew.