Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Bird Boy

My 3 year old, Simon is an obsessive sort of personality. When he's interested in something, he eats, sleeps, breathes it. He's always been fascinated by animals, especially owls and bats, but has gone through fixations on rainforests, construction equipment, predatory animals, rhyming and others. Right now, we're on birds and nursery rhymes. We have a copy of Audobon's _Birds of North America_ (1935 edition, inherited from my great-grandmother) and Simon is totally obsessed with it. He carries it everywhere (an accomplishment - he weighs 36 lbs, and the book weighs at least 1/6 that), and he has memorized all of the birds in it - he can tell you the difference between Canada Warbler, Carbonated Warbler and Prothonotary Warbler (even after repeated examination of this book, I can't), and can recognize them on sight. He knows where the birds live, what they eat, what eats them, etc... and he will cheerfully tell you (and if he doesn't know, he'll cheerfully make it up. He's into predation, and often will describe very small birds eating very large animals - for example, observing that wood thrushes eat Jaguars. They don't, generally.) all about it.

He's also obsessed with nursery rhymes, and any short poetry suitable for children. The literary critic in me is so pleased to watch my son absorbing rhyme and scansion so happily. Eric and I have a gentle competition to make our children into humanists (me) or scientists (him), and I feel I'm winning. Even the bird thing is really much more old style philosophical naturalist than modern ornithologist, or so I like to believe ;-).

He makes up his own nursery rhymes - my current favorite (see if you can recognize his primary literary influences) is "What are little toothbrushes made of...made of... What are little toothbrushes made of? Toothpaste and Snails and Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. That's what little toothbrushes are made of." Toothbrushes are clearly more ominous than I had previously believed. After clarifying the meanings of each of the triad "gunpowder, treason and plot," Simon announced, "plot is my favorite." We have not yet explained how to make gunpowder, and I think we'll wait on that one for a while.

In other news, it looks like Eli will probably get into the kidnergarten program we want him to. We're very pleased, although a little nervous. It is an ABA program, and while his preschool education has contained elements of ABA (to which Eli has respondend very well) I'm ambivalent about the whole thing, but hopeful.

Otherwise, spring preparations are ongoing. I hope all is well with you!

Sharon

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