Monday, January 15, 2007

More Delusions of Grandeur

This morning, as I was helping my son get dressed for school he asked me, “Mom, when I grow up can I create my own monster?”

What’s a mother to say? As I showed him how to unbutton his pajama shirt, again, I said, “Sure, honey, when you grow up you can create your own terrible-horrible monster. You could be like Dr. Frankenstein or something.”

Encouraged he exclaimed, “Yeah! I can create my own terrible-awesome monster and he could clean my room.”

Clean his room? Where did that idea come from? I’ll never know, although I have been nagging at him to be more on top of things, to no avail. I’m usually the one who cleans his room, and that’s okay, but he refuses to help out with even the little things. I am optimistic that slowly, as he evolves, I mean, matures, that this too will improve. After all, he is making progress with getting dressed and undressed so in the natural course of events he should also make progress in other areas, but he still has delusions of grandeur.

First it was, When I grow up I want to rule the world, and then, When I grow up I want to have a vicious army, and now it’s, When I grow up I want to create my own monster. What’s next? I shudder when I think about what could possibly come next and my mind races in an effort to think of what is coming next. I’m afraid I don’t have a clue.

Over Christmas break my daughter discovered my Calvin and Hobbes collection of comic strips and she has finished reading all the books I have, and, because she enjoyed them so well, I am planning to buy the books I don’t have if I can still find them. Now she’s in third grade and is reading voraciously. She is passing out of the era when Mom used to have to read to her and is coming into her own, preferring to read by herself. She has taken up the Good Habit of reading every night before she goes to sleep, and it couldn’t make me happier. As I went about my business making bedtime preparations, I could hear her reading the strips out loud to herself and giggling like a maniac through the bedroom door. From time to time she would come out, book in hand, and say, “Mom, you have to hear what Calvin did. Let me read it to you.” That sure put a smile on my face too, and I don’t just mean Watterson’s humor.

Because of her interest in Calvin and Hobbes, my son became interested. He insisted that as soon as she finished a book that it was his turn to read it too. Then, because he cannot read by himself yet, Mom had to read to him. I can’t say I minded. It’s been a long time since I’d read those books and it was nice to revisit them, especially with people who can appreciate them. I know my son didn’t get all the jokes or understand the underlying messages, but Watterson’s artwork is priceless and Calvin’s antics are those that can be held near and dear to a little boy’s heart.

How many six-year-olds do you know contemplate why we exist or the impact pollution has on the future of our planet? Or create a Transmogrifier only to get into a fight with his best friend, tiger Hobbes, and get stuck as an owl, and later, convert the same machine (a cardboard box) it into a Duplicator to make clones of himself to clean his room and send to school so he doesn’t have to? How many six year olds attempt to travel through time to go to the future and mistakenly put their time machine (a box – formerly the Transmogrifier) in reverse, because it was pointed the wrong way, and winds up in the Jurassic era and is nearly eaten by dinosaurs? Or has marvelous fantasy adventures, crash landing on planets and battling alien life forms, as the Daring Spaceman Spiff? What about Killer Monster Snow Goons that come to life and then learn to create more goons overnight, and the classic, Monsters Under the Bed who connive ways to lure him under the bed so they can eat him? Only in the world of Calvin and Hobbes. But to a child with an active, creative imagination perhaps this world is just the beginning. I can only wonder and wait in anticipation until I find out.

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