Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Evolution of a Superhero Obsession

1 month ago: Eli watches his first ever superhero movie (Batman) and thinks it's the *coolest shit ever*.

3 weeks ago: He watches the same movie another 1,000,000 times (thanks Hamsders!).

2 weeks ago: He discovers an online Batman video game -- costarring lesser known superheroes "blue beetle," "red tornado" and "green arrow" -- which he plays 10,000,000 times (not including offline re-enactments).

1 week ago: Courtesy of the infinitely wise Aunt Brynna, he learns the details of all the superheroes with whom she is familiar (including Spiderman, Superman, and Wonder Woman). The phrase "Fighting crime" enters his vocabulary. A lot.

Today: He talks and thinks near continuously about superheroes: creating intricate and highly inventive scenarios involving both Batman and Superman (with a little Spidey, Wonder Woman and Darth Vader action thrown in), engaging us in endless discussions about the relative powers and weaknesses of each, parading about in his Batman costume, surfing the Internet for any and everything to do with superheroes.

Tomorrow: ?!?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Book Review: "The Sissy Duckling"

Okay peeps, I promised to use this blog, in part, for book reviews, so here goes... It's Sarah's Super Silly (though Sometimes Serious) Story Synopsis! I'll be doing mostly adult fiction (not *that* kind of adult fiction; get your mind out of the gutter!), likely heavy on the sci-fi (since that's what I read), but my recent forays into literature (sci-fi and otherwise) have left me uninspired, so I'll be kicking it off with a newly favorite kid's book: Harvey Fierstein's "The Sissy Duckling."

(In case you're dying to hear more about my aforementioned forays, I just finished Peter Handke's "A Sorrow Beyond Dreams" which caught my eye because it was introduced by Jeffrey Eugenides, the brilliant author of "Middlesex." Plus with a name like "A Sorrow Beyond...," I was hopeful for something profound, possibly even something that'd make me weep, but instead just found it dull. And before that, I finally got around to reading "The Diamond Age," which I very much enjoyed right up until the weird and abrupt ending. Something about information transmitted via one big orgy? WTF?!?)

Anyhoo, so yeah, back the "The Sissy Duckling." This book is awesome. It's got everything you could hope for in a kid's book:

Engaging story, well written and well told. Check.
Cute illustrations. Check.
Challenges gender stereotypes. Oh, hell yes, CHECK!
Will likely make you bawl your eyes out the first few times you read it. Check.

It's the story of Elmer, a super cool young ducky boy, who sports a hot-pink floral backpack, and loves to decorate cookies and stage elaborate puppet shows. He's a super charming character: sassy and resourceful and smart... if only his father and the other ducks could see it. But no, instead they see a boy duck who's different from all the other boy ducks. In fact, there's not "a single other little boy duckling who liked to do ANY of the stuff that Elmer did. Not one." So they dub him a sissy.

It's super well written and heartbreaking to read (have I mentioned that I was reduced to a weeping puddle of goo the first dozen times I read it?), but, thankfully, it's got a happy ending-- Elmer rises to near stardom when he (*spoiler alert*) uses his kickass homemaking skills to become the first duck EVER to survive the winter without flying south!

Sounds awesome, eh? I'm actually not generally a fan of kids books that go out of their way to make a point. I prefer stories to morals. But color this an exception. Partially cuz it's got something super poignant and important to say. And because the "point" is impeccably woven into an engaging and funny story.

One of my favorite parts is when, at the end, Elmer goes out into the big wide world and realizes that there are, in fact, other ducks like him. Lots of em!

It's supposedly written for kids aged 5 - 8, but both my kids (2 and almost 5) love it. So I'm gonna say 2 - 8 :) Depends on the 2 year old. And the 8 year old for that matter. Funny that.

And, yes, the author is *the* Harvey Fierstein.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Lego Mania!

Micah's Lego party was a smashing success and I've got the pictures to prove it! Check 'em out here.

I spent the better part of the week concocting all kinds of Lego-stuffs -- including a quaint and colorful house complete with rooftop garden, a robot-airplane (or was it an airplane-robot?), a rocket, two front-end loaders, and a dinosaur with light up eyes (Truth be told, I can only take credit for the head. David assembled the rest of it. But, OMG, the head! *Was* *really* *cool.* Think rows and rows of little pointy teeth. And did I mention the light up eyes?!?) -- only to have them all destroyed within minutes of reaching the playground. Aww well. Such is the transient nature of Lego, I suppose. Plus, Micah had the *time of his life* watching and helping me put it all together, so it's all good.

Thanks to everyone who came out to help us celebrate! Micah is absolutely crazy for all the gifts (I'll letcha know when the new-toy buzz wears off, but given the quantity and caliber of loot aquired, I'd venture at least a week...) and spent the afternoon playing his harp and harmonica, working on his puzzle, messing around with his finger paints. He also asked me to assemble his new clone walker (thanks Hamsders!), which I was more than happy to do. I'd actually been eyeing that particular kit for a while and we even gifted it to our nephew earlier this year. So I was super stoked to add it to our collection. Plus, it was relatively easy to assemble :) Micah was *thrilled* with the way it turned out and spent a good 30 minutes carrying it around, chattering away to himself: "Look at my new robot! And look what else! Two more robots are sitting in the robot! Awesome!"

Speaking of, he also received his very own *ROBOT BACKPACK* from the Hannas. When first unveiled, I was so awed by it's beauty that I failed to consider it origins. It was only later that I thought to wonder where they got it. It looks handmade, so I figured that Felicia scored it on etsy or some such. And then it hit me: OMG! She made it! Duh! Cuz she's Felicia and she's amazing like that. Check it out:

See what I mean? Amazing.

Happy bday little Micah! You are one unbelievably cool two year old and I am so very grateful to be your parent.