Sunday, August 27, 2006

Summer's almost gone

It's hard to tell what's gonna set a kid off. Poo-poo, booger, naughty bits. With Franklin this week, the magic word is "clock." Clock showed up in one of his alphabet books and now he points them out everywhere. He notices clocks that I've never seen. Maggie found a cheap, plastic cuckoo clock to hang on the wall above the foot of his bed. It's so cheap, there's a plastic bunny in the cuckoo's house. No sweat, he can trade it in for the deluxe model with the incense smoker and the Catholic priest chasing a nun in circles around a mulberry bush when he gets a little older. Tonight when we were getting ready for sleep in his room, we scoured every page in Richard Scarry's Best Bedtime Storybook Ever in search of clocks. On the clocked pages, Frankie threw his hands up in the air and shouted "CLOCK!" and on the clockless pages, we said "nnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooo" in unison. Teacher Swim says that Frankie is the most creative kid she's seen in a long time. So many other babies and toddlers we meet at church on Sunday (that is, at the Taiwan National Science Museum, where we listen to readings from the Book of Linnaeus,--"Praise Genus!") have no facial expression to speak of, and when you look at their parents, it's no wonder. It looks like another generation of lunkheads on the way. Franklin, however, will always be different, no matter where he goes. His face and manner of gesture are very expressive. I wonder where he gets it from.

Months ago, Franklin went through a Bob Marley phase. I haven't played much lately to see where he stands on the genre now, but we have discovered that he likes John Lennon. Right now his favorite song hands down is "Watching the Wheels." He'll drop his crayons whenever the song comes on and stand up to listen with a smile on his face. When the line "I just had to let it go" comes around, he goes all weird and goose bumpy. And in the final bars when John holds the high note on "to" and then ad libs the ending on "go" the boy goes nuts. It's absolutely the best song in his world right now. I'm going to experiment with some other of John's piano songs.

He's also been getting a kick out of Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song," "Dancin' Fool" by Frank Zappa, and "Hobo's Lullaby" by Pete Seeger, or Joan Baez. I usually sing this one after Frankie finishes his bottle and he's drifting off. I can't wait to teach him this one.

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