So, So Furious
We read most of them last summer and into the fall. It was perfect timing because Johnny was still reading picture books. Now, he's too old...for now. See, you're never too old for picture books, or too young, but sometimes you're too in between.
Anyway, it was interesting to see what my sons' favorites were. I'm basing this not on votes, but on 1. how many times they wanted it reread and 2. the look in their eyes that said, "I'm not here; I'm there. The book is my religion. It's my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It's my lucky everything." You know the look. Actually these are separate criteria, so here were their favorites, based on one and two:
J.J.: 1. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt. 2. Little Blue and Little Yellow, by Leo Lionni.
Richie: 1. Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by John Scieszka. 2. The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff and Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm by Alice Provensen.
Johnny: 1. None. 2. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans and Eloise by Kay Thompson.
I thought of this list yesterday because of Richie's reaction to the animals in Our Animal Friends. He said, in an imagination-induced daze, "I never knew you could have that many animals as pets!" Then: "Can I have a pet pig?"
"Sure!" I said, caught up in the excitement. "You don't mind if we get a pig, do you Justin?"
He had just walked into the room and was like, "What the hell just happened in here? I thought you were reading a book."
He asked, "A pig?"
"Not a hog, but a small pig," I said. I turned to Richie. "I think they have something called a 'pocket pig,' which can fit in your pocket. They either have it or they're developing it. Or we could get a pot-bellied pig. They're small. Would a pot bellied pig be all right?" I asked Justin.
"Sure," he said. It's the same answer I get when I suggest we move to Florida or travel the country in an RV. He knows that I have ADHD and only follow through on writing projects. He was thinking, "You can write about small pigs all you want, honey."
Well, guess what? Yesterday, Richie got a pig!
A Guinea pig.
He'd been wanting a pet of his own for two years. Johnny used to have a frog and a turtle. Then there were the snails, which died tragically of overpopulation.
Richie had his heart set on a parrot. But we are not pirates. Plus, Justin doesn't like birds. Plus, aren't parrots expensive? They're bossy, I know that. I once accompanied my brother to feed our neighbor's parrots, and they were like, "Turn on Nick at Night! Where's Lois? Get the lights. Blah Blah Blah."
"Parrots cost $5,000" I said.
Richie began to lean toward something furry.
On his birthday, we went to see Shrek: Forever After. I rented out the entire movie theater, Daddy Warbucks-style, or at least that's what I told Richie. We really were the only ones in the theater!
Then we went to Petsmart. My mom and I had both given Richie gift certificates for his birthday.
First Richie looked at dumbo rats. I'm not a rat person, per se, but I have to admit, one of these guys was cute. He was pawing at the glass as if to say, "Pick me! Pick me!" Then the Petsmart worker opened the cage and they all started running around, and all I could think was Willard. Plus, my mom would die if she had aided and abetted the purchase of a rat. Because then, somewhere, someone would say, "A rat has been sold. Excellent. Now we can breed more rats!" And his name would be Willard, horror, etc.
It came down to Russian hamsters v. Guinea pigs. We learned that hamsters are crazy hyper and fun to watch on their little wheels. But they're quick to get away when you hold them Then Richie held a Guinea pig. She held perfectly still. I knew he had found the pig of his dreams.
"What are you going to name her?" I asked.
"Furious," he said. "Because his eyes are red." (Richie is in denial that Furious is a girl.)
Her eyes are red because she's an albino, but yeah, okay, I can see why you would think the timid little fur ball was on the verge of insane Guinea pig anger. If you were an eight-year-old boy, that is.
We got furious a cage, bedding, water bottle, food, special hay, and an oatmeal canister hiding place.
J.J. asked, "Why doesn't Furious have a T.V.?"
"Maybe she prefers to read," I said.
"No, he wants a T.V.," J.J. said. So he drew pictures on Post-its and stuck them on the cage. I'm not sure why that constituted a T.V. and not an art exhibit. I guess it speaks to the cultural experiences I've offered my children. In my defense, Sesame Street is a work of art, in my book. And iCarly is not too bad, either.
Well, Furious might be watching T.V., but my boys aren't. They're allowed to watch T.V. before 8 a.m.and after 4 p.m. This works better for us than limiting their viewing time to one hour because I can't keep track of time. Today, the boys woke up at 7 a.m. but didn't turn on T.V. Instead, they sat backwards on the couch and watched The Furious Show.
"He's drinking his water! He's hiding! He's eating hay! He's knocking things over! Wow he's so smart!"
Richie held him several times. True to his name (now I think of him as a him, too,) he nuzzled softly against Richie's chest and let him pet him. What an angry young Guinea pig!
I took Richie's picture with him. Then Richie, the wildlife photographer, took several pictures of Furious in his cage. The big question is: Did Furious sleep last night? When we left him in the living room, he was awake in his oatmeal canister. When I woke up this morning, he was awake outside the oatmeal canister. Maybe we'll have to hook up a secret camera. Then we really will be able to watch him on T.V.!
Happy bday Richie.