Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fantasy friends arriving

Not long ago, we blogged about the eerie toy mouse that Sonny had taken a shine to - and was burbling chattily to, instead of us.

Well, if you can't beat 'em, why not join 'em? If the way to get our almost 10-week-old son to take a greater interest in things around him is through fantasy friends, such friends he will have. We've been fixing up a small neighbourhood's worth of characters to use as mouthpieces for interaction, complete with thumbnail histories:

There's Clothy, an old hand towel that was the runt of his litter (his siblings are luxurious bath towels), but faithfully tends to Sonny by wiping sweat off his brow and spit from his lips. There's Ching Ching, a rattle who hails from a circus family and so likes to entertain with song and rhyme. There's Wordster, an eight-page cloth book who's a librarian by profession and is ever ready to supply facts ("That's a television. This is a newspaper").

And that dratted mouse? We had to find him a place in the universe-under-construction- so he's a thug for hire, whose unthreatening cover story is summed up in his trademark jingle, 'I'm Mickey the Commando Mouse'.

It's not just that we hope such friendships will benefit Sonny, in that these characters' varied talents and knowledge should - taken together - allow us to clue him in to various aspects of the world around him. Truth be told, the project is taking on a life of its own as Mum and (especially) Pa gleefully fill Sonny in on the background of his pals. By now, it's more fun for parents than son: Even as our child stares blankly through most of the narration, we're rediscovering a childlike love for fantasy and invention. For weaving adventure stories and investing them with a degree of emotional attachment.

Beyond that, we're pleased that populating Sonny's world has not required a kowtowing to the toy and entertainment industry, or simply accepting whatever they serve up as the flavour of the month. We're creating our own stories - our own heroes and villains - using as materials everything from humdrum household objects to gifts from friends.

And how soon can Sonny join in flexing his creative muscles? To be honest, even as we've spent the last few days laying the foundation for thrilling adventures with magical friends, his interests may have moved on. He's evinced a definite fascination with television, especially with Korean-language serials and leggy models.

Oh boy. How do we weave Heidi Klum into Sonny's world?