Curious George, Alter Ego (Part 1)

May 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

When JP was two, I read him his first Curious George book (Curious George Goes to the Hospital, by Margret & H.A. Rey). Two and a half years later, still not a day goes by that we’re not reading about him, watching him on TV, or singing about him (Oh, you’re not familiar with the Curious George songs, the ones my husband and I are forced to make up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT before JP will go to sleep?).

My mother-in-law is a bit troubled that my son has chosen as his hero in life a monkey who spends a lot of time getting into a lot of trouble; she seems to think perhaps there are better role models than ones who can manage to knock over a bottle of ink, flood the house, release a herd of pigs, and knock over an entire dinosaur exhibit at a museum—all in a single day (Curious George Gets a Medal). But children are rarely that literal, and I like to think that it’s not George’s actions that inspire JP (though he laughs hysterically at them) but rather the motivation behind those actions: his insatiable, uncontainable curiosity. I might even claim that Curious George is a kind of Alter Ego for my son–and for scores of other boys and girls as well (I too was obsessed with him as a little girl).

Our children drive us crazy with their litany of “Whys?” starting from the moment they open their eyes in the morning. Curious George not only has all the same questions, but he stops at nothing to get the answers–however absurd, risky, or forbidden the venture. Our kids get to watch this progression safely from the sidelines; they get to live vicariously through George as he hijacks a wheelchair or lets a circus ostrich out of his cage or pulls a fire alarm. And when everything comes crashing down around him (as it inevitably does), they get to watch that, too.

(Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, including the Curious George story that started it all…)

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