Not to encourage the idea that I had her thinking that sharks are scary, I'd like to back-up my story for a second. My daughter and I have had a long love-affair with sharks. I had started taking her to the Chicago Aqarium when she was only six months old. Then we took her to Sea World when she was almost two and almost three. There is also "shark" on Word World on PBS Kids. Finally, there was the classic Sharknado that aired over the summer. She heard mommy and daddy constantly talking about it and making jokes and she watched the trailer with us. Mommy also got a shirt with a Sharknado on it and she loves to point out that there are sharks on mommy's shirt.
Even before my daughter was born, I had been passionate about sharks. I had wanted to be a marine biologist and study sharks. This was during my time in elementary school. It didn't work out that way for me, but it's still something I'm passionate about. I always geek-out a little when I see an article in the news about sharks or it's Shark Week on Discovery Channel (um. . . except this year, which kind of sucked with all this overly dramatized stuff).
My daughter, though, is beyond fascinated by them, demanding we see them whenever we can. It was a wonderful day for her when she got to meet a shark in person and talk to them. Not only did she get to pet real sharks swimming in a shallow petting-pool, but she got to meet a Land Shark. The Land Shark gave her a temporary tattoo and she was in heaven all day. She even needed to purchase replica sharks in the gift shop at the Myrtle Beach Ripley's Aquarium after her encounter. This little kid just LOVES sharks!
So for my daughter to be into sharks and want to pretend to be a shark, was a-okay with me. Yet, when she's pretending to be this vicious, yet friendly, predator, she "swims" around saying "Shark, shark" and substitutes all English words with "shark," but speaks in proper sentence structure, so you know exactly what she's saying despite the swapping out of words. I begged and pleaded with her to give it up and I tried to use toddler-logic to encourage her to see my way on this. Sadly, I don't think this "toddler-logic" is a real thing and I couldn't make my convincing arguments work.
Instead, I pulled up the classic John Williams score to the original JAWS and let her listen to the classic, first 55 seconds.
She was smitten! Trying to open her mouth as wide as the shark on the poster and demanding to hear the shark song over and over again. When I asked her, "What does a shark say?" she actually was "singing" back the score!
This then prompted my husband to engage the hilarious "What does the fox say?" He turned it into a "What does the shark say?" spoof and the sounds like the 26 - 30 second marks with the first french horn spot. I wish I could duplicate it or that my stubborn husband would let me record his genius, geeky quip moment! It was so brilliant and caused us to erupt into all kinds of laughter. Then, of course, we had to watch the video and my daughter just laughed and laughed.
The moral of the story? It's good to be a geek mom. Look at all the cultural stuff my toddler just engaged with in a positive and self-affirming way without gender-stereotyping or bias. I love that I can do these things with her and it's fun for everyone. . . and I can hear John Williams instead of a shrill "shark, shark" during imaginary play time.
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