Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Red Baron Meets His Match

We taught Q-ster to recite our home address long ago, but I froze with indecision on teaching him our phone number. First, there were so many digits to learn. Next, which number? Home, my mobile, SwingDaddy’s mobile, and what if we moved and the numbers changed anyway? We did end up moving, the number didn’t change, but then we were occupied with major distractions (read: birth of the micro dude) and Q-ster still didn’t know our phone number.

Last month, my dad played the video of Snoopy vs the Red Baron for the kids a couple of times, and Q-ster could pretty much sing the whole thing, including long verses where he didn’t even understand most of the vocabulary.

Up in the sky, a man in a plane
Baron von Richthofen was his name
Eighty men tried and eighty men died
Now they're buried together on the countryside

In the nick of time, a hero arose
A funny-lookin' dog with a big black nose
He flew into the sky to seek revenge
But the Baron shot him down "Curses, foiled again!"

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more
The Bloody Red Baron was rollin' out the score
Eighty men died tryin' to end that spree
Of the Bloody Red Baron of Germany

(See here for the full lyrics of how Snoopy gets his man.)

In any case, I realized that there was no need to choose which phone number, because the little dude is perfectly capable of memorizing ALL our numbers and perhaps those of our closest hundred friends as well.

The song has also led to some pretty interesting discussions about what’s “real” and what’s “pretend.” It’s been important that he distinguish between the two, especially since he loves Star Wars so much and is known to occassionally raise his hand and use Force powers against oncoming cars in the parking lot.

I explain that there are lots of bad guys, fights, and wars in movies because they make things interesting, but in real life, they aren’t any fun. People get hurt in fights. He duly applied his perspective to the song and explained to me, “The Red Baron was real. He flew a red airplane. Snoopy is pretend. He flies a doghouse, which is silly. The Red Baron was a bad guy. Germans are bad guys.”

Ack. He got the real/pretend stuff, but then I had to explain that Germans (in general) aren’t bad guys, but they were indeed on the other side in that war and would have been enemies at the time, but that was many years ago, and wow, I didn’t explain that well, did I?

We recently saw a WWII memorial with a statue of two GIs at a park, and Q-ster examined their posture and guns carefully. He wanted to know if they were real. I replied that they were soldiers from a real war a long time ago. “The Red Baron’s war?” No, a war that came after that.

“Why are they statues?” So that we can remember and thank them for protecting us.

“From bad guys?” Um, yeah. Let’s leave it at that for now.

Thank god I went through a history craze phase in school, because I think I’m going to need all that background really soon.

Updated: Ok, I'm an idiot. I did a little reading about the statue, and it depicts a local Navy SEAL and his teammate who were killed in Afghanistan a few years ago. I should have looked at their gear more carefully. I think it's cool that the community came together so quickly to show respect for them and all the service people.


mayberry said...

Wow, that's amazing that such a statue was already put in place.

(Also amazing, Q-ster the singing historian!)

Bob said...

Though to explain what's real and what's pretend; and past, present and future to kids. Human brain sure has developed.

Anonymous said...

I have a funny story about that song. When we were in Jr. High my now-husband and his friend performed that for our drama class. They had this whole routine worked out. I thought it was cute, and now here I am 20 years later married to the guy. Watch out for that song! ;)

Now, I must go and teach my child our address. I have clearly been slacking.