Anyone that has spent much time around Michael, or has listened to me talk about him, knows how intense Michael is about his obsessions. His letter obsession started so young, and was so pervasive, that I wondered if he might have Aspergers. While his social development calmed my concerns, it certainly didn't lessen the intensity of Michael's dinosaur obsession when it started. When Michael is into something, he really, really, really gets into it.
The good thing about his letter and dinosaur obsessions is that they have positive value to them. His love of letters has led to a love of words and an early interest in reading. I'm all for that. His love of dinosaurs has been very interesting and opens the door for a lot of natural science discussions and discovery. Sure, I'm a little tired of dinosaurs at this point, but at least it's for a good cause, right?
So what is the new obsession? Scooby freaking Doo. One of those hot weekend days when Michael was too sick to go out and play, I decided to watch something new with him. I went into On Demand and noticed some old Scooby Doo episodes were available. Some other mom's have mentioned that their kids like the shows, so I decided to give them a try. Michael liked them. A lot.
In the past month since I first played those three On Demand shows, Michael has added several imaginary friends to his current batch. So now, instead of having just Ella, Dora, and Alicia* riding along with us, we now have Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne as well. I'll tell you, that's way too many imaginary friends for a mom to keep track of. I used to pretend that Dora, Alicia and Ella had to wear seat belts in the car, but I've given up on the teachable moment in this case. Maybe I should just put Velma in charge of making sure everyone's hooked properly, that seems like her kind of thing.
In addition to the imaginary friends, we have also picked up a number of Scooby Doo books. These aren't quick little books like like the level 1 readers, these are stories with a bit of a plot that include lots of words and lots of reading. Typically, I'm happy to sit down and read to Michael, but as anyone who has ever watched Scooby Doo knows, it's the same plot over and over and over again.
They all go something like this. Meddling kids go somewhere in the Mystery Machine. Monster shows up. Scooby and Shaggy are bribed to help solve the mystery with Scooby Snacks. Gang splits up and Shaggy and Scooby find monster while looking for food. Fred then uses Shaggy and Scooby as bait (mostly by dressing them up as women) to capture the Monster. Something always goes wrong with Fred's trap yet they still end up capturing the monster who is reveled to be a bad guy trying to scare people away for some nefarious purpose.
Not only is it the same plot over and over again, the writing in most of the books in not very good. I'm always left wondering how a projector on a water park mountain could project an octopus underground or, how the Mystery Inc. gang could fall through a hole in a salt mine without there being any salt under the hole. It makes no sense. And for crying out loud, one of the books even has a sentence ending with a preposition! Reading them is pure torture.
Which of course means that Michael wants me to read them all the time. Not only does he want them at bedtime, he's also brought them outside and had me read them to the neighborhood kids as well as taking them to my mom's and to school. Michael even managed to coerce his new teacher into reading one of the books. She seemed a little shell shocked by the experience. She commented that it was long and she had to do a bunch of different voices to keep the kids interested. She finally asked if Michael sits through a whole book, recognizing just how tedious they are to read.
Oh yes, he does. And not just one. I've had to draw the line at only two Scooby books at bedtime because he would sit there for an hour if I I was willing to do it. But, I'm not. In fact, I hate one of the books so much, I've hidden it in hopes that he'll forget it even exists.
We finally broke down and purchased several Scooby Doo DVDs for him to watch. I simply cannot satisfy his Scooby appetite with his books and the few shows that are On Demand. I'm doing my best to limit how many times he watches them, but if it's between me reading about the sea monster that steals a rainbow flounder five times a day, and plugging in the DVD...sometimes the DVD is going to win.
I really hope that this obsession is fairly short lived and will be replaced by something a little more interesting. And, if that wish isn't granted, I hope that we can at least avoid the discovery of Scrappy Doo. I'm not sure my sanity can survive that kind of assault.
* I don't know why Diego never got to come along. Maybe Michael thinks he won't like Alicia hanging out with Michael or something.