Exhibit #1 is Ryanna's Manifesto. Ryanna loves dogs. She has always loved dogs and if she were to record her memoirs at this point in time, they would probably be titled, "My Life as the Only Girl in a World of Boys Without a Dog to Understand Me" or "How my Parents Didn't Love Me Enough to Buy a Dog or Produce More Female Offspring." Or perhaps, "A Feminist's Life Before She Found Love--Puppy Love".
Why do we deny her the only thing that would bring her happiness--other than piercing her ears--of which we are the only parents in the universe that won't allow her to pierce her ears--or she thought that until last week when she located the other sole survivor of this group of oppressed 9 year olds living in a world without piercings. I'm sure that the Earring Issue will be Manifesto #2 and is part of a trilogy as all good writing is these days.
This document below was strategically left on our pillows every night for an entire week. Each night we would read it and chuckle and place it to the side and each night when we went to bed this document had moved back to our bed. You have to admit she's thought this through. She's willing to give up what she views as the only free time she has (her movie time) to take care of her beloved pet. I also have to appreciate that she's already convincing us that should we buy her argument, the sex of the dog should contribute to the female population in our home ("I'll never let her get run over.").
The next document is actually a collaborative effort. Owen designed the cover, but at the time these thoughts were consuming his mind, he did not yet know how to write, so he enlisted the help of his very able sister. All of the illustrations are also his own. You will note that all of the letters to form his name are on the cover, but not necessarily in the correct order.
It's also important to discuss why this book would have meaning to Owen. He is a bit obsessed with strength. He notices physical strength in humans--he thinks I am strong because he sees me exercise every day and has even done some of it with me and he can't do it all, so he concedes that I may have some physical edge on him. His interest with strength is not confined to muscles alone. He also is always creating scenarios and quizzing me on which item would be stronger. For instance, "Mom, I know that metal is really strong and I know that lava is really hot, so if metal fell into lava, which would last--the metal or the lava?" This explains the origins of the first page. Actually, he used to say, "hot llama" which was really cute and he doesn't do anymore.
The pages which discuss Pokemon and Bakugan are also so typical of his personality. Owen keeps finding books at the library which tell the (much too detailed) history of Pokemons. I am constantly being asked to read words that sound like total gibberish to me--did you know that Pokemons evolve and the main character is named Ash Ketchup? Bakugans are a lot like the Pokemon craze--apparently we have a son who would've enjoyed a childhood in Japan. The Pokemon and Bakugan story lines go back to strength as well as each character has certain characteristics which allow it to be stronger or somehow beat another character, but yet, even the strongest Pokemon/Bakugan can sometimes be defeated in battle. All the time Owen will come up to me and excitedly say, "Mom! Mom! Did you know that El Drago got beaten by Pegasus?!?!?" I just shake my head in disbelief since asking questions usually results in a detailed explanation of the power structure breakdown of each character--and there are LOTS of them!
Really, doesn't the love of these Bakugans and Pokemon really show a precursor to his love of sports? Even as he's telling me all the details, I keep hearing my husband, "Did you see the recruiting class that BYU has this year?"
Last, but not least, rockets. They are strong BUT they can fly. This goes back to the lava vs. metal question. He knows that a serious piece of metal is strong and therefore heavy, but, it can still overcome gravity!!!
I realize my own explanation of this work is longer than the work itself, but I want to remember how these kids came to understand the world around them and break it down into parts that they could compare and contrast. Wouldn't it be fascinating to see how each human mind begins this journey?