Meet Pengi. Pengi the Penguin is the only stuffed animal my four year old likes. He has never liked stuffed animals. He’s never really liked animals for that matter. Pengi is the exception. Because Pengi tells stories.
Pengi is the one stuffed animal in the house that is out to murder me.
A few weeks ago, I gave the penguin a silly voice and had it tell the four year old a bedtime story about a gassy robot. I know my four year old audience well. The kid loved the minute story, laughed and laughed. Begged for another. I caved and Pengi gave another robot story. The kid laughed, I laughed, it was a good bonding moment.
Or so I thought!
It turns out the firstborn was not so much interested in funny stories as he was in delaying bedtime just a little bit more. It took me weeks to realize this. Every single night he is asking for Pengi stories. He burned out on robot stories, so we moved to space stories. Those grew tiresome so we did bike riding stories for a bit. Then bears and mountains and music and so many topics. Three or four stories a night. This followed chapter books and other printed short stories that we read every night before bed too. The kid is a story fiend, but he really, really likes not going to bed on time and found a perfect way to sucker me into the delay.
The voice I gave Pengi is really difficult to maintain. My throat scratches after a day of phone calls anyway and this penguin is not doing any favors. Too late to change it now. I’ve made my bed.
The real issue is providing new stories. So far I have had the penguin place itself into the story lines of Short Circuit, Homeward Bound, Point Break, Toy Story, The Usual Suspects, most of the Astonishing X-Men, and a few Firefly episodes. All converted to kid friendly, penguin featured versions. You know how when asked to name a favorite song it feels like you’ve never heard music before? That is what making penguin stories feels like. The penguin is out to destroy me and it is totally in cahoots with the kid.
Tonight I’m thinking we’ll cover Stardust and The Abyss. That should be fun. Suggestions welcome.