I keep seeing all this research highlighting the importance of regular family dinner time in children’s lives and future success. Well, in our family, we have it made. Because we have Dad. And he is a master storyteller. When he tells stories, Lucien sits enraptured at the dinner table for upwards of 45 minutes. “Daddy tell another story!”
For many weeks Dad told Lucien folk tales, legends, and fables – American, Hawaiian, Korean – then he started telling “mess-up stories,” where he made “mistakes” or alterations in traditional fairy tales. In Jack in the Beanstalk, for instance, a girl who lived with her grandma (not a boy who lived with his mother) might be forced to sell her favorite karaoke machine (instead of her cow) to buy food. And in return she might get a bag of magic papaya seeds (not beans). And those seeds might grow into a giant papaya tree that leads to a shopping mall (instead of a giant’s castle). There, the little girl might find a golden goose and a golden ukulele (not a harp) and that ukulele might want to escape because the evil mall manager forces it to play country music. You get the picture …. and every night it was a different, hysterical retelling that had Lucien in stitches!
But lately, dinnertime stories have gotten even better, because Daddy thought up a series of tales about a boy named Lucius and his mom, Eleanor. And Lucius has some wild adventures. He has fought evil sea dragons. He has used magic fairy dust to turn pretend airplanes into real airplanes, flown across the ocean and dive-bombed poor Eleanor. He has a dog named Pete the Pup, and he can talk with Pete via a dog translator machine that he designed and built himself. (He won first prize in the science fair for that invention!)
Now, every night at dinner, Lucien has an assignment to think up three words – a noun, a verb, and an adjective. (See, we are even working on grammar and parts of speech!) Then, Daddy makes up a Lucius story on the spot, using those words as inspiration.
Dad tells stories about all you can eat yaki niku buffets where Lucius wins a special prize because he ate over six pounds of pork belly – and the prize happens to be a magic potion that turns Lucius and Pete invisible so that they can attack people with water balloons. He tells stories about Lucius and Eleanor singing Raffi songs at karaoke, with Pete barking along (and singing the lyrics via dog translator). And then Eleanor had a Grand Marnier ice cream drink (Seriously, I swear neither Dad nor Lucien have ever seen me drink such a concoction!) and sang “White Wedding.”
So you all might be seeing story synopses appearing here on the blog – we want to preserve some of these gems!