Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Angry Birds and Pigs Have Taken Over My House—Margaret Hart

My son's interest in collecting began with Thomas the Tank Engine, when he was about two years old.  He wanted every engine.  We'd build tracks all around the house and run the engines until the batteries died.  We started with the wooden trains, but once he discovered the motorized ones, they took over my house.
We moved onto Hot Wheels cars somewhere around age three or four. Every trip to the grocery store we had to buy one or two, or sometimes three.  I could justify the expense because they were only a few dollars apiece.  But then one day I looked around and they had taken over my house. We had to purchase storage cases to get them off the floor, and storage shelves to get the storage cases off the floor. And of course we had to buy the racing mats on which to race the cars. 
From race cars, my son made a quantum leap to Monster Trucks. At age five, he knew the names of every truck and its driver. He wanted to go to Las Vegas for the World Finals.  And it wasn't enough to have the trucks, we had to have the world finals and freestyle competition videos. And the books. I was happy about the books because that meant reading even if I had to read them. We started with small trucks and moved onto big ones. This called for really big storage bins. And the trucks took over my house. 
About the same time, my son started showing a strong interest in Sponge Bob Square Pants. I wasn't keen on the idea. I wasn't sure about the language. So we started small. We bought some discounted videos and a few books. But his interest took off. I started to notice the square guy everywhere. Next came t-shirts and PJs, and at Thanksgiving, while visiting relatives, we noticed the cousins had a super-sized Sponge Bob pillow on their beds. Santa brought one to our house that Christmas, along with a plug-in video game. SpongeBob started to take over my house. 
When he was five turning six, he started to get interested in Mario and Luigi.  It was inevitable. Most of his friends had the Wii gaming system and my son was introduced to Super Mario Brothers at play dates. After a lot of "please, mommy," and "please, daddy," we decided to buy him the Wii system for a preschool graduation gift.  I am certain I never got a gift from my parents when I graduated from preschool, but we needed a reason, and the timing was right.  
Now Super Mario was taking over my house. Along with Wii sports and other games.  I had to buy a small basket to store  the games. Turns out buying the Wii was one of the best decisions we ever made. While intuitively he could master almost every game with little or no assistance, it was the motivation of wanting to learn the games that encouraged my son to stretch his reading skills to learn the challenging vocabulary on the screen. My husband and I are convinced that the games he played have helped propel his reading skills. As long as his reading continues to excel, I will gladly allow the Wii games to take over my house!
This month, as my son marked his seventh birthday, the talk has been all about Angry Birds. If you haven't at least heard of the game, then you've been living under a rock! It was released in 2009 and has since reportedly been downloaded over 42 million times. Make that 42 million and 1 when I got my new iPhone this past September. My son became a groupie. He plays the game on my phone while we wait for the bus to come in the mornings. And he plays every chance he gets. 
So for his birthday on December 2nd, he wanted an Angry Birds-themed cake. So my mom and I created Angry Birds cupcakes to bring to class, and my husband and I splurged and had a cake designer create an Angry Birds cake based on a drawing my son made, for his big party with all his friends. The cupcakes came out great and all the kids loved them. The birthday cake was a huge hit and the kids were amazed. The parents, too. I just thought I'd share.
Now the Angry Birds, and the pigs are taking over my house! He has at least six birds by last count, and an equal number of pigs, plus the gigantic "mighty eagle"—birthday gifts from friends and family. They are on his bed most of the time, and sometimes I have to dig underneath them to find a boy! His plush toys and stuffed animals are definitely taking over, but as long as he can still fit under the covers, I guess I'm okay with it.

Designer Cake

Angry Bird Cupcakes

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