This week has been a celebration of children for me, starting with babysitting K for my friend M, having K and her son L over for MN State Fair weekend, and ending sweetly with the arrival of a new niece A. (Another girl to buy books for! Congratulations T & G!) I officially have 5 nieces and no nephews.
To celebrate the delightful children in my life, I thought I’d write about, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems. The book’s target reading age is 2-6. This info can be found on the back of the book. When I first became an aunt, I had the hardest time trying to figure out age appropriate books for my niece. I don’t feel like 6 was a suitable age cap as I am nearly 30 and found the book thought provoking.
This folio devotes itself to a pigeon that uses a variety of emotional tactics to convey to readers that it wants a puppy. Strange as it may sound, this book reminded me of a class I took in college called, Empty Selves. Empty Selves had nothing to do with pigeons and puppies, but the course did address the general ennui and dissatisfaction with life that plagued recent generations. I watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers and read Something Happened by Joseph Heller, for the course if this helps explain it.
Recently, many of my friends and colleagues have expressed that they have disenchantment with life. Many of them had set realistic goals: go to school, get a professional career, find a partner, purchase some real estate, start a family, rescue a dog from an animal shelter. Now that my successful friends had obtained most of their goals by age 30, they found that life was not what they expected. Their lives did not look the way they imagined. They were stuck in unhappy routines, and it seemed plain unfair. Many pulled me aside, teary-eyed, and confessed that they weren’t sure who’s life they were living, and they all thought that perhaps obtaining the last goal on their list would help them find that happiness.
K, S, Husband and I got to talking this weekend about life goals and how frustrating it can be when one comes to a certain age, or point in their life where they feel they should have met all those ambitions, but have not.
Me: Everyone just needs to chill-lax. It’s like in any book when the protagonist is at their darkest hour, and it seems like they will never get what they want—then BOOM! Mr. Darcy appears. And 9 times out of 10 they didn’t even know they wanted Mr. Darcy because they were taught to want something else. They ought to try some creative visualization*. It seems to work for Deepak Copra.
Pigeon has the same mindset, fixation on a goal, and when pigeon obtains that goal, ze** just creates another goal. I can’t solve Pigeon’s problem in one blog post, at best I can just address it, but this is a topic adults should breech with children before they hit their 20’s. I’m glad Willems created this book. I think children will identify with Pigeon, and by the end, readily see ze as a silly character. I hope children consider this when they are older. This way, when Mr. Darcey (or a walrus) pops into their life it will only be a fine addition to an already happy and satisfied existence.
* Through The Wormhole with Moragan Freeman cites many interesting studies that respond to the question, Did God invent humanity or did we invent God? Find case studies interesting? So do I. Check out some peer reviewed articles on the APA website.
** Gender neutral pronoun, another topic K and I discussed, that Husband feels is made up. You can be the judge by checking out Urban Dictionary or this Wiki article. Or you can believe me when I say I have friends in the LGBT community who use it. At any rate, pigeon seems genderless and this problem permeates both sexes.