Thursday, March 03, 2005

Welcome to Planet Egypt

It's official -- my kids are weird. It started about 5 years ago with "Bad Hailey", and imaginary annoying child who the kids would tell stories about to each other. They would build Bad Hailey effigies and do nasty things and enact punishments. Eventually Bad Hailey accumulated a few imaginary acquaintances, some "Nothing Pets" and several evil compatriots. Then a couple of years ago, Ookie Bungo joined the fray. Erin invented her and briefly fooled Noah into believing that she was an ugly and disruptive member of her art class.

In the last 6 or 8 months, though, this imaginary stuff has really taken off. They are constantly enacting imaginary play, writing stories, making up jokes, composing poems and songs. The kids realize adults think this is funny and strange so they've begun delightedly sharing bits of their complex inter-connected "Stories" with the public.

They live on Planet Egypt, all these folk. Some are fashioned after real people (friends and family) but with strange twists. Paul and RoseAnne (two teenaged friends in real life) have a baby called Pepper Oni who was stolen by Mr. and Mrs. Scrappy. Characters from favourite books are modified and adapted for Planet Egypt citizenship. There are the Euwy people who make up the Euwy Choir and sing awful songs, including Cheesus's favourite "It's the Song About Me." Fat and Skinny sit in the back beside the Deerwolf family (including DiaryWolf, DiarrheaWolf, DireWolf and DairyWolf). There are complex lineages, sometimes incorporating ancient Egyptian or Greek mythological deities or heros. Set and Isis are the parents of a few characters. Cheesus is the child of Amanra and Anubite. Anubite, the male member of the dyad, gave birth to him, because when men have babies on Planet Egypt (and they can!) they have swiss cheese. Anubite's favourite restaurant is "Brown Teeth of the Ukraine" so-named because of an unfortunate accident with leather, bright lights and mud. Grotchy & Grotcha, and their children Babotchy and Babothcha, are the frequent subject of cartooning. They perform most of their complex tasks with their nostrils.

There's a lot of free-association and just plain bizarre stuff involved in the stories but each of my kids is totally clear on every last detail. They've begun to codify it in a notebook at my suggestion. They have just over 150 names written down, though they haven't yet recorded the details of more than a handful of the characters.

They spend at least an hour a day, and sometimes several, expanding and embellishing their stories, songs, drawings etc.. It must be important stuff for them to be doing so much of it. Still seems weird.

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