Last night I read a Dr. Sues book called "The best nest" to my 7 y/o son.
The action ensues with Mr. Bird singing happily that he loves his home and nest. "I love my home I love my nest in all the world my nest is best."
Of course Mrs. Bird is NOT happy. She wants a BIGGER home.
The first thing we notice is that Mrs. Bird is a head taller than the mousy Mr. Bird and she crosses her arms angrily, ordering Mr. Bird what to do with fierce eyes and accusing points, poking her fingers (claws?) into his chest accusingly. I asked my boy: "Does the mamma bird order the daddy bird around like that." To my great pride he responded: "Yah, usually, but that is not how it is supposed to be."
The next thing I noticed as the birds left the house is that momma bird is leading the way. I asked my boy: "Does mamma bird lead the daddy bird all around like that." He responded: "Umm, usually not, but sometimes. Usually the daddy is supposed to lead."
Then Mr. Bird selects 3 separate houses and Mrs. Bird flippantly and arrogantly rejects his selections. I asked my boy: "Does Mrs. Bird get to decide where they live?" He said: "Well, they should talk about it but Mr. Bird should decide. WHY IS HE LETTING HER BE STUPID?" Bonus points for the ability to recognize and pass shit tests at age 7.
Finally Mrs. Bird finds the "perfect place" to build a nest. It is a large belfry- right above a huge church bell- and the birds set about for several pages building a nest out of a variety of materials. Standing above the bell on her new nest Mrs. Bird happily cries out: "This nest is the best. I want to say here forever." Mr. Bird goes to the roof to sing his song again. My son said: "Why would Mr. Bird let her build the nest there? She's not very smart, right?" I told him: "It's Not about being smart, sweety. Mrs. Bird just feeeelz like she wants another house." My son looked up thoughtfully: "Wait, so...it is really Mr. Bird is being stupid cuz like he is letting her get away with all of that?" I nodded, laughed and hugged him tightly.
Then the man comes to pull the rope that rings the big bell "right under Mrs. Birds nest." My son immediately started yelling: "Wait, what? They built the nest together so now it is Mrs. Birds nest?" I choked back a tear and had to stop reading for a minute.
Why can a 7 year old see things so clearly when our society and so many adult men (and women) are completely blind?
Of course the story ends with Mrs. Bird disappearing and Mr. Bird thinking she was eaten by a cat. Heartbroken he flies off to nurse his oneitis and seeks shelter in their old home. Of course Mrs. Bird is there and has already laid an egg. Blithely informing Mr. Bird a momma bird is free to change her mind whenever she wants. The last page shows a baby bird hatching from the egg- another hostage for Mrs. Bird's hypergamy and manipulation: But that explanation will have to wait a few years.....