Mini Michael Jackson
Finn’s self-image gets spiced up with a solid dose of the King of Pop.
(Kate Abbey)
I’ve heard of it happening before. Parents waking up one morning to discover that they’re living with Spiderman or Hannah Montana.

Well, we’ve woken up to find we’re rooming with Michael Jackson.

‘Beat it! Beat it!’ hollers Finn from the lounge as he stomps his feet and slaps his legs. He walks backwards and declares, ‘I Michael Jackson.’

I’d like to say that Finn’s sudden fascination with the King of Pop coincided with increased media coverage around Jackson’s death. But the truth is, long before the tragic incident, we owned an admirable Michael Jackson DVD collection. Or, more correctly, Roxi owned the collection, probably explaining her impressive repertoire of dance moves.

I admit, though, that we have stepped up the watching of these music videos in recent months and Finn has gotten hooked in along the way. His favourite video, filmed in Rio de Janeiro, shows a large group of colourful Brazilians all bashing away at drums while Michael twirls, shimmies and moonwalks.

Every morning Finn wakes up demanding, ‘Wanna see BIG Michael Jackson,’ which we’ve deciphered means he wants to see this particular music video. Who needs Barney, Bob the Builder or Makka Pakka when you’ve got Michael? Finn has, in fact watched this Michael Jackson video every day for the past two weeks.

We’re hoping it will encourage our son’s blossoming interest in music and dance and give him early musical building blocks. And we get to make a quick breakfast in the morning without having a small child hanging off us demanding we go outside in the rain to play soccer.

Finn’s fascination with MJ has its other merits. If we want Finn to eat his supper, go to sleep or any other prerequisite for survival, we manipulatively say, ‘Come on Michael Jackson, eat your boiled egg.’ And without doubt, Finn does. He’s simply more cooperative as Michael than as Finn. So we’re running with it.

So much so that for his second birthday we bought him a bongo drum from the African Market in Long Street. Now he can join Michael and the Brazilians in a thunderous drumming frenzy. It keeps him occupied for hours.

Roxi is particularly encouraging of Finn’s preoccupation. She jokes that, being white, he might have missed out on the very essential ‘rhythm gene’.

‘Go, Michael,’ she urges Finn, ‘Get down Michael Jackson.’ While the two of them twirl and twist, I stand back on the sidelines smiling inanely going: step together, step beat; step together, step beat.

Yes, everything has been going rather well living with MJ until a few days ago when Finn suddenly looked up from his game of ram the tractor into the cat, and piped, ‘Wanna see lady.’

‘What my boy?’ I asked gently, glancing up from my magazine. ‘What Lady?’

‘Wanna see Lady in TV.’

As Finn grew increasingly agitated at my obvious lack of comprehension he eventually threw himself on the ground and bellowed, ‘LADYEEEE! I wanna see Michael Jackson LADYEE!’
Uh-oh. It seems Finn has been under the impression that Michael Jackson is a woman.

Now, we’ve really screwed him up.

Who are your toddler’s role models?

Read more by Susan Newham


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