Last night, after Liam had gone to bed, we heard him cry out for a tissue - a ploy he often uses to prolong bedtime. "Get it yourself. You know where they are!" my husband called.
But then I heard it, genuine sobbing - nothing put-on, something deeply sad. We both hurried to his bedroom to see what it was. "I have to stop crying," he said. After some cuddles and reassurance, we asked what was making him sad. "Chocolate Toast Crunch is the saddest one, " he sobbed. We asked why it was sad, and he described the commercial by singing the theme from "2001 A Space Oddessy" and saying they all get eaten." That's pretty much the theme of all of the "Toast Crunch" commercials. Was there something especially distressing about this one? Liam couldn't give us more than that and had really worked himself up.
We asked if he wanted to watch some TV with us and he did, so we all realaxed and watched an episode of "Dr. Chris Pet Vet." It had the intended effect of shaking off whatever had gripped him.
When he was back in bed, I Googled the "Chocolate Toast Crunch" ad to see what might be upsetting him. "Well," I said to my husband, "the song has kind of a monster vibe to it - maybe it was too dark for him." We both agreed that whatever it was, there was some meaning attached to it, which was a GREAT thing.
In the morning, he was back at it. As soon as he was on his computer, he brought up that spot. He was alternately laughing hard, then crying. And it hit me.
"John," I said to my husband, making coffee in the kitchen, "remember when he started crying tears of joy, when you transposed that song on the piano? I think that's what's going on here. He always says, "laughing means it's funny," so I think he must believe that crying always means something is sad. But he isn't sad at all, he's delighted beyond belief with something in this spot."
John went into the bedroom and introduced the concept of "tears of joy." I heard Liam repeat it, "TEARS OF JOY." But what was causing them?
Here's the original commercial:
A few minutes later, he'd dragged the spot into Video Pad to play with it and I saw what had caputred his imagination. He heard another song inside the song the squares were singing - Somewhere inside "Thus Spake Zarathustra" he heard the PBS Kids theme song! He edited it and played it back for me. We were blown away by his imagination and his editing skills.
Just when I had been feeling guilty for having to spend so much time in teacher training and leaving him on his own this week, he showed me that he'd taught himself how to edit to create a new song from existing pitches in another song.
Tears of joy, indeed.