So, I’m sitting with Little Boy G the other day and we’re playing with some of his small, toy airplanes. (Boys love things that go, don’t they?) Anyway, he’s looking at one jet which is brown camouflage in color and has twin vertical stabilizers (fins).
“I think this is a Hornet,” LBG says as he flips it over in his tiny little hand.
I zero in on the tail end of the jet and voice my disagreement. “Oh, I don’t know, honey. I think it might be a MiG.” I decide this based on the fact that a red star is visible on both vertical fins.
“No,” he says finally and shakes his head after checking it over. “It’s an F-18. A Hornet, mommy. Like the Blue Angels.” (His dad just got him a DVD cartoon about the Blue Angels (F-18 Hornets). He knows every word in the DVD already.) He really wanted this jet to be a Hornet.
I cringe and smile (why don’t I just say ‘okay’?). “Actually, I think it’s a MiG-29 Fulcrum, G. I can tell because there is a red star on the tail fins.” I show him. “See?”
He looks at the stars and then rolls his eyes. “Just look at the empannage, mommy. It’s a HORNET. Not a MiG.”
“I am looking at the empannage, Sweetie, and I think maybe you’re thinking that all MiGs look like the MiG-21 Fishbed, which has a single vertical stabilizer. But the Fulcrum and the Hornet have two. Like this one. See?”
Argh, he growled and walked away.
After he left the room, I surreptitiously looked underneath the jet to see if there was any indication as to its type. ‘MiG-29 Fulcrum’, it read. Oh yeah, mama’s still got it. Phew!
The next day we were playing together in his room and he held up the jet in question. “Look, mommy,” he said with a smile.
“Oh, nice,” I said. “What kind of jet is that?”
“It’s a MiG,” he said. “A MiG-29.”
You can see below why he might have been confused. On they other hand, I didn’t know what an empannage was when I was four years old. So the answer to the question in the title of this post for me anyway, is, no, I am not.