Friday, March 26, 2010

The Mom Who Reads Books About People With No Heads

“What’s your book about?” the little boy asked me curiously. He looked to be around six or seven.

“Oh. Anne Boleyn. She was a Queen before her husband, the King, had her beheaded,” I answered kindly.

“What’s beheaded?” the boy wondered.

“When your head is chopped off.” As soon as the words escaped my lips, I knew I had said the wrong thing. The little boy’s eyes grew huge and then he ran off towards his parents. I watched as he flung his arms around his mother’s neck and whispered something into her ear. Then she turned and glared at me.

I am not good with children.

I admit that.

I mean, most people would know that it’s not good form to talk about heads being removed from a body. But I didn’t. I tend to speak to children like they’re adults and I forget that there are some things that I might want to omit.


See, I was at Reading/Pajama Night at my son Tommy’s school. It was a night to get kids excited about books and reading, you see. We were all scattered around the auditorium with our books. The paper that Tommy came home with had said that you could bring whatever book you wanted. So I brought my Anne Boleyn one. Of course when I got to the school I realized that most of the adults were reading children’s books.


Well, I’m sorry. I was excited over the prospect of reading in peace for a few minutes. I don’t get the chance to do it much at home. The second I crack open a book my daughter takes it from me and says, “No.” Then she drags me onto the floor where I’m forced to play with her creepy Yo Gabba Gabba toys.

“You can borrow one of my books,” Tommy offered. I think he was a little embarrassed that I was the only parent flipping through a giant book while the others were browsing colorful books for children. He was also on edge because we were supposed to bring a blanket to sit on.

I brought a towel.

He was mortified when he saw other families fluff out their blankets.

“You see? They have a blanket!” Tommy moaned, pointing.

Then another family would roll out a blanket.

“And so do they,” Tommy added. Then he started counting the families with the blankets. “They have one, so do they, and them, and—”

“I get it, Tommy. You wanted a blanket. I thought a towel would suffice,” I cut in.

“It doesn’t!” Tommy griped.

“Well, then you’ll have a lot to discuss with your therapist won’t you? You can talk about how your mother didn’t bring a blanket on reading night,” I said.

“I will,” Tommy confirmed even though he doesn’t even know what a therapist is.

So yes. He was already unhappy with me and then I go talking about rolling heads. When he offered me a book, I figured I ought to take it.

“What do you have?” I asked, shutting my Anne Boleyn book.

“Oh, The Things You Can Think and McElligot’s Pool,” Tommy said grandly.

I swallowed back my groan. They were both Dr. Seuss books. Dr. Seuss books give me a headache.

I eventually took Oh, The Things You Can Think. I really wasn’t reading the words though. I was thinking, “Is this thing almost over?”

I mean, what is going on here?

My eyes eventually started to wander to other people. I counted two women with Kate Gosselin’s old hairstyle (!), four teenagers with Twilight books (blech), and eight children picking their nose.

Then I took a picture of Tommy. He was not amused.

“Why, Mommy? Why?” he whined.

The reading seemed to go on forever. I wanted to read my Anne Boleyn book, dammit. Look, I’m all for having an imagination but I think Dr. Seuss went overboard. Surely he had to have been drunk when he wrote his books.

Finally we could stop reading and Tommy’s class went up to perform songs from Seussical The Musical.

He was a water boy.

You see?

He was the best water boy up there, I tell you.

When he was finished, we headed for the exit to go home. On our way out I heard a tiny voice say, “That’s her! The Mom who reads books about people with no heads!”

Oh crap.

Tommy gave me a Look.

Now he’s going to be the kid whose Mom reads about people with no heads.

“ about some ice cream when we get home?” I suggested.


  1. If that little boy was my son, he'd have been your friend for life. He loves hearing about people being beheaded or dismembered or shot or stabbed or zombies. Yeah, my son's a little nuts.

  2. oh whateve!! you sooo know you wanted to go steal the twilight books from the teenagers!!!


    have a lovely wkend!!!

  3. I love the reputation you're getting,. Don't worry, soon you'll be the "cool" mom to all the kids!

  4. who cares what they're reading as long as they're reading! My dad turned me onto books when I was really young and I have loved it eversince. I've yet to read Anne Boulin but I'll add it to the list. Dr. Seuss? Really, the man must have dropped some serious acid in his days.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Yeah, my kids would have made you their friend for life. Sean has always loved anything that had to do with violence and horror. And Mo is a super Anne Boleyn buff. Which book was it? We probably already own it. As well as both seasons of The Tudors...

    I do like Dr. Seuss. It's even better in spanish! Lol.


  7. LOL!! What happened to "Goodnight Moon"?? Happy Friday to all!

  8. I LOVE ANNE BOELYN! and I would have inferred as well that it was to read what you want to read. (watch anne of a thousand days) and while you could sugar coat it, anne really did have her head chopped off and it is history, so really you did him a favor. no livin in a bubble for that kid!

  9. This is precisely why I never had kids. My eyes glaze over when I have to spend quality time with my step grandkids!! I get sooo bored and want to do my own stuff!

  10. Tommy's jammies rock. Is weird that I covet both your children's wardrobes?
    PS Would imagining a beheaded Cat in the Hat make the book any more bearable?

  11. Good, point. Ice cream fixes everything.

  12. HA! I am just like you and I open my mouth before I think who/what age I am talking to.

    However, whereas you said Oh Crap in your post, I probably would have said it out loud, followed by an OH Sh*t! I have actually done that and then felt horrible!

    Many is the time when I have pulled my 10 yr old aside and asked her "Did I just swear out loud, or was that in my head?"

    Me=bad mommy.

  13. Eh, a little therapy never hurt anyone right ;) I'm constantly the underachieving mom. It wears on my last nerves. Bunch of show off, perfect moms.

  14. lol...heck, he got ice cream out of the deal...i think that's a fair trade off for some emotional scarring :)

  15. omg- why don't they just put on the freakin memo you need to bring a blanket - not a towel. We are screwed from the get go.

  16. Haha- so glad to hear you are providing conversation for therapy. That is very important. You wouldn't want him to waste his money on therapy without anything to say.

  17. Oh everyone knows moms can not get it right no mater what.... towel vs blanket... I would have picked towel too.

  18. I always love reading your post...they always make my day!

  19. I am also that Mom who can only relate to my own kids.

    Please, as it is my kids know that with me as their Mom anything more than a roof over their heads and food in their bellies is a bonus!

    I told my son the other day he better get a good job so he can pay for his own therapy when he gets older. I'm providing the reasons for therapy he's on his own for the rest!

  20. Ok, as a Mom currently engrossed in a Dean Koontz novel (actually it's a repacement since the original went through the washing machine)isn't it better to be reading about dismemberment than actually doing it? I mean it's not like you're taking notes...right? And,as for the theropy, maybe your son and my boys can have group sessions, since I am sadly short votes for "mom of the year".

  21. This gives me hope.

    I do the same thing and talk to kids like they're adults. This means I'll often say something like, "You shouldn't run and jump so much. You'll want that energy later when you're always tired and wishing you're dead because your roommate has no concept of how loud he is in the morning when he gets ready for school!"

    And kids should know how lucky they are that no one is going to behead them.

    Most likely, anyway.

  22. I think it's great that you talk to kids without "talking down" to them. I've noticed that kids who get "baby talk"ed to a lot tend to be less intelligent. Good for you!!!

    This is why I think I need to write my books. I've always wanted to write history books for children. I would write a whole series about ole Henry just for you (to read to/with your kids, of course!)

  23. i read the Other Boleyn Girl and my kids asked me what it was about. Think about that one...HO!

  24. I'm a teacher and think that reading in front of your kids is such a simple way of getting them excited about reading. Do those other parents really read children's books in their spare time? No, they probably don't even read in front of them. Hi-five sista! You were the only real reader there....what a good role model (even though you do read books about heads being chopped off)!

  25. you are hilarious!

    and i'm totally with you on the
    dr. seuss headache.

    i could NOT read those to my

    did love roald dahl, though, who
    would love beheaded women.

  26. Could have been worse! Ice cream was a great idea! LOL

  27. Tommy should just be glad you weren't reading "Lady Chatterly's Lover". That blanket thing! Hah! Next time take your yoga mat and make them all look lame!

  28. What are you going to read next year? We should think up something good...

    I like Dr. Seuss -- the real ones, not the pseudo-Seusses by all the other folks. They keep a kid on her toes. Can't get too comfy in the world, thinking things make sense.

  29. I think I would of told the kid about beheading. Why not? If he's old enough to be in school I think he's old enough to know about that. It's not like you pulled your jacket over your head and started chasing him around. Now that would be something to be mortified about.

    I'll have to remember that if my kids ever have a reading night to bring a blanket and not a towel. :)

  30. Fear not. Tommy will love to talk about this event at Thanksgiving gatherings in 20 years or so.

  31. Love that you were reading that book. I hope it was The Other Boleyn Girl. That's my fave. I like some Dr Seuss books. Some of them I think he was on crack when he wrote them.

  32. I bet that little boy has done things that would have made you queasy!

  33. I thought little boys loved all that gory stuff. I figured you'd have a collection of boys sitting at your feet asking you to read them the part where her head gets chopped off while their mothers were glaring at you. :)

  34. haha yes! that looks like a fun event though!

  35. Oh but its more than that! Its about queens, kings, and knights.... what kid doesnt love that? And its about history, so how can a parent complain?
    Some moms are all too protective and Disney-ish, and if you really look at Disney it is usually worse. There is dark magic and monsters and people who die unless they are kissed back to life. Most start with the dealth of at least one if not two parents. How is that not terrifying?
    I have a feeling your kids will be far smarter due to Miss Anne Boleyn. Say that mouthful to the snobby moms with glares!

  36. I loved every word of this post : )
    That book is SO good isn't it? LOVED it!

  37. Ah, that kid was just a wuss. Most boys would have been impressed with the ole, "OFF WITH THE HEAD" story!

    Just think of all these times as good memories you are creating for your kids. Either that or horror stories that they will tell their therapist in years to come! LOL!

  38. I don't understand those Dr. Suess books either. I think some of the pics are creepy.
    Thanks for stopping by! Great Blog! Following you now.

  39. BTW I forgot to mention. I totally absolutely 100% agree about the whole Jersey shore thing. WTF!

  40. Ahhh, ice cream is always good medicine! Mama said there would be days like this....Heeeheehehe!

    Have a terrific weekend filled with sweet blessings!!!

  41. My six-year-old son wants to be an archeologist when he grows up. He is fascinated with ancient civilisations and his favourite is Ancient Egypt because of--you guessed it--mummies.

    He loves the vivid descriptions of how they preserve the bodies and how they solve the dilemma of getting the internal organs out to put in the jars. He read this in a non-fiction book intended for kids a tad bit older than he is.

    Anyway, his turn came to bring in his favourite book to school to give a talk about it. It was a real chore trying to convince him not to bring his mummy book. I got him to bring a cutesy story about Flapjack and Waddle--two penguins visiting each other in the South Pole--he was not amused and thoroughly disappointed.

    I think he understood that although I encouraged his thirst for knowledge, it wasn't appropriate for me to expose the other children to the gory details of mummification.


  42. Just of these days your son will grow up and embarrass his kids. And when he looks back on his childhood, he won't remember the towel or the beheading....he'll remember that you were there...and that's what counts.

  43. Oh. Ehm. Gee. You brought a TOWEL?!? (shuddering over here at the horrors that must have caused poor Tommy...)

    Do you call him Tommy Boy? I would have to. At least every day. And then I'd be acting out the part where Chris Farley is wearing the coat and rips it and they are watching the girl in the pool... Not really appropriate for little kids, though. It's probably a good thing that Justin cried when we considered the name "Thomas" for our second son. He couldn't fathom us naming his brother after his favorite train. So. There you go. No Thomas or James. Both names that I love which were wiped away because of freaking Thomas the Tank Engine.

    Ramble on, much, Me?

  44. People with no heads are as cool as vampires...right;)

  45. Oooooh, what book are you reading about Anne? Henry VIII and his many wives are some of my favorite reads! Share the title, woman.

  46. I dont think headless people are any creepier than vampires and werewolves.....

    At least you are creating job security for future therapists.. or at least thats what I tell myself! =)

  47. not good with children? You're the perfect sub- I'll need you tomorrow.


  48. Yes, it's clear that he is the best water boy. No doubt about it :)

    Isn't it funny how a little thing like a towel instead of a blanket can be the end of the world? As long as it was a big towel, I don't see the problem!

    Lamb’s Most Recent Post: The Chalkboard Door is for Holiday Decorating!

  49. Ice cream makes everything better!

  50. Are you reading "The Other Boleyn Girl"??? I lluuurrrvveee that book!

  51. Over from SITS

    Ah, to be able to have time to sit on a towel and read a "big girl" book. Sigh.

    And Dr. Seuss wasn't drunk. He was clearing tripping! ;)

  52. If it makes you feel better, I'm not that good with kids when they're being bratty. One kid kept sticking his tongue out at me once until I finally said, "You know, if you keep doing that, it's going to make your tongue grow too big for your mouth, then you're going to choke to death on it in your sleep."

    The mom wasn't too happy with me, but hey, the kid stopped.

  53. Alice in Wonderland had a lot of "off with their heads" in it too...

    ...and in the new movie, I think those are heads she walks on when she crosses over a creek...

  54. Oh man, a reading night at school? I'm so jealous! Although, I'd probably manage to bring something not-so-childish, too. And then I'd tell my kids to be quiet and read their own books, because dang, Mommy-Wants-Some-Reading-Time!!


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