Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The joy of reading the classics aloud: She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

It's time once again for Fatherhood Friday. Fatherhood Friday is hip place at for dads and moms to share stories, ideas, photos and movies with one topic in mind – fatherhood.

How I love reading out loud to Bea. Mama and I both revel in the joy and awe that beams from Bea’s tiny face. Her arms flap, her eyes and mouth open wide, she screeches with joy – it’s such a pleasure to hear our little Hindi velociraptor sing along to the bouncing red ball bounding off our words.

Reading aloud is one of the best ways for your child to learn language in their first few years. But, have you actually stopped to pay attention to the words you’re reading? Way back when Bea was still in the womb last summer I wrote:

You ever notice that reading some children's books as an adult can be an unsettling experience. Take The Story of Babar. I just bought it yesterday to read to Mama A and Baby B. One of my favorite books visually as a child.

Two deaths, a kept elephant, and Babar marries his cousin.


Oh, and it gets better. We have a fun little book called The Lucy Cousins Book of Nursery Rhymes. These are classics, and although there is historical context around the content, we grew up sing-songing these as happy as clams (what the heck does that mean anyway?).

For example, if you read Oranges and Lemons:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

It ends with:

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

That’ll make for some sweet dreams. Then there’s the heavily litigated prose from Jack and Jill:

When Jill came in, How she did grin To see Jack’s paper plaster; Her mother, vexed, Did whip her next, For laughing at Jack’s disaster.

Why hasn’t anyone called CPS? You know the neighbors heard the whole damn thing.

Oh, and what about if I don’t say my prayers? What’s gonna happen to me?

Goosey, goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?

Upstairs and downstairs

And in my lady’s chamber.

There I met an old man

Who would not say his prayers,

I took him by the left leg

And threw him down the stairs.

Nothing like putting the fear of God into children (and adults).

And lastly, there’s classic story of the old woman who lived in a shoe:

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do;

She gave them some broth without any bread;

She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Nadya Suleman and Radar Online.

Enough said. What are your favorites?


  1. I love reading to our son. I think it's also a great way to exercise his attention span.

  2. Those oldies are pretty harsh sometimes. I can't believe she gave them broth without any bread.

  3. LOL! I never knew some of those nursery rhymes...interesting that they involve a lot of physical violence. :) Here are a few that I thought of -

    1. A nursery rhyme:
    Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie
    Kissed the girls and made them cry.
    When the boys came out to play,
    Georgie Porgie ran away.

    1. The "Good Dog, Carl" books - the mother leaves the kid to be watched by the family dog.

    2. "Love You Forever" - another very popular book, but super creepy when you think about it (mother sneaks into her adult sons house just to rock him when he's sleeping?!)

    Happy FF!

  4. Didn't have any real favorites, until now. THANKS...gears grinding here lol


    or I'll throw you down the stairs.

    That's a great message for a child. Lol.

  6. My favorite (which i cannot bear to sing/read to my children) is Rock-a-bye-Baby.

    "And down will come cradle - baby and all"


  7. We are into Dr. Seuss, and that makes dad have to pay attention! No cruising along with words when the Dr. is in the house!

  8. You should switch to something more soothing, like the Brothers Grimm.

  9. We're still reading his CHeerios counting book 20 times a day...he goes around saying 8 9, 8 other numbers, just 8 9...

  10. Reading rules, Birthday Monsters is a great book for toddlers. I love it. I agree with Otter--the oldies are harsh--seek out newer stories.

  11. Thanks, everyone. We do have many newer titles we enjoy, and you can never go wrong with Dr. Suess. It's just funny to read some of the oldies through a contemporary adult filter.

  12. how about the songs???

    'there once was a lady who swallowed a fly.
    perhaps she'll die.
    there once was a lady who swallowed a spider, that wriggled and wriggled and tickled inside her.
    perhaps she'll die . . . '
    she goes on to swallow a bird, a cat, a dog, a cow and then a horse. after which, she does indeed die.

    while in the car, hubunit happened to hear this song, and several others that happily sing about death in a few different forms, and he was appalled.

    the very next day, while at work at the firehouse, his first call was for a woman who had a spider bite to the throat.

    true story and he was freaked the hell out.

    the woman was fine. cause she hadn't swallowed a horse yet.

  13. i liked reading to my girls when they were little and they enjoyed it, too. i don't read to them much anymore unless they ask me to cos they do their independent reading now. i'm sorry to say i can't even remember what books my ex and i would read to them. i have never read any of those books mentioned.