As parents, we always hope to pass down some of our interests to our children. For me, that’s a love of books.I was always the kid staying up late with the flashlight at night because just HAD to find out what happened in her new Baby-Sitters Club book. I watched Reading Rainbow religiously, and went straight to the bookstore after it was over to find the recommended tomes.
This love has stayed with me throughout the years, translating into becoming a writer myself and a still-avid reader. Books aren’t just a hobby, they’re an obsession.
I dream of my son begging me to take him to the library when he gets older and maybe catching him with his own secret flashlight long after bedtime. So, I was more than thrilled when I got a ton of books for him at one of my baby showers. Many of them were books that I loved when I was a kid—Goodnight Moon, Pat the Bunny, etc.
I also got one of my old favorites: Tikki Tikki Tembo. Earlier tonight, I paged through it for the first time in twentysome years and was both fascinated and horrified at the same time. I remember absolutely LOVING the book as a kid. And while it’s still entertaining and elaborately illustrated, the story is Just Plain Weird.
Basically, it’s about this kid, named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruche-pip peri pembo (Seriously. That’s his name.) who is, like, worshipped by his parents. He has a brother who no one cares about, so they named him Chang. Anyway, Tikki falls down a well one day and his brother runs around and tries to tell his mother and this old guy with a ladder, but no one believes him. In fact, they tell him he’s bothering them. Anyway, finally, he convinces the ladder guy to get his brother out of the well. But, it takes so long that Tikki is all waterlogged.
The moral of the story is that people stopped naming their kids with such long names.
No, “Oh, gee. Maybe you shouldn’t favor one kid over the other.” Or, “Don’t play near wells.” (Although Baby Jessica gave us that one.) Also, “Believe a kid who tells you his brother is in trouble.”
I’m seriously now tempted to pull out all of my old books and discover what screwed-up morals were secretly implanted into my brain.
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