Five Little Monkeys saddened my baby

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the BedMy 22-month old was saddened tonight by Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed nearly as much as I was by 12 Monkeys starring Bruce Willis.

Maggie had a few books spread out on the floor and was doing this thing where she sits and turns the pages and I think she tells the book what it’s saying, I’m not entirely sure what the vocalization is. She could also just be mimicking or mocking adults, not sure.

After a little while of this I asked her if she wanted me to read it to her, she looked a bit dubious as what could I possibly offer to beat the epic stories she was constructing with this cardboard epic, but she relented as it was getting close to bedtime and she wanted a little cuddle time.

So we started reading this book, we’ve read it before, there’s never been anything other than her listening and pointing until tonight. The first little monkey fell off the bed, I pointed to him and said “oww” – Maggie’s head turned toward me, she pointed at the monkey on the floor in the book, grabbed her head and said “ow?”

I said “ow! The little monkey bonked his head.” She looked desperate and flipped a couple of pages to see the next on the ill-fated bed jumping monkey adventures and yelled when she saw that head trauma.

I sensed something was up at this point but she’d have none of it and saw the third and was yelling at the book at this point. She didn’t want to read on and kept grabbing her head in sympathy with the monkeys. I told her they were all right and was going to continue but she was very upset.

I turned the pages and mysteriously arrived back at the first pages in which all the monkeys were ok, Maggie calmed down but was still upset so I flipped her upside down and slowly did piledrivers into a pillow. This both distracted her due to the laughing and I think she now thinks the moneys were dropped onto pillows.

I can feel the accusatory stare still “daddy, why are you reading me a story in which monkeys, representing toddlers, get cranial injuries? Does this seem prudent to you?”

And all I can think is “five little monkeys staring accusingly at daddy for reading a rhyming children’s story…”

I’ll probably reread it to her in a day or two and try and emphasise that the joyous exuberance of youth equates to massive pain, or perhaps that disregarding authority leads to breaking your skull…

Maybe when she’s a bit older I’ll show her how it’s simply a case of personal choice as the mother is disregarding medical advice, which leads to her children suffering the consequences. Perhaps I’ll use that to explain the anti-vaccers to her.

It may seem I’m down on this book, I’m not, it was just a very weird situation to see my baby very concerned for a character in a book I was reading her, so upset that I had to lie about the ending in order to calm her down. I’ll take it slow the next time I read it and see if explaining that the monkey is ok helps.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.