Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Mess Monster

I returned last night from a 6-day business trip to West Palm Beach, Florida. Having stayed at The Breakers for the duration, one would think I would be well rested and rejuvenated. Not so. I suffered family pangs while I was gone, and was generally unable to relax knowing that my wife was at home trying to manage the lives of three little handfuls (two of them not so little anymore) single-handed.
As Dads have done for untold generations, I took great pleasure in trying to find a few trinkets to bring home for everyone in the family. For Baby C, I found a pop-up hand puppet of a raccoon in a lidded trash can. Great fun for the little guy. T got a little treasure chest with three Pirate puzzle games. Arrrr. J - our little bibliophile - got a book. Keeping in mind that October is just around the corner, I got him "13 Monsters Who Should Be Avoided" by Kevin Shortsleeve.

J was enthralled as I read him the book this morning. He had laughed his way through the rhyme about the Three Toed Albanian Snoring Sock Bats, who nest in our sock drawers and are generally responsible for all the missing socks of the world. He gasped as I read to him about the stinky Sissyfoos that dines on wet sneakers and unlucky toads. He stared wide-eyed at the illustration of the Doohickeemajiggers - spidery little robotic creatures that are so complicated that they are born with instruction manuals. Unfortunately, they can't read, so "They mix up their parts till the mess is so muddled, they end up cross-eyed, confused and befuddled."

But the best moment came when I read to him about the Mess Monsters:
Mess Monsters, in general, should not be let in,
Because once inside, Mess Monsters begin
To tip every lamp and spill every mug,
Tilt all the paintings and rumple each rug,

Topple the trash can down the front stairs,
Replace every light bulb with sticky peeled pears,
Load the dishwasher with sport-fishing gear,
Drape soggy spaghetti from the brass chandelier,

Paint pudding-pie murals depicting a pig,
Stick bubble-gum wads in your aunt's silver wig,
Cut paper dolls out of your dinosaur poster,
And pour maple syrup right in the toaster.

Then the Mess Monster will suddenly shrug,
Say, "Sorry 'bout that," and give you a hug.
But before the Mess Monster can help you to clean,
He leaps on his scooter and flees from the scene!
After reading this, I turned the page (to the one about Snurps that eat parked cars), but J stopped me and turned the page back. He looked from the words to me. Back to the picture, then back to me. "Daddy," he said, "is Baby C a Mess Monster too?"
(Anyone who has seen C in the last 4-6 months would answer a resounding "YES!")

And to think I left my wife alone with a Mess Monster for 6 days!


Niksmom said...

Your wife must be very brave, indeed! ;-)

What a great sounding book, too. Glad it was a hit!

isles said...

I like it! Maybe I'll look for this for my mess monsters.

Navi said...

Funny, as I read it, I was thinking, "Tristan's a mess monster!"