One of the small pleasures of being a parent is for a brief moment in time; you are the absolute master and commander of small beings. Your will is absolute, your whims are law and the fate of their little lives rest in the palms of your hands.
It’s a heady feeling, knowing you are responsible for the safe keeping and upbringing of tiny humans. Knowing every decision you make on their behalf will ultimately help shape and hold them into the
twisted adults they will become.
I’ve tried to always take my responsibility as a mother with the utmost sincerity and respect such a position of authority demands. I insist my children eat green foods, limit their sugar intake, exercise regularly and study hard.
Sure I’ve strayed off the path of parental responsibility once or twice, (my kids knew every lyric to Elton John’s ‘The Bitch is Back‘ by the time they were six and could recite entire episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by the time they were 10) but for the most part, I’ve walked the straight and narrow when it comes to ensuring my children are raised with integrity, dignity and morality since as long as they’ve been alive.
This rigidness in my role as child rearer has served me well. My children are responsible, polite, law-abiding little citizens who will eat the food placed in front of them with nary a gag, know not to pee in the sand at a play ground and mostly always pick up their dirty socks.
They are well on their way to becoming productive members of adult society. My dreams of keeping them out of the clink and off the dole may actually come true at this rate.
But there has always been one area of parental responsibility where I fall short. I can send my kids to bed at a reasonable hour, I can police their video game intake and monitor the television like a maximum-security prison guard but when it comes to books, I fail miserably at being a mature adult.
When it comes to books, my censorship fails me more often than not. I can’t help myself. I’m a book lover and a wee bit bent. The weirder the book, the more I’m bound to love it.
So I’ve compiled a list of odd little books I have at one point or another, read to my children, much to my husband’s horror and dismay. He’d much rather I stick to Seuss or Silverstein, but I figure I’m allowed a little parental leeway since I’ve instilled a love of broccoli in our children.
It all started when I read Ronald Dahl’s classic, The Twits to my kids. It’s disgusting, nasty and funny. And perfectly appropriate for school aged children, no matter what my mother says.
I found the jackpot when I discovered Bruce Eric Kaplan’s Monsters Eat Whiny Children. I think the title says it all. I only wish this book had been written 10 years ago when I was surrounded by my children at their prime whiny stage.
My corruption was cemented with Andy Rash’s Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story. My kid love zombies. I like love stories. It was a total win.
Keeping in the zombie theme, because with two teenagers, it’s big at my house, we have Aaron Ximm’s Pat the Zombie, a disturbing little parody of the original, Pat the Bunny, which I often read to my kids when they were younger and I was way less twisted.
Then there’s Matt Mogk’s little ditty, That’s Not Your Mom Anymore: A Zombie Tale, which I bought to give to my nephew for his birthday but my kids and my husband loved it so much it’s found a permanent place on our book shelf. Which is probably good since my sister is not nearly as bent as I am.
Another personal, and slightly inappropriate favourite of mine is Avery Monsen’s All My Friends Are Dead. What can I say? The older I get the more truth in it there is.
For the days my kids mope around the house, moaning about hating this or that, well I’ve got a book for that too, thanks to Matthew DiBenedetti’s I Hate Everything. A few pages of this can cure the ‘I hate’ anythings.
And lastly, no book of twisted, inappropriate books to read to your children would be complete without Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep. If only this book existed a decade ago. Not that I would ever tell my children to just go the eff to sleep. Never. Not within their earshot anyways.
I do like to keep my inappropriate parenting limited to the books I read to my kids.
Sometimes, you really can judge a parent by the cover of their books.