Are you a hovering, indulgent, boundary-free moms or dad? Perhaps you know one? Here’s the essential bedtime reading list for helicopter parents. Think of these kids’ books as flight manuals. – Lynn Harris
A mother’s dreams for her daughter, nicely written and illustrated; of no interest whatsoever to children. “Someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun. And when that day comes, you will remember me.” Right? RIGHT?!
Hey, we all love the Knuff (not to mention MoWill). But a dead-of-night swap by two wiped-out parents when Trixie and her friend realize they have each other’s Bunny? Boundaries, people. “Trixie’s daddy tried to explain what ‘2.30 a.m.’ means.” Yeah? Try harder. (Seriously. Did the pigeon get to drive the bus?)
Poor Little Nutbrown Hare is just trying to tell Big Nutbrown Hare how much he loves him. But creepy competitive dad, the kind who would deliberately beat his kid at Candyland, keeps one-upping LNH by describing his own love as bigger still – even after the little guy, defenseless, is asleep (and no doubt dreaming of his own worthlessness). Let it go, Big Nutbrown Hare, let it go.
Another rabbit at risk: poor bunny is just trying to test some boundaries, create some healthy distance. And no wonder: each time he comes up with a creative escape plan (“I will be a crocus in a hidden garden”) mommy bunny foils it by vowing to follow (“If you become a crocus in a hidden garden, I will be a gardener. And I will find you.”) [Emphasis added by cowering parent.] Finally – soul killed, will destroyed – the little fella gives up and stays home.
“Go ahead, Taking Boy, just show up anytime – and only when – you need something, preferably with an axe. No, really. I’ll just sit here in the dirt alone.” (Also a good guide for abusive boyfriends.)
Legions of devotees insist this book still moves them to tears. All others are moved to hide under their beds. First – and least, but still unappealing – there’s the inexplicably toilet-centric cover, on a book that has nothing to do with the potty. Then: the mother sings the cloying little ditty of the title to her baby – and later, as he grows, to her troublemaking toddler . . . while he sleeps.
Fine. But he becomes a tween, and a teen – and she still opens his bedroom door, crawls across the floor, picks him up, rocks him, and sings the same goddamn thing. So he grows up and moves (good) across town (not far enough). “On dark nights,” turns out, his mother drives over with a ladder on the roof of her car, climbs into his window, crawls across the floor, and . . . yeah. Spoiler: she gets old; the roles are reversed, you get the picture. (We wish we could get the picture – grown man rocking dying mother in lap – out of our heads.) The only thing missing: the smothering mother ghost crawls across the floor . . .