Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sweet Dreams, Darling

I've always believed that normalcy is highly overrated (although a little bit every now and then might be refreshing.) Quirks and idiosyncrasies are what interest I don't know if it's nature or nurture, but my two children are certainly quite interesting creatures.

Case in point: the youngest (previously introduced as Little Miss Deep Thinker) is now 8-years-old. Every night at bedtime, she has a request: "Tell me a story from the past."

Now, I've got stories - lots of them - but unfortunately a precious few that are suitable for even a precocious third grader.

She may have sensed I was scraping the bottom of the story barrel when my story-of-the-past du jour was a description of how my elementary school nuns used to throw down wood shavings on vomit.

Whether this tale was a catalyst, I don't know...but lately she has been asking me to tell her about "diseases that don't exist anymore" as I tuck her in.

Yeah, just your typical sleepy-time fare.

So far, I've covered Polio, Bubonic Plague, the Black Death, Yellow Fever, Scarlet Fever, Smallpox and that ole biblical favorite, Leprosy. She seems to lap it all up - rashes and fever and subdermal hemorrhages - oh my! Except she wasn't really thrilled when I told her about the rotting limbs associated with leprosy.

My theory is that hearing about illnesses that do not threaten her little 21st-century suburban self is comforting, because it reinforces that those dreaded needles she gets at the doctor's office are actually a good thing. Plus, my descriptions are generally pretty cursory. And I tend to place a lot of blame on rats.

Not being a medical professional (although my husband would be quick to note I'm pretty obsessed with maladies of any sort) I've pretty much exhausted my knowledge of obsolete diseases. So, feel free to comment if you've got any I've missed. Symptoms and morality rate would be greatly appreciated : )

Anyway, my infectious bedtime tales don't seem to be provoking any new nightmares -- our Little Miss Deep Thinker is sticking with her usual "my teddy bears came to life and are trying to kill me" ones.

Did I mention that I like unconventional people? Even when they wake me up in the middle of the night. (Plus, I've always thought those teddies looked a little shifty.)


At December 28, 2007 3:45 PM, Blogger kristen said...

My little sister used to ask me in the mid-late 90s to tell her about the 80s. She was about that age then. Maybe it's a nostalgic streak?

Some families read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas every year on Xmas Eve. I always act out an absurd story I made up about our other sister becoming a french fry at Wendy's and having to escape the diners who want extra fries. That goes over well with everyone but the sister in question. Did I mention that I have always displayed an overactive imagination?

I like your stories much better - they're far more educational.


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