Sunday, April 18, 2010

Call me Ishmael

I always find it entertaining to hear about the strange ideas my parents fill the kids’ heads with when they take them for the weekend. It’s always something. When David and I are there, my parents keep the crazy in check, but when we leave, all bets are off. I should send the kids to their grandparents with a nanny cam teddy bear. But I hear an earful anyway, from Primo, who reports everything back to me.

One weekend, I discovered the subject of one of their little heart-to-hearts when Primo asked me afterwards, “What is the name of that thing which can hurt you and make you sick and you shouldn’t try it?”

“Ummmm, could be a lot of things honey, I don’t know.”

“You know, the thing you can smoke and it might feel good at first, but it will make you sick.”

“Did Nana, by any chance, tell you about this thing?” I asked.


“Drugs,” I said, “It was drugs.”

There was the time that Primo told my mother he was going to marry Seconda when he grew up and my mother, aghast, informed him he could never, ever do that because “you share blood.”

You get the idea. It’s always something entirely true, and a talk which is in order, just one I wasn’t planning on having quite yet and executed in the scariest way possible.

But this time, my father gave them a rather wonderful idea in the form of a story.

“Did you know about the dolphin that ate the Captain’s leg and then he tried to catch it with his boat and everyone yelled “THAR SHE BLOWS!!!!” asked Primo on the way home from my parents’/

“Was it a whale who ate his leg?” I asked, “The great white whale?”


“Babbo told you the story of Moby Dick?” I asked.

“MOBY DICK!!MOBY DICK!” shouted Sec.

Turns out the kids adore the story of Moby Dick, which has always been one of my dad’s favorites, Primo is obsessed with Queequeg, and harpooning and Sec just likes how the whale ate the pirate’s leg. She’s even elaborated a bit on the original tale to create a character she would like to portray in pretend:

“I’m Captain Ahab’s SISTER!”

Now we are the proud owners of two really cool kiddie lit versions of Moby Dick, in case you’re in the market:

First you’ve got this comic-book style paperback picture book.

And then the piece de resistance: Moby Dick Pop-up Book

This one was written by Sam Ita, the apprentice to Robert Sabuda, Pop-up Master, and it is also in comic book style with some very cool pop-ups and pull-the-tabs, including a periscope you can look through! And its only $6.20 at Barnes and Noble right now. So don’t say I never gave you anything.