C needed a calming, familiar book at bed-time tonight, to deal with the traumatic event which happened just after bath-time. We were discussing pets, and what pets we might get when we move house. I'm still pretty much gunning for the dog option, although after the recent weather, I am not convinced that my romantic notions would fit the reality. Anyway, C said "I want a hamster or a guinea pig." Sometimes facts pop into my mind and then suddenly they are out of my mouth before I can think "No! STOP!" The other day one of the girls in my form was telling me about her friend who had had seven hamsters in the space of three years. They had all died horrible deaths, including the one (named, charmingly, Missy) who ate her own babies. So after C angelically declaring his fledgling hopes for his first pet of his very own, probably the thing I shouldn't have said "Sometimes, hamsters eat their own babies." How can I describe the noise which followed? It was a slow tremor, followed by a waaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! which built up to a deafening crescendo, accompanied by spurting tears. A also cried, but is older and therefore more wise to the cruel ways of Mother Nature. C was desolate "but then they'll never see their babies again! If they're naughty, they can just tell them off, not eat them!" He cried for ages. I cuddled him on my lap like a baby. Then MrM came home, told a joke about eating C's bottom for dinner, and he was laughing again. Perhaps sometimes, a mother's love can be a little smothering.
Anyway, I found Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins for him to read at bedtime. He's always loved this story, and it's one of my favourites too. The Rosie in question is a hen who sets off around the farmyard for a stroll. A fox is trying to eat her (see what I did here? Funny story about animals eating each other! FUNNY! LIGHTHEARTED!) The fox is foiled at every turn, accompanied by hilarious pictures. There are few words, the joy is in the illustrations which are quirky and beautifully drawn. The colours are very 1970s, I have always quite fancied a Rosie's Walk themed room in my house. C went to sleep happy, rescued by Daddy and the power of literature from a Mummy who will make more of an effort to engage her brain the next time she feels the need to share a nugget of wisdom with her progeny.