Makes Me Sigh

Curious George Bugs

As I was getting Sean ready for bed the other night, I asked him to pick out some books to read before bedtime.

Usually Antique Daddy is in charge of bedtime, but when I take a turn, I realize what a blessing it is to get to hold my freshly bathed sweet smelling boy. The warmth of his being resting against my chest as I read to him, his long legs dangling awkwardly. I know this season will pass too soon. Neither of us are ready to admit that he has nearly outgrown my lap.

Sean has always loved books more than anything, and it is hard to find a book that we don’t have. His bookcase runneth over. He stood facing his bookcase wearing baseball pajamas, studying the contents looking for something new and interesting to jump out at him in much the same posture I assume when standing in front of the refrigerator with the same hopes.

He spent quite some time pulling out books and then shoving them back in, unable to make a decision. “How about Curious George?” I finally asked, pulling out several volumes of the familiar yellow books.

“Not Curious George,” he said in a combination of disinterest and digust, waving me off without bothering to turn around. What? Is Curious George now so yesterday and no one told me?

“No? What’s wrong with Curious George?” I asked wondering who doesn’t like Curious George.

“I don’t like him. He bug me.”

“He bugs you? Why does Curious George bug you?”

“He not beedient,” he said matter-of-factly and without hesitation.

“He’s disobedient?”



“He not do what he pose to. Bad stuff happens.” I worry about the things that he worries about.

As I left his room after tucking him into bed, I took the Curious George books with me. I sat down and reread them with a fresh set of eyes. And he’s right. Even though things turn out okay in the end, Curious George is disobedient and doesn’t do what he’s supposed to. The man with the yellow hat condones curiosity as an acceptable reason for disobedience. And there are no consequences. Or apologies.

It took a two-year-old to point this out to me and now it bugs me too.

Update: Last night Sean banned any book where “bad stuff happens” or there is a picture of someone who looks unhappy, which leaves out all the Bible stories and all the books we own. On the spot I had to make up a story about an orangutang who goes to live on a farm last night. It’s just a phase right? Right??

32 thoughts on “Curious George Bugs

  1. Oh yeah! Out of the mouths of babes! His conscience and spirit is so clean and uncluttered with the things of the world. It’s wonderful to read about the discernment of children. Try to never do anything that will train him to disregard his conscience. Now it’s time to train him in the ways of the Lord so that he can rightly divide the Word of truth. How wonderful!

  2. Out of the mouthes of babes! Kate has told me that he seems so much older that TWO and now I see what she means!!! He is wise beyond his years, clearly

  3. Wow, he’s brilliant. I can remember thinking, “Just still still George, then you won’t end up doing something naughty” when I was little. I’m seriously in awe that your 2 year old figured this out!

  4. Hm. My son doesn’t like George, either – I think that a lot of kids are completely upset by George’s anarchic badness. My daughter liked him when she was a toddler. I think that because he is both child-sized but free of a child’s moral obligations (because he’s a monkey, right?), he can be a good fantasy stand-in. There are consequences – scary things (to a toddler) happen because of George’s badness, but he’s always home safe again and loved at the end – a nice reassurance, maybe, for some kids who are struggling a bit. To know that regardless of your behaviour that you’re loved and welcomed back was for my daughter a great comfort when she was having, um, “badness” issues.

  5. Perri,

    Since he is the only child of older parents, the vocabulary and other “little-adult” mannerisms that I sometimes see in Sean worry me to some degree. I went to school with kids like that and I don’t necessarily think it’s all that good, especially socially. A kid should be a kid. God help me. Really.

  6. He will have you and Antique Daddy to teach him social survival skills. He’ll be fine. You are great loving parents. I love your stories about Sean. He is so adorable. I wish I could give him a great big hug. I know that you carry the baggage of being older parents, but to some degree kids are who they are inspite of you. I hate to sound like a know it all crone(but I am what I am)but the problem you have with Sean is that he is very bright and mature. He probably never will be like other kids his age. He’s just moved past Curious George. I’ve always felt a little robbed as my children out grew their age. Other kids will help keep Sean a kid.

  7. This will be interesting to watch — when it’s time to send him off to school, you may find that you suddenly aren’t ready to be gone from him all day and you may decide to homeschool.

    WHAT? NO WAY! Is that running through your mind. I know what you mean. My older two went to public school, but as I got older and Jacob came along, I just wasn’t ready to let someone else enjoy that funny kid all day. He already knew everything he was going to learn there – so he stayed with me for “just for Kindergarten” ….and 1st…and 2nd…and 3rd…and now – it’s just a habit. So I homeschool all 4 little kids.

    And we love it.

  8. I feel that way about him too. And Junie B Jones and Captain Underpants and Berenstein Bears and … Now my kids get that from me. We read a book and if there is a “naughty” part in it, we talk about what should have been done (obedience, respect, attitude, etc.) and they usually come up with better ideas than I had.

    I hope it’s not a phase – just a teachable moment! (I praise you and AD for teaching Sean right from wrong and Sean for learning it. Sadly, that is too often ignored nowadays.)

  9. I just have to second (fifteenth?) the idea that Sean’s apparent wisdom and maturity simply is what it is, because of AND in spite of you and AD. It might wax and wane as he develops, but be thankful for his discernment! There are more and more examples of disobedient-kid books out there and, while some of them are just worthless, some do offer good opportunity to talk about obedience and consequences. I wish we could still read Sandra Boynton. Oh, and trust me, they NEVER completely outgrow your lap!

  10. I host a carnival called the Carnival of Family Life. Would it be okay if I included this post in the next edition? It’s hilarious!

  11. I’m new here, but love what I’ve read so far. I was trying to think of “good” books that your son might find acceptable. Here are some ideas: Tumble Bumble, books by Iza Trapani (esp. I’m a Little Teapot and Itsy Bitsy Spider), Bruno the… (Tailor, Baker, etc.), and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant stories by David McKee. That’s all I can think of now without looking through our bookshelves. Sounds like Sean is a smart kid…I agree with him!

  12. I used to tell JellyBean the Cinderella story while I combed her hair. But I got a little freaked out when she would randomly say, with eyes big and sad, “Cinderella had no mommy. Her daddy died.”

    Now I make up stories for her about a little red-haired girl named Arabella. Every story ends with, “And then she went inside and had to sit in time out because she disobeyed her mommy.” JellyBean loves them.

  13. I live with the real boy version of Curious George…one of my sons is extremely curious, and to tell the truth, not especially beedient.
    Yesterday, he suddenly jumped over, oops, I mean on top of the Monopoly game two other children were playing to change a clock which hasn’t worked for a year. He attached something to a string, flung it around and ultimately it swacks someone in the face. Happens frequently despite my best efforts in training thus far. He opened the garage door, ruining the huge accomplishment of getting two of four goat OUT of the garage. He pushed his brother into the pool at swim team practice- not a freeplay time.

    You might have to take my word for it that children are born with a particular bent. His bent is toward careless curiousity. sigh…

    About books. I think every story worth it’s salt has conflict. Most children’s conflicts are ideas contrary to their own- thus the whole disobedience, bad guy themes.

    About Bible stories, I had a huge paradigm shift with my third child. After a third go ’round, I found I could wait until children are older on the whole Noah’s ark/everyone else dies, David being chased down by Saul, Joseph’s brothers trying to kill him, etc. and instead present Jesus as the Good Shepherd and stories from His infancy. It makes a huge difference, and children have much greater understanding of the other hard sovreignty issues of God later if their foundation is in our good God.

  14. It’s just a phase but may point to
    Sean being a worrier and deep thinker. The latter is a good thing, the former can be overwhelming for a young child, really. I would revisit the “George” books without bringing them out. Remind him that they are stories. That someone made them up. That you wouldn’t give him a book (at his age) with anything bad in it or an unhappy ending, and that sometimes the authors show us all kinds of feelings and all kinds of “kids” so that we know what’s right and wrong. I think sweeping it all under the rug might tell him that you don’t like those books either – and even if you don’t – he cannot in my opinion bear the responsibility for choosing books for himself and for you. That is too awesome a task. Tell him you’ll pick out some happy books but even some happy books have sadness in them – because writers like to write that way. I’ve rambled. You are a great mom, I don’t have to tell you any of this although I just did. I have just dealt with a worrisome, bright and intuitive child and know the drill.

  15. I have been thinking about this post a lot. We love George at our house. His curiosity is a good thing in the long run. He is impulsive and makes foolish choices and gets into mischief, but he has a good heart. He learns by doing, and then can apply those experiences to help others who get into a jam. In the firehouse he rescues a puppy. At the animal show he rescues a baby bear. At the train station he rescues a little boy and his toy train. At the end of the books he always goes home happy and his friends are proud of him. I like him a lot. Of course that may be because my sons seem to start out like him, and I hope they make the same kind of progress he does!!

  16. Well cloudscome, I guess I would disagree that CG’s curiosity “is a good thing in the long run” — it just turns out okay. The fact of the matter is, that although he has a good heart as you say, he is still blatantly disobedient (not to mention poor impulse control!) In real life, sometimes disobedience doesn’t turn out okay in the long run. Here at the House of Antique, the only two ways to get into real trouble are disrespect and willful disobedience. We do however approve of curiosity! Having said all that, I like CG. I think he’s cute and the stories provide good teaching opportunities as someone else said.

  17. I woke up at 4:30 this morning thinking about this, so I am glad the conversation is still going!

    I think the thing that is unsettling about George is that he dives head in to the challenge of discovering the world. He asks the questions What will happen if? and Why? and then he goes about finding out. He gets distracted from following the directions, granted. But I don’t think it is willfully disobediece. He is not challenging the authority of the man in the yellow hat, he is just unsupervised ( I notice he gets into trouble when the responsible adults have wandered off to do something else), he is young and immature and foolish, and he is energetically trying to engage the world. He pulls the fire bell cord, he waves the bugle in the ostrich’s face, he makes boats out of newspapers. That is what toddlers do to see what will happen. None of that is disrespectful or willful, IMO. Sitting still and being quiet is not how they learn and grow. What is up with the man with the yellow hat giving him a brand new bike and then leaving him alone all day?

    But then, the really important part of the book, I think, is that he notices when someone littler and more helpless than him is in need and he jumps up off the bench and uses his strength, abilities, talents to help them. He climbs the fire poll and catches the puppy with his fire hat. He leaves the bench where he was told to sit still and be quiet because he sees the baby bear (let out by the ostrich, not him) in trouble up in a tree. He climbs the tree and uses the paper bag to catch the bear cub. He uses what he has and makes the right decisions in a pinch. I think that is a challenge that is scary to most people. Maybe especially two and three year olds. They know they can get into a mess if they get up off the bench, but will they know how to use what they have when the heat is on and the grown ups aren’t paying attention?

    The thing that does disturb me about this story is that the man in the yellow hat found George in the jungle and brought him home to live with him. What is that all about? And how does that sound to my adopted sons?

  18. Good for Sean for being a critical thinker! 🙂

    I hate Curious George for the same reason. Not only is he not “beedient” — but he always gets *rewarded* for his bad behavior!

    And I agree with the previous comment about George being taken from the jungle. And the Man with the Yellow Hat didn’t just “find” George — he tricked him into a trap and brought him, presumably, against his will. I’m pretty sure the book says George was scared.

  19. Cloudscome, you do make a good point about CG not being supervised. Maybe it’s TMWTYH who is the real problem. Not only is he a kidnapper as someone pointed out, he leaves CG alone in situations he cannot handle and then heads off for the crack house, I presume. I’m off to turn in Yellow Hat man and the owners of Carl the babysitting dog.

  20. Maybe CG isn’t really being curious—he is subconsciously trying to get away from the scary yellow-hatted-kidnapper. Okay, probably not but it was a thought.

  21. Well for some reason Buddy Boy is on a CG kick, just in time for this post LOL! So we are reading them every night and I can’t stop my running analysis. I am starting to really get down on that MWTYH. Maybe that is the theme that has my kids so into the books!? Scary grownups that make unwise decisions, arbitrary rules that they don’t enforce, and leave us unsupervised with dangerous toys? Adults, who are clueless, take us away from our real selves, set up a false schema, and then leave us to us wander around in a scary world.

    Fortunately monkeys are good at impulsive, quick-witted, creative problem solving. And fortunately everyone forgives your blunders and disobedience if you can turn it around and save the day at the end of the story.

    You are right, BTW, he is disobedient. The Man TOLD him to stay close to the house, and he rode the bike right into the street. And he gets into the truck with strangers that want to dress him up and put him in an animal show! Uh Oh!

    Maybe CG is working out his primal wound.

  22. None of you have mentioned the fact that there’s no respect! TMWTYH feeds george and buys him everything(ever notice that? Geroge gets EVERYTHING he wants!) and forgives all he does and yet he doesn’t even get a name?! What’s up with that?!
    Also, what’s up with TMITYH always ging out with george and one of his “friends” Mrs. so and so. It’s always a Mrs. and they’re always doing things like going on trips out of town toghether! I would be fine with it (sort of) if it was a Miss. but a Mrs.?! That is just so inappropriate on so many levels!
    And then there’s the fact that George is extremley naughty and always does what he was told not to do.

    Yeah, I do not read it to any kids I sit or nanny.

  23. I’ve been thinking about this for months. We *USED* to watch the show, but i couldn’t handle watching him CLIMB OUT THE WINDOW another day. I saw another episode where he was PEELING THE WALLPAPER OFF THE WALL— Just what my 2 year old daughter needs to see.

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