And for Our Next Book – Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants

Beth died last night.  She was supposed to die tonight, but my hard-hearted husband hastened her departure by going to bed early.  Of course, he did not know that he was killing Beth by doing this.  And the alternative would have just prolonged the inevitable.  But still.

I had put off preparing for the death because I thought I would have more time.  But Cap’n Firepants threw the zinger at me at our daughter’s bed time that he was pretty exhausted, and could I please read tonight?  He stepped back from me a bit when I acted like he had just asked me to climb the roof at midnight and clean up squirrel poop.  Generally, I jump at the chance for an extra night to read to our daughter.  But I dreaded the chapter that I knew was next.

Cap’n Firepants reads a different book with Dimples, so he can be forgiven for not knowing that he had just asked me to walk into the Valley of Death.  And, I am sure that he would point out that I was the one who picked the book in the first place.

It’s just that I did not realize that Beth’s death in Little Women would occur while I am still in mourning over the approximately one hundred and thirteen people who perished in Les Miserables.  I am still reeling from that massacre, and the repercussions of its soundtrack, and now I had to add one more body to the pile.

Plus, Dimples and I had just recently had our class picture argument, and I was pretty sure that reading an entire chapter to her about the death of a beloved character was not going to endear me any more to her.  She makes it a point to avoid sappy death scenes in books, and I had kind of tricked her into this one.

Of course, Dimples handled it much better than I did.  She is not a middle-aged mother fighting depression and haunted by visions of Anne Hathaway dreaming a dream as she is dying in a filthy street in Paris.  And, I think that it is entirely possible that she would be happy with all of the characters being killed off as I have probably referred to these paragons of virtue a little too often. (“Do you think Beth would complain if her mother asked her to clean the toilet?  Do you think Beth even had a toilet?”)

Fortunately, she has not compared me to Marmee, yet.  Because we all know how that Battle of the Moms would shake out.

So, at the end of the day I cried more than she did.  And that night, I dreamed my dear daughter was in the hospital dying from the flu.

I try not to censor my daughter’s reading, but I’m beginning to think someone should probably censor mine.

Now that I think about, guess which one of us cried more for the Velveteen Rabbit?

Now that I think about it, guess which one of us cried more for the Velveteen Rabbit?

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Posted on January 13, 2013, in Cap'n Firepants, Children, Death, Depression, Dimples, Family, Humor, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. For some reason the title of your post didn’t show up in my reader so all I saw was “Beth died last night” and I was like “WHAT?!!”

    Les Mis is still getting me. I don’t know. I can’t tell if I’m just getting older and my maternal instincts are developing or what but whenever I see or read about a kid or young person or anyone really dying I get really sad and cry. Maybe this will happen to Dimples some day.

  2. I haven’t been the same since “Old Yeller.”

  3. i’m hard-hearted sumtimes, but i thought the velveteen rabbit should-a been banned. ( i suppose THAT would make it even more popular, tho).

  4. Yes! Old Yeller, as notquite old says was the worst. I, too, have not been the same since. Have yet to see Les Mis. Can’t wait, I think. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You can always cry into my ears if you want?!

  6. Velveteen Rabbit was a tough one. I read it to my class every year and it never got easier. Ditto Stone Fox. OMG.

  7. Why do we women/moms have to always be so emotional? I’m so affected by books and movies and they stay with me for so damn long………it takes a good week or so before I’m back to baseline functioning.

  8. I reread Little Women once a year, but I usually skip the part where Beth dies. It’s too heartbreaking 😦

  9. how about Wind in the Willows…nobody dies in that ( for you , not Dimples)

  10. Miranda Gargasz

    From one sap to another, I feel your pain, Sister. I read Where the Red Fern Grows a few years ago and got to the sad part while Jim’s best friend was visiting. I had to slink off to my bedroom and sob like a baby so as not to embarrass myself. You and I could have a Cry Off if I lived closer.

  11. Beth dies?

    I never finished that book and was holding out to read it to my daughter. Maybe she won’t like it after all. She’ll cry more than I do.

  12. With you being the one that actually has to read it, logically you would cry more. Right? Right?! That’s not how that works? Darn, because I cry all the time when I read too and I thought that made for a logical excuse…
    You and I can read the Velveteen Rabbit and be all weepy together! Sounds like fun, yes? 😉

  13. Hi, I really like your blog. Speaking of reading to children, this is what happened when I read to my 9-year-old.

    http://theyearoflivingenglishly.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/stupid-things-parents-do/

    And, I’ll follow you if you follow me back (it’s not that I don’t trust you, but I read your post and hey, it’s not me, it’s you! All best, keep posting and I’ll keep reading. –Virginia

  14. About the picture…The Velveteen Rabbit was my favorite book growing up. I listened to it on tape (yeah, a cassette tape that children don’t even know exist) every night before I went to bed. I cried every night when he became real. I recently read the book to my nephew (4) and I cried again at age 25. Thanks for reminding me of the richness of children’s books. I am glad Dimples handled Beth’s death in the book well. Kids are kind of resilient like that.

    • I remember listening to those books on cassette tape, too! I love sharing the classics with Dimples. My most fervent hope when I was pregnant with her was that she would enjoy reading as much as I do, and my wish was granted!

  15. I sympathize. I almost cried several times when I read Frankenstein.

  16. I have a cleaned-up version of Little Women where Beth recovers. I swear!

  17. guilty as charged. i cried reading this post. just kidding. but, almost. i cried during the velveteen rabbit and my son had to read the last chapter of charlotte’s web and the death scene in bridge to terabithia because they all got sick of my sobbing.

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