She came in through the (bedroom) window

I write picture books. I've yet to have one published. Thanks to a particularly challenging last week or so as it relates to such things, picture books have been on my mind lately. A lot. And not just as they relate to kids.

As a mom, I had a favorite picture book I regularly read, regularly cried to, regularly gave as a baby shower gift to moms-to-be.

As a grandma, I learned the error of my ways—at least as far as giving that favorite picture book to new mothers.

The book of which I speak is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. It's not a literary classic by any means, but it resonated with me. For those of you who don't know the story—is there really a mom who doesn't?—it's about a mom and her beloved baby boy whom she loves tirelessly throughout the years. Her son begins as an infant, and, as baby boys are wont to do, grows into a man. Through each phase of his life, his Mommy rocks him and tells him...

I'll love you forever,

I'll like you for always,

As long as I'm living

my baby you'll be.

In the story, Mommy grows older, too. And bolder. At one point, once her beloved boy is a man with home of his own, Mommy drives across town in the middle of the night, leans a ladder up to her son's bedroom window, and climbs the darn thing. She goes through the window into the bedroom, where she cuddles and rocks her sound-asleep man-sized boy.

Ladder-climbing Mommy continues to get older...and older and older, and eventually it's the adult boy's turn to rock his Mommy, singing basically the same song.

So sweet. To me, at least.

So creepy, though, to Megan. Megan, my daughter. Megan, mother to my grandsons. Megan, recipient of what I thought was a love-it-forever baby shower gift—a hardback copy of Love You Forever. Not long ago I learned Megan didn't find the gift sweet, that she actually hated it. Always has, she eventually admitted. Mostly because a mom climbing through the bedroom window to express her love to her grown child hits the high point on the creep-o-meter. At least for Megan.

Creepy never crossed my mind when reading and crying over Love You Forever. It just seemed a sweet tale of never-ending loyalty and love between mommy and son.

Now it seems it's yet another way I show my age.

Like so many other things related to parenting, reading and loving Love You Forever is apparently outdated, not how the current generation of parents does things. Nor how they want things. Like picture books. No, kids nowadays—meaning adult kids nowadays, parents themselves—eschew the sweet, the sentimental, opting instead, it seems, for all things practical, pragmatic.

A friend of mine who is a bit younger than I and clearly not of the sweet and sentimental sort (at least not before having kids; motherhood, though, has softened her significantly) received from me for her baby shower a couple books from the Baby Be of Use series: Baby, Mix Me a Drink and Baby Do My Banking. They were given in jest, obviously not to be taken seriously.

That was several years ago. One of the current top books for giving new parents—parents who understandably likely already or will soon want to scream the title to their kid—is Go the F**K to Sleep. Fortunately I don't currently know any moms-to-be, because though I like to give picture books as baby shower gifts, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around giving the particular popular picture book. I've considered buying a copy for myself, for the novelty of it and the chuckles it will surely elicit. (I'm not that much of an old fogey.) But when it comes to baby showers, Go the F**K to Sleep is surely not this grandma's cuppa tea. (Okay, maybe I am that much of an old fogey.)

Maybe like everything else, though, the picture book pendulum will swing back to the sweet, the sentimental. Just like what happens with parenting rules—such as recommendations for placing a sleeping baby on his back...or stomach...or side...or whatever is the current wisdom—what was once old will eventually be new again.

In the meantime, while I wait for that pendulum to swing back my way, I'll just go read Love You Forever another time or two.

And cry.

And consider the logistics of lugging a ladder to the desert for my next visit to Megan. (Mostly just to creep her out.)

Today's question:

What picture book has creeped out you, your children, or your grandchildren?