I’ve read Goodnight Moon almost every night for the past two years. It’s a wonderful book which my son enjoys. Here are some of my issues with the bedroom depicted in it.
1. The Size of the Bedroom
This bedroom is enormous. There is no one, I think, who has not noticed this. As someone who has lived in apartments only slightly larger than “a little toy house,” it’s mildly vexing that this bedroom is the size of a banquet hall in Downton Abbey.
2. The Little Toy house.
This is not that little of a toy house. Not only could the rabbit easily fit inside the “little toy house,” the little toy house also has working electricity. Why are these rabbits so civilized? Is this some f**ked up Watership Down sequel???
3. This Just-Discovered Transcript of a Conversation Had by the Interior Decorators
“So what color have we decided on for the upstairs child’s bedroom?”
“Which child’s bedroom?”
“The enormous one. The one with the expansive tomato-colored floor.”
“I was thinking for that room maybe a dark green?”
“Really? Dark green? You don’t think maybe dark green walls with a tomato-colored floor is a bit much?”
“No, it’ll look amazing. We can break up the monotony of the color with some dark green and yellow striped curtains.”
“That’s an amazing idea. On non-matching red and yellow spearhead curtain rods? Do you think a tiger skin rug would be overkill?”
“For a young child’s room? No. Not at all. ”
4. This Bookshelf
Why are these books so thick? This is a child’s bedroom, not a law library. Unless this rabbit is defending a doctoral thesis, there’s no need for him to own every non-fiction hardcover from Farrar Straus and Giroux.
5. The Idea That Anyone Would Keep a Comb and a Brush and a Bowl Full of Mush on the Same Table
I’m right now trying to picture a situation in which I would place my unwashed hairbrush next to a bowl of cream of wheat and even the idea of it is turning my stomach.
Oh, you’re eating a bowl of warm cereal? How do you take it? With milk, cinnamon and dozens of soggy, long white hairs?
*Vomits onto neatly stacked fireplace logs*
6. The World’s Smallest Most Useless Clothesline
After living in New York City for almost a decade I’m very big into “intelligent use of space,” and the fact that this much floor space is taken up by a free standing clothesline that’s being used to dry ONE pair of socks and ONE pair of mittens makes me grind my teeth. Mount it on the wall, idiots! The people at IKEA would have a seizure if they looked at this room. Also, isn’t there a laundry room or something? Just put it in there.
“So what color do you think for the child’s bed?”
“I was thinking like a tomato-ish red color?”
“You remember the floor’s a tomato-ish red color.”
“You don’t think that’s a lot of red for a child’s bedroom? We don’t want it to look like the Amityville Horror kill room or anything.”
“You don’t trust me? I’ve been decorating children’s bedrooms for almost twenty years.”
“No, I trust you, I trust you. So you want to do all the furniture in red?”
“Are you out of your f**king mind? Of course not. For the rest of the furniture I was thinking something sophisticated, like a mustard yellow.”
“For everything?? All the furniture?”
“All the furniture.”
“Even the little toy house?”
“Are you seriously asking me this? No. Of course not. The little toy house should be red.”
8. The Dangerously Non-childproofed Fireplace
Look, I’m not a crazy stickler for safety or anything but shouldn’t there at least be a screen between the roaring open flame and the rest of the nursery? Also, can we talk about how the heating situation is going to play out? You’re going to use an old fashioned fireplace to heat a room the size of an elementary school gymnasium when the room has zero radiators and two enormous single-paned windows? Have fun! You’ll be totally fine with that thin green blanket you’ve thrown over the kid’s legs!
9. The Totally Ignored Existential Mouse
Anyone notice this guy? What sort of mouse just hangs out in the middle of the carpet in an enormous open room within spitting distance of two cats? Clearly this illustrator has never had an apartment with mice because real mice creep along the edges of rooms, usually in the dark, along baseboards and under furniture, occasionally chewing through the walls. Given his devil-may-care attitude, this mouse is obviously lucid in a way we cannot understand, or rabid.
10. The idea that a child this young (rabbit or human) would need a black office telephone by his bedside.
Who’s calling, his financial adviser? Why would someone this age need a telephone unless it’s to call the woman across the vast expanse of his bedroom to ask her to stop whispering, “Hush.”
11. This Picture of Bears in a Couples Therapy Session
Husband Bear: We’ve started fighting more since our son was born. I feel like she resents me. I feel like every little thing turns into an argument.”
Wife Bear: “How could I not resent you? We have a newborn and you’re off eating salmon in a PBS documentary while I’m stuck at home 24/7.
Husband Bear: “Don’t start, Janet! That documentary was a once in a lifetime opportunity!”
Therapist Bear: You sound angry.
Husband Bear: Brilliant observation! It took you eight years of graduate school to figure that out?
Therapist Bear: Let’s all take a deep breath. In, two three, out, two three…
(They are all silent for several seconds)
Wife Bear: Also, a tomato red floor seems like a really bold choice for a psychologist’s office, doesn’t it?
Husband Bear: God, you are so CRITICAL OF EVERYTHING.
Wife Bear: Ugh. My mother told me not to marry a grizzly.
*Husband Storms out. Wife sobs quietly. Psychologist quietly questions whether he was wise in going with the blue walls and mustard yellow office furniture.*
12. And in closing…
“Ok, so the mustard-colored bookcase came in. I had them install it in the corner and fill it with large, antique books. ”
“Great, so now all we’re waiting on is the round side table, the rocking chair and the freakishly enormous nightstand.”
“So wait, that’s it on the furniture? It’s a big room, isn’t there going to be a lot of unused space? Or are we filling that with toys?”
“Actually I was thinking for toys let’s keep it real minimal. I’m thinking maybe one elephant, one giraffe and then the uncomfortably pink naked dolls on the bookshelf.”
“You don’t think maybe he could use a few more toys? It’s such a huge room and it feels so empty and formal. You’re sure his parents are going to be ok with it?”
“Will his parents be ok with it? Did I not graduate in the top of my class with a degree in interior design?”
“I know, I just—”
“Have I not been designing rooms for the past twenty years?
“No, I know! I just thought—”
“How about when I want your opinion I ask for it.”
“Arrggghhh. I’m…I’m sorry I spoke up.” (struggles between wanting to storm out in anger and being grateful for this apprenticeship, which he knows is a big deal. )
* * *
If you enjoyed the piece, please share it and/or follow The Ugly Volvo on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you! I also have a book being released in September called Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming that you can pre-order Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Indiebound.
Thanks again for reading. Also, if you’d like to buy the book Goodnight Moon, do that too! Despite my making fun of it, it’s a lovely book that I have read about 4,000 times. It’s around 12 bucks. My book is also around 12 bucks. Go nuts.
And if you read Goodnight Moon to your child all the time, please know that somewhere across the world I’m reading it to my child as well and we’re totally like that scene in An American Tail where they’re simultaneously singing “Somewhere Out There” with Fievel and whatever the girl mouse’s name was.*
*Just looked it up. It was Tanya.