There’s nothing sweeter or more rewarding than reading to kids. Or so I thought, until this happened:
My one year old brings a book over, saying “Hi Da-Da!” and wants to sit on my lap.
His book of choice: “Snuggle Puppy,” and I read it with spirit and enthusiasm. He loves it. When it’s over, he holds the book up and says, “More!”
Obviously I’m a hit. Sure.
Oh wait, what’s that?
You want to read Snuggle Puppy a third time?
Why sure! But this time I change up the voices, add some snaps to jazz it up and give him a huge raspberry to the neck for a spectacular grand finale to this Snuggle Puppy Trilogy … an encore Bruce Springsteen would envy.
Huh. I must be really good at this because now it’s all Snuggle Puppy, all the time.
A fourth reading has been strongly requested and of course I fulfill it. Obviously my award-winning raspberry-ending was like having one Pringle chip; who can blame him for wanting more? I’m a showman and the show must go on! Besides, this has to be the last reading anyway, right?
I know he’s only one, but what sane human wants to read the same thing over and over?
Okay, we’re on to a fifth reading and things got a little hairy. When I politely suggest another book, the little guy is strongly against it. “Losing his shit” might be more accurate.
Snuggle Puppy has my kid wrapped around his finger. I’m wondering if my earlier show-stopping renditions threw logs on a fire. Alright, one more time and then I’ll switch to a new book. I’m the boss here.
Things don’t go according to plan. After putting away Snuggle Puppy and sternly saying “No” to another reading, I’m quickly reminded who’s really the boss.
He unleashes a squeal that only me, dogs and bats can hear. I’ll gladly read Snuggle Puppy again if it means that noise goes away.
Reading #7 and my mind starts to wander. Crazy thoughts seep in. “Would killing an actual puppy in front of him get him to change books and not cause too much psychological damage?” Ha-Ha, obviously that’s just fatigue setting in, puppy genocide is never the answer. We’ll just file that under “last resort” … for now …
I’ve lost count. I may have read Snuggle Puppy 3-4 more times but I’m not sure. I’m on hazy autopilot and reciting the book by heart. I’m not even sure if my words match the page I’m on. Instead of a raspberry, I end the last reading by just spitting on his neck. I try again to switch books and he goes nuclear.
Is Snuggle Puppy a cult?
At reading #12ish, I’m thankful there’s no sharp objects around; stabbing myself in the neck with a pencil seems to be the only way out of this Snuggle-Puppy rabbit hole I’m spiraling down.
This might be reading #15, or maybe it’s #25. I’m not sure. After the last one, think I yelled, “LOOK MOTHER FUCKER, THERE’S 50 MORE BOOKS ON THAT SHELF, GO PICK ANOTHER SO I CAN BURN SNUGGLE PUPPY!” but that was a just a fever dream. I’m starting to hallucinate and I can’t stop drooling.
For the love of God, Snuggle Puppy, please release me.
The world we knew no longer exists. It’s a barren, Mad Max wasteland and all that’s left is me, the boy and Snuggle Puppy. Snuggle Puppy is the ruthless king of this new existence and there’s no escape. All hail Snuggle Puppy.
I’m cold. My body is numb and I’ve lost the sense of smell. I’m pretty sure I’ve peed my pants.
I submit. Snuggle Puppy, you evil master, I am yours. Please just end the cycle.
I feel something cold and wet on my cheek and snap out of it. I look down to see the boy giving me a big sloppy kiss. He looks up, smiles and says “Hi Da-Da!”
A second wind comes on and I dive into another reading.
My soul now belongs to Snuggle Puppy and his teachings. I’m going clear.
Jason Zufall is a SAHD. His spends his days keeping his son alive while attempting to develop him … so actually, he’s working harder than ever for a boss that shits his pants whenever he damn well pleases.