My specialty.

If you have small children, I fervently hope you are already familiar with Sandra Boynton’s Belly Button Book. It’s a very funny board book about hippopotamuses and their deep love of belly buttons, and it’s been in our bedtime rotation since before W. could walk.

And when I say “our,” I mean that specifically, as I have recently learned  that nobody else gets to read this one to him because nobody does it as well as I do. YES! I RULE!

Naturally, upon learning this, my first instinct was to create a YouTube video of myself reading it so other parents could try to learn to be as awesome as I am. Because I am always selfless. Sadly, I was distracted from this shiny object when my actual son asked me to read him the actual book.

This would be the first time I’d read it with the knowledge that I was the preeminent Belly Button Book reader in the household and possibly – PROBABLY – the world. Naturally, half of me was all, “YES! I’m gonna nail this!” and the other “But what if I choke?”

But as so often happens in parenthood, this turned out not to be a story about me at all. I did perfectly fine, but the show will now be stolen by the little dude.

In this book, there is a baby hippo. The baby’s role is mostly repeating one phrase again and again, so it’s an excellent role to assign to a child. It goes something like this:


Usually Wes is an excellent Bee-Bo deliverer, but today when we got to his first line, instead he sang:

“We are the Village Green Preservation Society…”

While a Sandra Boynton/early Kinks collaboration has long been a dream of many, the time travel involved has put lesser mortals off trying. Not my boy, though. He continued to sing that line every time “Bee Bo” came up.

Then the one different piece of baby-hippo dialogue came around. (“Boon” for balloon, for the record.) I delivered his cue and game him an “OK, smart guy, let’s hear it” look.

“Waterloo sunset’s fi-i-ine…”

Having a child who mostly likes to listen to the Kinks, David Bowie, Richard Thompson, the Old 97′s and the Divine Comedy is not, I have to say, the heaviest burden in the world.

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