Tobacco is the stuff nightmares are made of


So last night I was putting the kidos to bed.

“Mommy?” Harrison (8) said, “Will you sleep with me? I don’t feel good.”

I ran through the regular drill–forehead feel, say ahh, when did you last poop–the sick kid basics. His answers sounded good.

“Honey,” I said, “You’re fine. Just lay down and close your eyes–”

“No Mom!” he said, bursting into tears. “I’m frightened!” He threw his arms around me and sobbed. I could feel his whole body quaking so I knew it must be something serious.

Now Harrison is a sensitive little soul. My first thought was that he had somehow caught a glimpse of WWATCF (Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), otherwise known in our family as He Who Shall Not Be Named. Don’t even mention the word Wonkabar around Harrison unless you want to see a nearly grown boy lose his scout badges and bawl like a baby. Something about a bad dream that’s been haunting him since he was four.

“Did you see a bad movie?” I carefully sidestepped around the obvious.

“No,” he said, burrowing his head into me. “I’m having bad thoughts about…the…the tobacco! And cigarettes! Don’t make me go to sleep!!”

“Tobacco? What about it?”

“I keep having nightmares…about smoking!”

I tried not to laugh. See, I’m a chain dream smoker. I can’t even stomach being in the same room with the stuff in real life, but in my dreams I’m a happy little chimney. I’ll smoke anything.

“Oh sweetheart,” I said, “I smoke in my dreams all the time!”

“No! I’m so afraid of the cigarettes Mom, please don’t make me go to bed alone!”

I did the usual relaxation/affection bit and he was breathing easy and snoring in three minutes flat. But it got me thinking, where did this come from?

Today in the car, without previous knowledge of last night’s meltdown, Jason asked Harrison to recite his poem for me from the end of the year poetry festival. Jason had suggested it, taught it to him, and they worked on it without any meddling or censoring from good old Mom. It went something like this:
Tobacco is a dirty weed
And from the devil it doth proceed.
It picks your pockets
And burns your clothes
And makes a chimney out of your nose.

I think Willie Wonka has officially been usurped.


  1. HILARIOUS!! Oh my gosh. That is so funny.

    I remember one of the few times I’ve woken up crying hard and continued to cry hard was when I was a teenager and I dreamed that my awesome older brother took up smoking. I cried for like 5 minutes after I woke up before I realized it was just a dream. Then I cried for joy. 🙂 And I had never even heard (much less memorized) scary poems about the tobacco monster!

  2. I think I might have to use that little ditty in my next group about how cigarettes will kill you and turn you into ugly old hags.

  3. That is funny! I have never thought about it as nightmarish, but hey, whatever keeps them from joining the parking lot crew!

  4. Lindsey says:

    That’s hilarious! I remember that poem from when our Mom taught it to us. We were living in Orem and she would wake us up at some early hour (maybe 6:30) and have a morning “devotional,” where we read scriptures, sang hymns, and memorized poems. That poem and one other are the only ones I remember! It’s funny that Jason remembers it, too. And that Harry is afraid? Probably because he doesn’t want to “go to the devil.” Ha ha!

  5. Jennifer says:

    It was great to meet you at Bree’s last week. I wish I’d had more time to chat with you.
    I had to find your blog to see some stories by another mom of 4 kids.:)
    I wish you luck in your adventure and look forward to reading about it.

  6. I smoke in my dreams, too. And kiss men not my husband. But I always feel bad about the kissing thing. Not so much the smoking thing. Poor little Harrison, terrorized by demonic poetry.

  7. I’m borrowing the poem. Definitely better than our Patient Smoking Cessation Packets!