Friday, Aug. 18, 2006 | “Daddy, tell me a story. No, make up a story.”

That’s how it begins.

Okay sweetie. What kind of story do you want?

“Tell me a story about Humbadee Dumbda.”

That’s the imaginary character I made up one day when she wanted me to tell a story about Cinderella going to the ball. I didn’t feel like regurgitating a fairy tale so I made up a story about a guy with really small feet who had a crush on Cinderella but had no chance with her thanks to her love of the prince.

In that story, Humbadee Dumbda ends up trying on the glass slipper and it fits, so a very unhappy prince ends up marrying Humbadee Dumbda instead. That is, until he changes his mind and allows the prince to marry Cinderella, provided he gets to date one of the sisters.

For some reason, Alex enjoys the character and he’s appeared in all sorts of tales, most of them made up on the spot.

Sometimes, he looks like a giant watermelon. Other times, he’s simply a little boy like Alex who hangs around our house.

“Daddy, tell me a story about Humbadee Dumbda getting bit by a crocodile and Alex puts on the band-aid.”

“You want that one? Okay. One day, Humbadee Dumbda and Alex went surfing at the beach and were having a good time on the waves. When all of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out and bit Humbadee Dumda. He was very sad because no one likes to get bit, especially not by a crocodile.”

“So…” I always add this so that she can add her own bit to the tale – and because it gives me time to stall.

“So, the crocodile bit his leg and he was very sad.”

“Yes, and then Alex and daddy ran out into the water and hit the crocodile in the jaw so he would let Humbdadee Dumbda go. Then the crocodile apologized by saying, ‘I was just hungry.’”

So I ask Alex, “What did Humbadee Dumbda say to the crocodile?”

“It’s okay. Would you like to have lunch with us?”

And I jump in – “And the crocodile said…”


“So Alex, Humbdadee Dumbda, the crocodile and daddy all sat down to enjoy a nice lunch of….”


“Yes, they ate a lunch of peppers but Humbdadee Dumbda was still sad because, after all, he had a giant bite mark in his leg from the crocodile. So Alex…”

“Put a band-aid on his leg, gave him a kiss and he was all better!”

“The end. Time to go to sleep.”

“That’s not the end!”

What happened next, then?

“Alex and Humbdadee Dumbda took the crocodile home.”

“Oh yes, and they put him in the pool while they went for ice cream but when they came back, there was a woman who was shocked that to see a big crocodile with sharp teeth smiling at her. The end!”

“That’s not the end!”

“Well, what happened next?”

“Alex said, `It’s okay. He’s my friend.’”

“And the lady said, `Well, any friend of yours is a friend of mine. Even a crocodile,’ and they also splashed each other all day long. The end!”

“That’s not the end!”

“Well, what happened next?”

“They all went out for ice cream.”

“Wow, that sounds great. What kind of ice cream did you get?”

“Strawberry. With sprinkles and gummi bears.”

“What flavor did Humbdadee Dumbda get?”


“What about the alligator?”

“He got a Push-Up.”

“And they all ate their ice cream together and then had a big slumber party. The END!”

“No. That’s not the end!”

“Yes it is. It’s time for you to go to bed. Give me a kiss.”

“Mommy’s going to come in and tuck me in.”

“Yes, she is.”

Then we do another bedtime ritual: I shake her hand and say, “It’s nice to meet you.”



“I love you.”

“I love you too. Have good dreams.”

“I will. I’m going to see your mom and dad on the sunny star.”

David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who, like all parents, thinks his kids are the greatest in the world. He can be reached at Or, send a letter to the editor.

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