That was OK. We've seen a lot of nature shows, and the boys are pretty matter-of-fact when it comes to the animal kingdom. I think they've absorbed a little of their grandparents' attitude; living in a more rural environment, they're not so squeamish about things.
What the doctor DIDN'T warn me about was the photo of a two-headed snake. Nels assumed that it was a picture of a snake molting, and it only LOOKED like it had two heads. Upon any sort of close inspection (which I'd been avoiding), though, it was obvious that the snake had two fully formed and functioning heads.
"I want you to read THIS page!" he said at bedtime. I skimmed the text. The story was as creepy as the picture. Nels will sometimes lay awake for hours at night, thinking about all sorts of awful, imaginary things, and I wasn't sure if an actual two-headed snake was the kind of fuel he needed.
Feeling a little reckless, I went ahead and read it, telling him that the snake had been taken into captivity after one head had attacked the other head. I watched Nels's face to see what kind of expression that revelation would evoke. He threw back his head and he laughed. He laughed until his face turned bright red. He laughed like a cartoon; doubled over, holding his stomach.
This was going well.
"Then THAT head got mad and attacked the first head back!"
Another howl of laughter, and he was rolling around on his bed. I should have figured. There's no reason this kid's deep love of slapstick shouldn't extend to reptiles.
I decided to quit while we were ahead. Some day he'll find out that the snake eventually launched a successfully fatal attack on itself. When he learns how to read.