Since I’m home at night now, my wife doesn’t have to do bedtime for both boys anymore. Lately, we’ve been alternating who does what. Last night it was my turn to put down Mini-Me. My strategy for that is simple. I’ll read him a few stories, then lay with him on the futon in his room until he falls asleep, or gets too fidgety for me to deal with anymore and I put him down. He’s a light sleeper at first, so when I put him down, I usually lay for a while on the futon myself and either doze or watch something on Netflix on my phone while I’m waiting for him to be completely out.
I had just settled down on the futon after dumping Mini-Me in his bed when my wife comes in.
“Apparently, I’m not good enough to read to the other one tonight.” She laughed. “He wants ‘funny words’, like daddy.” Apparently, The Narrator rather politely informed my wife that he’d like to wait for me to be done with his brother so I could read to him again last night.
You see, The Narrator is in very bad need of some new books. We’ve gone though his existing collection over and over, and he’s grown a little bored of them. So, the other night, I told him we’d jazz up one of his Thomas the Tank Engine stories.
Basically, as I read along, I’d edit the story slightly. I’d inject narrative or change words in the tale, just enough that he’d get a charge out of it. Since Thomas the Tank Engine seems to spend a lot of time messing things up in the stories, he gives me a lot to work with, and we usually got something like this:
“Slow down Thomas, you’re going to get us all killed!”
“For some stupid reason, Diesel tried to move the logs by himself and screwed up big time.”
Sometimes it was as simple as changing names. Instead of Bash, Dash, and Ferdinand, I called the Logging Locos from Misty Island Rescue ‘Smash, Crash, and Balderdash.’
He’d laugh like an absolute loon and correct me each time. Story time was perhaps not as much a wind-down as it should have been, but it wasn’t the drudgery of the same old books again and again.
I realized a long time ago that I’d never be winning any parenting awards, so I’ll admit, that SOME of my editorializing wasn’t exactly appropriate.
“See Thomas?” Sir Toppham Hatt said, “Isn’t it fun to go slow sometimes?”
“Percy! What the hell is wrong with you?”
He’d laugh the hardest at those, mostly because he is old enough to recognize the absurdity of it.
Mother doesn’t seem to mind my somewhat unorthodox approach to story time either- especially when she’s off the hook for bedtime. And since she got stuck doing it for five months while I worked nights, I sure don’t mind having a bit of fun before sleep time.