I’ve brushed the little one’s teeth and helped her into her PJs. We’ve chosen 65 stuffed animals to take to bed and, as per her request, held hands and sang the Barney theme song three times. Now, it’s time for that magical part of the day – bedtime story time!
After an intense negotiation and even a threat to call off the whole event, we’ve decided I’ll read two books. She goes to the shelf to pick them out while I get settled on the bed… and hold my breath.
Not that one, not that one. Pleeeease, not that one. Yeah, that one. Wait, no, not that one. Damn it!
I tell her that one selection is too long for tonight and suggest something else. She says she really wants the long one. I smile, say okay and scoop her up into my arms.
She snuggles up to me and rests her head on my chest. I play with her hair.
On the surface, it’s one of those perfect parenting moments you capture and share on Instagram so that everyone sees how awesome your life is.
My mind wanders as I turn the pages. The G-rated words coming out of my mouth don’t match the unrelated and sometimes R-rated thoughts in my head.
Do you like green eggs and ham? What should we have for dinner this week? Shit, I forgot to get milk. Maybe I’ll make guacamole on Friday. Wow, a couple of simple word substitutions could really make this book X rated. I wonder if the man will want to watch Dexter later. We’re seriously only on page 12?!
I even zone out/fall asleep until the little one pokes me.
When I finally finish the book she asks if we can read it one more time.
I tell her maybe in the morning.
Most of the time, I love reading to my kid. I love stories and she loves hearing them. It’s a special and important part of our day that’s filled with smiles and snuggles.
But sometimes, it’s a little um…maddening.
It’s not her fault; it’s just that I use to love Curious George and Green Eggs and Ham.
But when George and I have already been to the toy store 37 times this week or when it’s 8:30 p.m. and the little one has to over analyse why Sam is wearing a red hat, I kind of feel compelled to see if I can skip a few pages or fake a trip to the bathroom until she falls asleep.
Stories that I use to love are now like nails on a chalk board.
No Sam! He doesn’t want your stupid breakfast! When will you get that through your teeny tiny head?
And why are all her favourite books the ones that make me cringe?
She has three book shelves in the house: one in her room, one in the living room and one in the basement playroom. Sadly, I’ve started putting the books I don’t enjoy on the basement shelf so that they don’t often come after me via a cute little curly-haired moppet.
When she was really young, I could read her 10 little board books in 15 minutes. I could do a dozen rounds of Good Night Moon and feel like a champ. She would sit there quietly and I would feel good about my parenting skills and certain that my kid was well on her way to greatness.
Now the books are longer, she needs to pick them, the reading requires more effort and there’s an endless stream of bizarre three-year-old questions I can’t answer. Sure, the stories are more complex and “exciting”, but that quickly wears off after the tenth reading and suddenly I’m hoping Sam gets smacked across the face with the ham and locked in the box with a rabid fox.
I never could understand why my mom doesn’t seem to have the same fondness for my favourite childhood books as I do.
I toooootally get it now!
I probably wouldn’t like poutine so much if I had it shoved down my throat three times a day for a month.
Yes I would.
When I was a little one I loved a really long and boring book about kids exploring nature called Let’s Go. My mom hated that book because it was long and boring. Plus, I always wanted to read it myself but would get frustrated.
Eventually, the little one will learn to read and I find the idea awesome and exciting. A whole new world will open up to her and I want her to love reading as much as I do.
However, that world is somewhat terrifying because I know that to get there I will have to sit on her bed, stay awake and listen to her sound out every letter of every word on every one of those 62 pages of Green Eggs and Ham.
You want to learn to read? Here’s an app…Good luck. Let me know when you and the good Dr. S have figured it all out.
I also know that at some point the bedtime story cuddles will end and the bedtime routine will be nothing more than a “Good night, I love you,” from me and a goodnight/eye roll from her. I know that I just need to take a deep breath and appreciate these special story times because in the grand scheme of things, quiet moments with my kid and a Seuss obsession certainly aren’t that bad.
So the next morning, before I leave for work, I read Green Eggs and Ham again…and again.
But my mind wanders, again…
It would not, could not be so bad
If you simply ask you dad…