Bedtime Stories (What We Can Learn From The Tortoise)
|   Dec 08, 2016
Bedtime Stories (What We Can Learn From The Tortoise)

All wannabe parents have that beautiful image in their mind when it comes to bedtime stories. A cozy setting; Mom, Dad and kid(s) neatly tucked under a blanket; stories told and listened to with rapt attention. When the stories get over, the children yawn on cue, lights go off and everyone moves to their private dreamland.

Briiiing, briiiing, time for a reality check. First of all, the real challenge is to achieve the afore mentioned cozy picture. It’s really tough to get children to lie down on a bed. When they do get on the bed, its only to start bouncing and then you remember that you have to remove the bedcover. Simultaneously, you are also trying to get them to the bathroom so that they don’t wet the bed at night. Finally, the kids are in bed when you realise your ‘better half’ is still outside, texting at the last minute or cleaning up. “Don’t worry, we’ll find Daddy / Mumma” and the kids are off again

One more round of cajoling and threats and everyone is on the bed. Just when the book reading is about to start, now one child is not comfortable being next to Daddy and wants to go to Mumma. The other one follows suit. Now both can’t see the pictures so Daddy has to scoot over. Daddy does so, holding on to the book with great restraint instead of flinging it across the room.

The story starts. But a ten-page story can easily take ten minutes. Why you ask? Because you taught your children that it is not enough to accept the world as it is, one needs to question everything. So out comes the three-letter word which can prolong any story to the last. Why? Why did the hare sleep? Why is the tortoise so slow? What is on the back of the tortoise? Why is there a ribbon at the end of the race?

Breathe slowly, keep calm and answer all the questions. Be like the tortoise. As in, don’t cover your head with a pillow and expect things to be peaceful. There will definitely a tantrum. Be patient and steady. Tell yourself the end is in sight.

A few more tips

  • buy or borrow age appropriate books. We all want our children to excel but a book with more words and less pics doesn’t make much sense for children who can’t read.
  • Well-meaning relatives will give you books which are collections of stories like Mickey Mouse or Lightning McQueen. Hide them immediately or prepare to spend two hours reading and answering questions that would even flummox Walt Disney like - why can everyone speak but not Pluto?
  • Set a routine. Mine is to tell two stories with the light on and one with light off.
  • Be prepared for negotiations. When my boys are not sleepy I often have to tell two stories with the light off
  • Be like the tortoise till they sleep then you can run like the hare and grab your laptop/phone/book and enjoy some me time before it gets too late

Good night and happy times!

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