Last night I decided to read a new book to the kids before they went to bed. It was entitled How Does Sleep Come? by Jeanne C. Blackmore. I gathered the kids in the living room and they spread themselves out all around. Some were lying on the couch, others were perched right in front of me, eager to see the pictures, and still others sat quietly in various parts of the room. In the middle sat Jake, naked as a jaybird and smiling from ear to ear. He is normally in the bed already when we read a bedtime story so he was happy to be still up and out of bed. Lately we’ve been having a problem with him going to bed without fighting us. I thought to myself that maybe this would help him settle down like the rest and go to sleep with a little less fight.
We started the story…
“How does sleep come?” Jacob asked his mama as he climbed into the bed (yes, I was truly surprised and amused that the little boy’s name was Jacob!) Jacob’s mama tucked the covers all around Jacob just so, and then she told him.
“Sleep comes quietly. Like a snowfall that blankets a meadow on a dark starry night and lays down a soft white canvas for rabbits to leave footprints.”
Jake, please stop touching your hiney.
Jacob snuggled under his covers.
Jake, please stop playing with your penis.
“Sleep comes silently. Like a fog that rolls into a harbor and shrouds the boats in a misty gray, making a silence broken only by the clang of buoys.”
Seriously Jake, where is your underwear? Stop playing with your penis.
Jacob yawned and stretched. (I looked at my Jacob, he was body slamming Ben. Nope, no yawning and stretching going on here yet!).
“Sleep comes softly. Like a cloud that drifts through a bright summer sky and sweeps a cool shadow across the land.”
Jake, stop hurting Ben! That’s not nice! Go stand in the corner.
Jacob sighed and curled up.
“Sleep comes peacefully. (wahhh!) Like a cat that curls up (wahhh!) cozily in front of a warm fire, and kneads its paws as it purrs.”
Seriously, Jake. Do you want to go to bed? No? Well, stop screaming right now.
Jacob’s eyelids grew heavy. (I prayed that my Jake’s eyes would grow heavy soon!)
“Sleep comes gently. Like a butterfly that lands delicately on your hand and slowly brings its wings to rest.”
Jake, you can get out of the corner. Sit down and sit still please.
Jacob closed his eyes.
Jake! Get off of Bella. That is gross to put your hiney in her face. Stop it!
And the snow fell. And the fog rolled in. And the clouds drifted.
And the cat purred. And the butterfly alit.
Jake, please, please just quit.
And quietly, silently, softly, peacefully, gently,
Jacob fell asleep.
So, how does sleep come? Not fast enough. I was worn out myself by the time we were done. I think we will save bedtime stories for the bigger kids and continue to read Jake his stories one on one, especially at nap time, until he has a little more self-control.