Friday, October 27, 2006

Sunday Scribblings -- Bedtime Stories

Nature or Nuture?
In this house the nut does not fall far from the tree.

When I was a little girl, my parents started the bedtime routine at 6:30. Why? You ask. Me, is the answer. As it turns out I would save everything and anything I absolutely needed to convey to my parents for bedtime.

"Mom, I gotta tell you this now. Did you know Nancy is getting a new kitten?"
"No, go to bed."
"And Laurie and Dean have two kittens. Can I have a kitten?"
"No, go to bed."

"I have a spelling test tomorrow. Will you quiz me?"
"Why didn't you mention this before going out to play this afternoon?"
"I forgot." These type of queries generally bought me 15 - 20 minutes.

"Dad, can you help me draw a Native American for my project?"
"Tomorrow, go to bed."
"I have Girl Scouts. Can we do it now?" A half an hour later, I had learned how to draw a Native American, actually any American, sitting down. I can still do it. So, my attempts at extending the evening were not a total waste. Maybe as a mom I can branch out and try to draw Europeans or Asians.

Sometimes I would sit at the top of the stairs, or behind the couch, and listen to my parents talking. Not that they said much. But I liked to be close.

Now skip forward to my own tribe. My smidglings (the latest term of endearment) have the art of extending the bedtime down to a science. Long before and even longer after the lights are to go out, there is the parade. And I didn't teach them this skill. (So that's one for Nature.)

"Mom, will you braid my hair tomorrow?"
"Yes, go to bed."
"Noah pushed me in line yesterday."
"Did you tell the teacher?"
"Because I pushed him first."
"Go to bed."

"Mom, she's touching the ladder to my bed."
"Is she climbing up to your bed?"
"No, her foot is rubbing against it."
"How do you know this, if you are lying down reading?"
"Well, I was watching her."
"Go to bed."

"Dad, we're ready for a story." A good bedtime extension in my opinion.

And as I did, sometimes the little ones sit on the stairs, listening to our conversations. They think they are being sneaky, sitting ever so quiet. What they don't know is they sound like a herd of elephants getting to the stairs. And they all have different foot falls. Long before they reach the stairs, I'll look at my husband and say, "It's the littlest one." or "Bet you it's the middle one."

Over time, I mastered the sneak approach. Maybe one day, I'll teach it to them. (That would give Nurture one, and tie the score.)

Goodnight, Moon.


Mimey said...

I know a little someone who uses these tactics.

TMTW said...

Ah, the "just one more thing" approach to staying up late! I remember those days.

Rachel Grynberg said...

Very sweetly told. I especially like that you can tell their footfalls apart.

My cats like to get into a project or play just before they collapse for bed or when I am about to do so. Of course, they don't have an official bedtime, though they do tend to fall asleep about an hour or so after I do -- I'll fall asleep while they are still playing and wake up in the middle of the night to find them at my feet, out cold.

Chelle Y. said...

I am saying those very words to my son now, "Go to bed!" :)

DJPare said...

Sounds to me like you have a pretty nice life!

Lisa Sullivan said...

I'm sure that approach has been used and perfected by millions of little children as the years have passed on.

What a FANTASTIC trip down memory lane....

Michelle said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've been perusing yours today and enjoying it. I like your poetry Thursday entry as well as this Sunday Scribblings post. It's fun reading everyone's interpretations on the same theme.

Anonymous said...

Loved reading your post! Very cute!!

My husband & I often catch my little one on the steps hoping to be near us just for a few more moments. I'm glad to know he enjoys our company. ;)

Anonymous said...

Loved your use of dialogue in this story. Very sweet!

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised to find that non-Niblets appreciate your writing!

I gave up on this Sunday Scribbling theme. My only thought was to write a bedtime story for squirrels ;)