Bedtime Stories


I recommend if possible that when you move your kid from a crib or a toddler bed to a real bed, you get a full-size bed instead of a twin, if circumstances allow. Here’s why.

Ben and I take turns reading bedtime stories to Soren. Soren gets tucked in on his side of his bed and we take our place above the blankets on the other side, across the wall of stuffed animals. There are two pillows on each side so you can prop your head up comfortably. Usually a cat and two dogs join us. Tonight it’s just the two dogs, one min pin at my side and the other in that space your legs make when one is straight and the other is bent, which I refer to as the “leg triangle.” Sadie is a big fan of the leg triangle.

Tonight we read Duck on a Bike and The Kissing Hand. Soren is learning to read and earlier, while he was brushing his hair by himself for possibly the first time ever, announced that one of our books was T-h-e space K-i-s-s-i-n-g space H-a-n-d The Kissing Hand. This is good because one day soon he will read me books when I go to sleep.

Ben almost always has Soren pick out the books but when it’s my turn, I usually pick out the books. I’m always afraid Soren will pick out, like he did that one time, the Denver Street Guide or whatever it’s called, a huge book of maps that ended with me flipping pages and saying “Gah, more suburbs!” and Soren saying “I hate the suburbs!” Plus it’s balance. Sometimes you pick the book and sometimes the book picks you.

Before bed, Soren got mad putting on his socks. He can usually do this but often gets frustrated. Tonight one ended up sideways. I decided to have fun with it, which is always a good way to diffuse frustration. Sideways sock floated through the room, laughing and tickling him and eventually landing on his foot. You have to scrunch up the sock to get it on your foot in the correct position when you’re 5, but sometimes this is hard. Sideways sock has nothing to do with bedtime stories, other than to set the mood.

We read Duck on a Bike first, and he read the title. “That doesn’t make any sense!” I said. “No, it’s Duck on a Bike,” he said. “Dude, no way. Duck in the Air. Duck on a Pond. Duck on the Land. Those would make sense. Duck on a Bike doesn’t make sense!” “It’s Duck on a Bike.” “What?”

Then he said “Knock knock!” I tell you nothing strikes fear into the heart of an adult like a 5-year-old saying “knock knock.” Spoiler alert: They’re never funny! Soren is funny sometimes, really funny, but it’s almost never when he’s trying to be funny.

“Knock knock,” he said. “Who’s there?” I brace myself. “Duck.” “Duck who?” “Duck on a bike.”

I’m not gonna lie. That made me laugh so hard I cried. Granted, it’s not that hard to make me laugh so hard I cry, and usually it happens when something isn’t even all that funny, but I cried because that was funny. It was Soren’s first funny knock knock joke. He had to get out of bed to find daddy to tell him his joke. Daddy responded, “That’s poor.” Which is almost as funny as the joke itself. He’s a much harsher judge of comedy than I am.

Soren got back in bed and said “Knock knock.” I was wiping tears from my eyes. “Dude,” I said. “Don’t. You made a really funny joke that made me laugh. Just ride it out. Don’t try to make another joke now. It’ll ruin the vibe.” I take my job of helping Soren develop a sense of humor very seriously. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll save it for tomorrow.” “Good.”

So we read Duck on a Bike and then The Kissing Hand, and we kissed each other’s palms at the appropriate times while reading The Kissing Hand and, being the big hippies we are, felt the “mommy loves me” “Soren loves me” vibes flowing through ourselves. When we were done reading, Soren said, “Let’s hold hands.” So we did.

After reading, Ben usually falls asleep. I bring my Kindle or whatever book I’m reading or just hang out and chill. Soren refers to the staying in bed of mommy or daddy after reading as “snuggling.” “Are you going to snuggle?” He likes that. I imagine I would’ve like that as a kid, too.

I stay until after I know he’s asleep, until after he moves so we’re not holding hands any more and I know he’s deep enough asleep that I can extricate my arm without waking him up. He likes this. I like this.