The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Once upon a time

I've been taking short cuts during Julia's nightly requests for me to tell her a bedtime story lately. Instead of weaving elaborate tales, I've simply been telling the same generic story over and over. "Once upon a time, there was a (insert animal of the night here) and her name was(instert random name -- usually one of Julia's choosing)." She was a happy animal who loved to go to school, do art projects, sing songs, play with her baby dolls, do puzzles and eat yummy snacks. But her favorite part of the day was always coming home to her Mommy and Daddy, because they loved her very, very much."

Boring, I know. But by the time we get to this point, she's already been through a full bedtime routine, complete with a story read to her by Daddy. I've already nursed Evan and gotten him down and am usually ready to gnaw off a limb, I'm so hungry. I really just want to get my goodninght kiss and get out of that room as fast as I can so that I can get on with the business of making dinner. I sort of figure if I throw together a feel good story and still get out of there in under 30 seconds, it's all good. Truthfully, I'm paying little attention at that point -- I'm a Mommy going off duty after a long day and my eye is on the time clock.

That's why I found it doubly sweet to get drawn back in the other night by Julia's response. "Mom," she said reproachfully, "these stories are really all about me, aren't they?" Surprised that she'd gotten that, I admitted they were. "Then why do you pretend that I'm a horse or a duck?" she asked. "Why don't you just say that once upon a time there was a girl named Julia and you loved me very much?" I was pleased that she'd developed the ability to read between the lines and find deeper meaning in stories. But even more than that, I was pleased that she's secure enough in her world and our love for her to presume that a story about a happy, loved child must be secretly about her. Despite my parenting short cuts, I guess I'm still doing an OK job.


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