Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The goat birthday and other bedtime tales

The first time India asked for the goat story, I misheard her. I thought she said "boat story," and said I didn't have a boat story.

"The goat story! When you had birthday cake and candles and a purple bathing suit and a goat!"

Naturally, the most important elements of my Goat Birthday.

Which was actually just a plain old birthday until my little Dutch friend Petra brought me a baby goat as a present. 

Nick started this Story In the Dark business, and he is great at spinning yarns, and the kids love it. But he rarely puts them to bed, and so it's kind of a big treat for them. It's not that I don't like telling stories, but some nights I just want to read a couple books and be done.

For a while Jordan was requesting Lego Jordan stories, in which Lego Jordan and Lego India and another friend or two would walk through a door in the back of Jordan's closet, down a long rainbow Lego hallway, and into the kingdom of the Lego Giant. Where they would immediately proceed to eat Lego ice cream, Lego donuts, and Lego pizza.

I will tell you that it gets as tiresome repeating Lego before every word out loud as it does typing or reading it. "So then Jordan..." "No, Mama! Lego Jordan!"


Anyway, this stopped with a change in our bedtime ritual. For a while I'd give them a bath and get them in jammies, and then I'd leave India in her room screaming bloody murder while I told Jordan a story and then kissed him goodnight and then went to put down my rage queen.

Putting her to sleep is a lot more involved and drawn out than with my boy. My son can be hard to get to the jammies point, but once he is calm and listening to a story, he's headed to sleep. You put him in bed and kiss him goodnight and that's it.

India, on the other hand.

So there was this period of time where if you didn't let her scream for a bit before putting her to bed, you'd spend like 54 hours trying to do so. But if I left her to shriek her displeasure for a bit, she'd be ready to settle in.

Now we read books in her room and sometimes she walks into Jordan's room with me, and sometimes she yells in her room, but it is brief.

And then we focus on her.

She needs water. I'm prepared. Here. I'm handing it to you. She needs socks. No, not those socks. She wants to do it. Hmm, which socks should she choose? She finally picks the damn socks. Oh! She forgot Softly Giraffe downstairs!

(I bought a backup giraffe, exactly the same, but she wasn't fooled. For a while backup giraffe was the less preferred giraffe, and it was still a crisis if we couldn't find Softly Giraffe. So we have Softly Giraffe and Spicy Giraffe.)

ANYway, we get all of this bullshit out of the way and then she wants a story in the dark.

Which is how the goat story got back into circulation. Because I am old and I am tired.

Now I regularly tell my children my birthday stories.

There is always cake, and it is purple, because that was my favorite color for years. These things go over well. There is usually swimming, because that is true and also a popular detail. I also have to list the snacks we had at the pool.

If it's India, there is my purple bathing suit, a detail she loves as she has one as well. But I don't mention that it was a velveteen bikini and basically my favorite item of clothing for years, because then India will have to have one and our lives will be tragic if it doesn't happen.

Sometimes there is the goat, and sometimes it is the Wizard of Oz birthday, when my dad got a reel-to-reel movie projector and the movie from the Marines. And then, when the Wicked Witch's green face was large on the screen, BOOM! Thunder and lightening! The power went out, because it was monsoon season. And everyone screamed!

"You were scared, Mama?"

(Hell, yeah!)

"Only a little. Because my mama and daddy ran around and lit candles and then we at MORE CAKE AND LOLLYPOPS by candlelight!"

"Ohhhh!" Nods of approval.

When I say I can't think of a story, sometimes Jordan says, "Well...did you maybe have any other birthdays ever? Like with cake and candles?"

Yeah, yeah, I probably did.

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