We have this ritual at our house where Kim takes the first crack at getting the kids to bed. Success at this stage of the night is recognized when each child has pajamas on. That’s when she clocks out for the evening and I’m supposed to use whatever means necessary to get the kids into their beds and down for the night.
Kim thinks I should take a calm approach which includes using inside voices, a few hugs and lots of love mixed in with a story or two that doesn’t include monsters or robbers hiding under beds or in closets.
But after 12 years of marriage, Kim should know better. My idea of getting the kids down is to wind them up to the point where there’s not a single ounce of energy remaining in their small bodies, and they collapse from exhaustion. Or just the opposite of Kim’s approach.
Tonight I decided to tell Lincoln a scary story. For the story to be extra scary I lay next to him so he can see the expression on my face. I whisper certain parts of the story into his ear that always includes a big hairy spider coming out from under the bed or through the closet to wreak havoc on a normal 6-year old boy who happens to have three sisters and a dog and whose name begins with an “L”.
But any similarities to Lincoln is pure coincidence. He loves that part. He grins knowing he’s in on the secret. Tonight’s story took off in a direction that wasn’t making much sense even by my standards.
And then Lincoln had a question that put everything in perspective.
“If I saw a spider, even a big one, why couldn’t I put my shoes on and just STEP ON IT?”
I started to laugh. Lincoln was laughing so hard I wasn’t sure he was breathing. We both recognized the absurdity of my story simultaneously and could not stop laughing. The more I laughed the louder Lincoln laughed as he rolled around the bed.
And then he laughed so hard he fell off the bed and onto the floor.
Of course, this made us laugh even more.
But sure enough. Once I helped Lincoln back into bed, kissed him on the cheek and pulled the covers up high (exactly how he likes them), he was fast asleep in minutes.
When Lincoln is older and doesn’t find much humor in my stories I’m going to remind him of the time he laughed so hard he fell out off the bed.