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September 08, 2005

Least Loved Bedtime Stories

Or; How to Traumatize Your Child One Night at a Time

(With apologies to Andrea, because I've secretly coveted that title for a while)

Every night, I lie down with The Boy for a few minutes at bedtime, in order to make up "two looooong stories" to tell him. Most of these stories involve The Boy and a cast of characters including, but not limited to Spiderman, Batman, Darth Vader, Yoda, Jabba the Hutt, the Scooby Gang, the Three Stooges, a trio of non-venomous snakes, and Mean Old Bob the Uber-Bully. But sometimes, as I lie there on the brand new Spiderman comforter and stare into the darkness, inspiration is simply not forthcoming. So I'll fall back on "traditional" fairy tales. Except that sometimes I get irritated with the fairy tales, and I editorialize a bit. And so The Boy ends up listening to something like this:

Boy: Make up another loooooong loooooong story.

Me: Okay. Once upon a time there were three bears...

Boy: Not THAT one!

Me: It's a little different than what you're used to. Anyway, it was a mom, a dad, and a baby bear. And one morning, they decided to have oatmeal for breakfast, except it was so hot they had to go for a walk while it cooled.

Boy: And then some little girl came, right?

Me: Yes. Her name was Goldilocks, and she thought it was okay to just walk into some strange house and start eating all the food and sleeping in the beds.

Boy: We don't do that. We have to be invited.

Me: Exactly. But Goldilocks was stuck-up because everyone told her all the time how pretty and fabulous she was, so she thought that she could do whatever she wanted. So the bears came home and noticed that someone had eaten their oatmeal and was sleeping in their beds.

Boy: Were they mad?

Me: Of course they were mad. They're bears, and bears don't like it when you go in their territory and houses and take stuff.
So when they found Goldilocks, they called the police and had her arrested for trespassing, and she got thrown in the jail.

Boy: I don't like that story.

Me: Okay, so how about if the bears came home and just ate her all up?

Boy: They ate Goldilocks?

Me: Well, she ate their food, so it only seems fair, right? Plus, they were bears.

Boy: That's better. We don't go and eat other people's food.

Me: Unless we're invited.

Boy: Right. Or bears will eat you.

Me: Something like that. It doesn't pay to be rude, anyway.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at September 8, 2005 08:50 AM

It's been years since I told my boys stories, but I remember telling stories like this.

Your presentation made me laugh. Thanks.

Posted by: Suzi at September 8, 2005 10:56 AM

Be sure to tell him about bears and prophets of the LORD, too -- 2nd Kings 2:23-24. Maybe you should tell that one next time you pull Sunday School duty!!

Posted by: Michael Tinkler at September 8, 2005 12:58 PM

Hee. When I've read my son (about 6 months older than The Boy, I think) stories involving various forms of antisocial behavior, he always responds, "We don't DO that." Which is good, of course, but it's the same response whether we're talking about littering or homicidal decapitation.

(At which point, I'm always thinking, "Speak for yourself ... ")

Posted by: Lex at September 9, 2005 09:31 AM

I made up cautionary tales for my daughter about a chick named Harold who thought he was too grown up to listen to his mommy. Ghastly, gory things happened to Harold as a result. She LOVED those stories. Even today when something happens to somebody due to their heedlessness we refer to that person as "Harold the chick".

Posted by: Laura at September 9, 2005 01:05 PM

When we used to go camping with our kids, a good friend that went along would make up "fairy tales" like you did.

Only the names he gave them were a little "different".

I still LOL about the one he called "Rumpelforeskin". (Somehow the kids managed to grow up to be normal anyway.)

Posted by: snopercod at September 11, 2005 07:47 AM

Also, tell the Boy to be nice to bald people. Otherwise, well ... (click on "Watch This Movie!" ... AFTER The Boy is asleep).

Posted by: Lex at September 15, 2005 04:17 PM

I totally loved this. I currently can't have children so I kinda am a GodMother to 2 beautiful boys. (was 3 but one mom never went to church to get it official and she died, so her mom now has the children and i get screwed)

Anyways, I love these stories and even if I dont remember who or when I got the idea to tell them theses stories, just keep in mind that you made an impact on someone out here. Someday I will have one of my own. I have 1 year to have one (i planned on having one when i was 26 or no later then 30 and this year i turned 26)

Thank you, even tho I had thought of what I could tell them to turn fairy tales into true tales but make them sound good and not push them to do evil like fighting and such. BUT I dont want my kids to not stick up for what they belive in either. Life is tuff and being a bully is even tuffer.

Anyways, sorry for the rant.

Posted by: MysticalAngel at October 29, 2005 02:53 PM