Saturday, November 2, 2013

Goodnight Moonigans

It's nice to have really important parenting preferences in common with your partner, such as which book to read at bedtime. Of course, once the beebs are older, we won't really have a say in the matter, so it's imperative that we get in as much reading of the (age-appropriate) books of our choosing now while they're still amenable to us making important decisions for them--such as which book to read at bedtime.

Lucky for The Barbarian and me, that choice was a no-brainer: Goodnight Moon. I mean, right? Are we wrong here? That book could in no way ever be improved upon because it is perfection itself. The cadence, the rhyming, the mood set by the illustrations, the simplicity. If I could move into a book, it would be that one. I'd even eat the mush. 

So, you would think us reading a bedtime story to our kids would be fairly straightforward and rote, but being that it's us, it's rarely that simple. 

To begin with, we needed to figure out who read what, because this was not something either of us wanted to be left out of (yep, I totally just ended a sentence that way--deal with it). And it took some trial and error because of the varying layouts of the pages. Sometimes there's a line on each facing page, sometimes there are two. Sometimes there are two lines on one page and none on the other. And sometimes there's only one line on one page and that's it. It was hard to find a rhythm. And would we always read it the same way each time so that we always had the same lines? Or would we change things up every once in a while? I mean, clearly this nightly experience will have an enormous impact on the development of our children, so we had to get it right. 

Eventually we settled on a nice pattern, and you'd think that might be the end of the story. But it's not. Why? Well, because apparently I'm not very good at patterns. Or taking turns. Or remembering whose turn it is. Or focusing my attention for the length of a simple board book I know by heart. 

Why? Because babies, that's why. They're clearly distracting. That's sort of their whole schtick. Obviously it's bedtime when we read our bedtime story, so they're sleepy, and when they're sleepy, they often want to nurse. But then they get distracted by the story (see? I'm not the only who gets distracted in this house) and want to crawl into The Barbarian's lap (we sit next to each other on the couch, but he always holds the book--if I try to hold it, things really fall apart). They switch places a lot or sometimes wander off or are seriously just so damn adorable, I forget what we're doing and just stare at them. It happens. It's not my fault. Biology or something. 

Anyway, The Barbarian NEVER seems to be affected by any of this, so I'm always the one looking like an asshole because he'll read his line and wait for me to read mine, but I'll have forgotten we were even reading a story in the first place and wonder why he's staring at me. Or I'll get pissy because he stole my line and he'll point out that I stole his the previous page. Or I'll have the last two lines before turning the page, but I'll only read one and then wonder what the holdup is. Seriously, I'm the worst. Who has that much trouble with a board book?

The best nights are when ridiculous things happen that then become part of the ritual of reading the book, though. For us, of course. The beebs have zero clue yet how awesome and amazing their parents really are--but boy will they be proud when they figure it out. 

For example, early on, when the beebs were still far too young to be into it, we were sitting on our bed reading the book and the beebs were crawling around, paying little attention. At one point, King Toad Agooga crawled into my lap, and, because his timing is impeccable, while I was reading quite possibly my favourite line about the "quiet old lady whispering...", he stuck his entire hand in my mouth just as I opened it to say, "hush." What came out, then, was more of a guttural, "hoacgh." I'll never forget The Barbarian's face as he looked over to enquire what the hell I was on about. I, of course, was already laughing my ass off and it's quite possible we had an extremely difficult time finishing the story that night because, well, because laughing. But it's totally become a thing, and every few nights, one or the other--or both at the same time if our brains are tuned correctly--say "hoacgh" instead of "hush." And always with added emphasis, leaning in and side-glancing at each other while trying not to laugh. The beebs don't seem to know the difference in pronunciation yet, so we don't get called out for it. And who can blame them? It's subtle. 

My new favourite, though, happened just recently. It's probably my favourite because this time, it really was The Barbarian being ridiculous for a change. We were reading along in our usual manner when I realized I didn't know whose line it was. Like literally, I couldn't remember if he had just read a line or if I had. Two seconds previous. Who does that? So I sort of glanced over at The Barbarian with a confused look on my face, and apparently, that signaled to him that, since it was indeed my turn, I simply couldn't remember my line. You know, the one printed on the page a foot or two in front of my face. So what does the ever helpful man do? He begins pantomiming the line--"goodnight comb"--by mouthing it and pretending he's running a comb through his dreads (because that's even possible). The absolute best part was the wide-eyed, nodding, encouraging face he donned to do this, like I was a frightened child onstage who really had forgotten my line, he attempting to jog my memory from the wings. 

I totally lost it. Who IS that guy? And of course now I start giggling several pages ahead of that line in anticipation of remembering how absurdly he handled the situation.

But then, who am I to judge? I can't even be bothered to remember if I've just spoken out loud or not.

And that, my friends, is a special kind of crazy.

The end.

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