Kids get all suspicious at bedtime. Holey shirt, they have bigger trust issues than the Kennedy family. I was at a friend’s house for bath time/dinner time/bed time (a.k.a pass me another whiskey time) and thought I’d earn sterling points (big guy up there, you’d better be watching) by offering to put her two year old to bed. I just felt it was the nice thing to do. My shorties are nearly middlies, and I thought how I would have loved it if someone had done that for me back in the day (sniff sniff, sad violin music playing). I know the family well. Like really well. I know their shortie well too. Like really well. A few times a week well. You’d think this would count for something. Apparently not.
Dinnertime is out the way and serotonin is on the way up. Sleepy little eyes make me feel super optimistic and I think ha, I am armed with “The Snail and the Whale” - I simply can’t go wrong. Bob Marley’s “every little thing, is gonna be alright” is wafting around in my head. The sweet scent of un-interrupted grown up time is imminent, I just have to get shortie to sleep. Things are going swimmingly. Holding hands I walk said shortie down the passage to his room. We’re smiling, chatting amiably, exchanging conspiratorial nods of the head. Yes, nod nod, sleep sleep. I can so do this. Lie on the bed, another smile, another nod and some suggestions for favourite pages. Ooooh goodie! Was that another eye rub? We pass the part where the snail and the whale hook up, we move beyond their adventures to far off lands and golden sands; we look shocked when the whale gets beached (fake sadness from me of course, I know he gets saved, duh!) At the turn of the last page I give my mandatory THE END (which sometimes actually appears and is sometimes written in invisible ink that only parents can see). OK, so I take it we’re ready to snuggle in for the night?
The little bugger. He starts waving the book in the air and I think perhaps he is asking for a second round. I’ll do it if I must. But noooooh. He is asking for mommy- actually crying, no less - and looking me as if I’m a stranger that’s just broken into his room. No memory what-so-effing-ever of the fantastic book bonding we’d just shared. You’d swear by the look on his face that I’d slipped him rohypnol. Blast it. So close and yet so far.
But here’s the mystery. He has the Alzheimer’s audacity to mistrust me when he’s just bought into an extremely far-fetched story about a highly questionable relationship between a snail and a whale. WTF!! Now that’s a relationship that’s going nowhere for sure! And while we’re at it, lets take a look at the other inconsistencies that shorties trust without question. Pooh bear wears a jacket (not even a jacket, a bloody bolero for pete s sake!) but no pants. Sorry, but given a choice I’ll take undies over a bolero any day. Exposed bum VS exposed boobies? Simply no question about it. Poor Rabbit gets to wear nada. Same goes for Tigger. Maybe it’s because they both bounce (were they originally drawn with bouncy bits?) Piglet gets to wear a very naff romper (hello, pink and stripey = screaming queen!) It makes him look both feminine and infantile at the same time – no wonder no-one takes him seriously. Eyeore only gets a tail ribbon, which hardly hides his sensibilities and pompous owl wears nothing. Being the intellectual he is, I daresay I expected more from him.
But I’m the one that shortie mistrusts. Not the non-underpanted, non-trousered animals that can talk. Makes me wonder how the little blighter sees me. Best not to go there...