Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The past couple of days I've fallen asleep while telling my son a bedtime/naptime story. Picture me laying on the floor (beige carpet-- awful suburban plague), me sticking my hand through the slots to hold my son's hand. (The command comes from behind the blanket: "Mama, hold the hand!") and so I do. It's a concession. A weakness, perhaps. Still, it seems a godsend to have him fall asleep behind the bars of the crib as compared to the wild late-night air mattress surfing that he practiced while we were in Germany. So, I'll throw him a bone.

And truth be told, the storytelling does me good. It's like those beginning creative writing workshop exercises where you get to pick disparate words or phrases out of a hat and have to craft something out of them.

Only mostly what you got from those exercises was a bunch of crap with maybe a funny line or two. (Don't apply for the poet-laureate position just yet...)

Yet somehow, despite the common constraints, dictated by a 2 1/2-year-old with certain predelictions, shall we say, to "Papa, Max and Elmo with helmets on!" or "Helmet guys!" or "Duffy train driver and ice cream truck!", it's amazing the amount of variety I've mined.

Take for example, my masterpiece from last week, "Papa, Max and Elmo take two modes of transportation (helmets on, for safety, of course) to visit the Helmet Guy Convention". Now that was a finely crafted piece of oral literature. And there are other favorites (of mine, not of his-- I can safely say that my stories put him to sleep. Does that count as being "good"?) Like when my son got to take his nap in the back of a dump truck while the "helmet guy" drove him to sleep, or when the firemen had to come and pump out our flooded backyard (we woke up to ducks swimming around in it!)

But, perhaps like all good children's stories, there are certain predictabilities (see the aforementioned child falling asleep portion of the program). However, I am apparently too good of a hypnotist. Telling the stories is so relaxing to me that I have woken up drooling, with carpet-rash over half of my face. This afternoon when I awoke after an hour, I was still holding my son's hand, and I couldn't feel most of my arm because it was asleep.

Aaah, love. Is it terrible to say that I am good at this thing love? That I am good at talking? (Consult any elementary-school report card for confirmation).

The other night I had a dream that I had to take over teaching my husband's class when he went on a trip. I remember: I was overcome with joy!

And I remember why, I suppose. When I most loved teaching, I got to tell stories. In them, we were all awake. We learned things. Them and I. Completely engaged in love.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back :)

This is where it pays to be creative. I put myself to sleep reciting "Moo, Baa, La la la" and "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." It drives me insane.

I'm glad you found a silver lining and creative outlet :) It does sound like it's good for you!

Anke said...

Hi there,
at first I just wanted to drop by to pay you a return visit on your blog and say "hi" - now I have to tell you how much I enjoyed your "story about story telling". You really ARE good at this. And I'm still awake after reading it! ...even so its almost past my bedtime. ;)