I guess we are in the middle of a big transition phase in our family and especially so in my son’s life – from home life to Kindergarten life, from being a baby to becoming a toddler, from needing his parents’ help to being able to dress and eat by himself, from being at the receiving end of his parents’ wishes to being able to clearly and strongly express his own. Since Kindergarten started, many new routines have formed in our daily life and apart from picking my son up from the bus in the afternoons, my favorite is probably our bedtime stories.

My son is fond of books, he loves to hear his mom and dad read, and he is quite adept at bringing the Japanese books to his mom and the Swedish and English ones to me. Every time I happen to hold a Japanese book he says to me no dad that is in Japanese, and I guess it will not be long until he has learned to read Japanese children’s books much more smoothly than I can. Reading books however, while before having had the effect of making our son sleepy, has now become a way for him to stay awake while having a cozy time in bed, so I have had to develop a new strategy for hard-to-fall-asleep-evenings.

When we have read a few books and he still does not seem interested in sleeping, I say that I will continue by telling a story of his choosing and asks what he wants me to make a story about. Oftentimes he wants to hear a story about his favorite anime, the tank engine Thomas and his friends, so he gives me a handful of names to make a story about.
– Can you talk about Percy and Nia and Diesel and Cranky, he says.
– Ok. And what do you want them to do.
– They are going to Birthday, he says (Birthday being our son’s favorite children’s store close to where we live).
– What are they going to do at Birthday, I ask.
– Buy a car, he says.
– Ok, I say, so once apon a time there was a tank engine called Percy who had a day off and wanted to play with his friends Nia and Diesel.
– And James and Rebecka too, he says.
– And James and Rebecka, I say.

I go on to make up a story about the trains and their troubles and successes, and my son closes his eyes, finds a comfortable position, and listens to my talk. I have never fallen asleep while reading to my son, I have almost never fallen asleep while putting him to bed period, but since I started telling stories about his train friends I have found myself time and time again drift away, not knowing who is going where with whom, and suddenly I hear my son’s voice urging me to keep telling my story. It is quite a new experience to me, dozing off to the sound of my own voice, and although I cannot say I like it, I am very happy that my boy also seems to be susceptible to the soothing effect of my storytelling. I hope it lasts.

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