evening stories – part 2

Quite often mum is working late so it is only son and dad that do the before-bed-story time-routine together. We normally start with a Swedish picture book, or (as we have done recently) read a chapter from Pippi Långstrump, Pippi Longstocking, the famous and still very popular children’s books character created by Astrid Lindgren. (As a side note it is joyful to be able to start enjoying chapter books together, which I believe will broaden my son’s world even more.) But after the book, after we dim the light, my son’s eyes start to shine as he asks me to tell him a story. Gone are the days (or I should say nights) when he wanted to hear about Thomas the tank engine and his friends. Instead, he wants a story featuring himself and his friends from kindergarten.

Before I move on I should correct myself – my son does not ask me for a story. He asks me for two. Or three. Or more, a few weeks ago our conversation went like this:
– Please tell me three stories, says my son.
– Ok, what do you want them to be about? I ask.
– You decide. But me and friend A and friend B are police and something has happened.

So I start to make up a story about someone who has stolen the teacher’s bento lunch and she asks her kindergarten policemen to find it. Or I make a story where a car has got a puncture on the highway and the police need to come and help. And when I have finished the three stories I give my son a good night kiss.
– No, one more story pappa.
– But you said three stories, and I have told three stories now.
– Only one more please.
– But I am all out of ideas now. We will tell more stories tomorrow.
– No one more story. The final one. You didn’t say it was the final one.
– Ok, a final story. But a short one.
– No it needs to be long.
– Ok, a little bit long story. What do you want the story to be about?
– You decide. But me and friend A and friend B are police and something has to occur.

Eventually we fall asleep, me more tired than my son.

After having repeated this a few times, I recognize that I need to bargain with my son before even starting story time.
– Please tell me three stories pappa.
– Well, I can tell you one.
– No there. It needs to be three.
– Well, I think it needs to be one.
– Ok, we do two stories.
– Fine. We do two stories. And no final one. Is that ok.
– Ok. Long stories. If they are long stories.

Then the other night, mum came in to us just as I was finishing my second story. And of course our son seized the opportunity.
– Mamma, can you tell a story.
– Isn’t it time to sleep?
– No, we need to do the final story.
– Ok, what do you want the story to be about?
– Me and friend A and friend B are police and there has to be an incident.

My wife tried her best to stay awake all through the story, but my son had to wake her a few times to ask here to finish telling. Then they beautifully fell asleep together.

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