Our bedtime ritual is pretty well established. We read stories on the couch, ending with a “good night” book. Then I shout “All aboard the bedtime train” and we race to C’s bedroom. “All aboard the bedtime train” is actually a song I created that is syncopated to the point of being almost indistinguishable from shouting:
the Bedtime Train!
It goes on with snoring sounds and train whistles and such. The point of it is to get them from the couch to the bed. Like all toddlers, they hate going to bed. We needed something loud and distracting that would move them from point A to point B. Now, while I chant, clap, and march, they typically race to the bed. It’s a pretty rowdy race, too, complete with body slams and shouts of “I’m first.”
Not the other night, though. The other night, at the end of the race, I found myself sitting on the bed with C. His little brother hadn’t made it. The song ended and still no sign of the little guy. Being the lazy parent that I am, I called out. “Hey, little man! Where are you?”
“I’m coming” echoed in from the den.
I waited a little while and then shouted out “Better hurry!”
“I’m coming!” came back almost immediately.
Again, I waited a while, and then tried to add some urgency. “Hurry! You don’t want to miss the bedtime train!”
His brother chimed in as well, “Hurry! Hurry!”
His shout of “I’m coming!” wafted in through the doorway again.
So we waited. And we waited. Finally, it was too much. I headed out to see what was going on.
There he was, lying stretched out on the floor, trying to roll his way to the bedroom. Unfortunately, he was having a tough time rolling straight. As I watched, he bumped into the back of the couch, and had to straighten himself out again.
That’s when he saw me. A big old grin spread across his face. “I’m coming, Daddy! I’m coming!”
Sometimes, as infuriating as they can be, it’s hard not to laugh.