Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oh, Blessed Sleep . . .

Each evening I lie down to put my two year old nephew to sleep. I take two books from beside the bed. The first book last night was There's a Wocket in my Pocket, the night before it was Go Dog Go, but it needn't always be from the Beginner Books series. The second book is always the same: Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book.

There are some very good reasons for bringing two books: if I come with only one book, he will notice that I have not given him a choice, and he will subsequently demand another book, which is usually next to inaccessible, and interrupt our routine. Another reason for bringing only two books is that I can always be sure that Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book will, at least, be the second book we read. I must admit too, on nights when I am very tired, or have a great deal to do, I pray that he will choose it first, because that way lies slumber.

I pretend for a moment that I cannot see the book, he knows this game. "What does this say?"

"Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book," he says in that halting way only a child can, pointing to the words, as I do when I show him what it says. I turn the page . . . . "This book to be read in bed, Uncle Ty . . . ." From there we follow the path of sleep from the first yawn of a very small bug, named Van Vleck, until he falls asleep, usually before we arrive in the district of Doft. On those rare occasions when he does not fall asleep, we can always read it again; he loves that too.



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