Tag Archives: bedtime

No Monsters in the House


Oldest, 3.

My oldest daughter had never even heard of monsters before.  She never had trouble going to sleep, either.  Then, at the end of a family gathering, one of her uncles “helped” us with bedtime by saying, “You better get in bed before the monsters come out.” 

Thanks, uncle. 

For the rest of that week, she asked us to stay after tucking her in because she was afraid monsters would come in her room.  We tried for several nights to explain away this new-found fear.  Then, we realized that no matter how much we explained that there are no such thing as monsters, one fact remained.   She was scared of something – and her something was real.

So, I agreed with her something by telling her about the rule: No monsters in the house.

She looked at me funny. 

I said, “It’s true.  No monsters are allowed in this house.  They have to stay outside, on the sidewalk.

She walked towards the window, staying just far enough back so that she could see – but not close enough so that she could be seen. 

“I don’t see any monsters on the sidewalk,” she said.

“They probably went home,” I said.

“What if they’re trying to come into my bedroom?”

“They can’t.”



“How do they know to stay outside?” she said.

“Mom and I told ‘em to.”

“What if they don’t listen?”

“Do you ever go outside at night?”



“Because you and Mom told me.”

“Right – and here’s what we told the monsters: if they stay on the sidewalk, we’ll keep you in the house.”

“Do they get cold out there?”

“No – they’ve got lots of fur.”

“Do they get hot in the summer?”

“No – they shed in the summer.”

“Where do they shed?”

“In the grass.”

“What do you do if you find it?”

“Oh, you throw it away – or make a monster sweater.”

“What if they watch me sleep?”

“If we close the curtains, they can’t.  Eventually monsters get tired, too.”

I closed the curtains and tucked her in. 

A tiny sliver of space was allowing some light to come through.  She folded back the covers, trotted over to the window, closed the gap by overlapping the edges, and charged back across the room.  I helped her climb back into bed.  And there we sat, in the dark, looking at the curtains; waiting for the monsters to go to sleep.


“Hey, dad.”

Sorry, got to go.  More later.



Only child, 2-ish.

 When a toddler moves out of their crib, you assume that they will move to a bedThey don’t.  They start off with a toaster-bed. 

 Toaster-beds are easy to identify; you tuck the kid in, they pop back out.  You tuck them back in again, they pop right back out again.  At the end of a long day, this can be anything but a delightful exercise of their new-found freedom. 

 One evening, our daughter’s toaster-bed was in fine working order.  

 First, she came downstairs because she was thirsty.  I got her some water. 

 Then, she was hot.  Her mom helped her change PJs. 

 Next, it was the bathroom – can’t really argue with that one.   

Then the cat was bothering her.  Although, judging by the cat rocketing through the living room, clearly the opposite was true.      

 Then, she came down the steps to tell us that she was cold.  Her mom helped her change PJs. 

 Next, it was the bathroom again. 

Finally, she came down to complain loudly that our stupid house was too hot.  My patience poofed into thin air.  I picked her up and gave her a personal escort back to her room.  Along the way, she decided that she didn’t want to change after all and started playing you-can’t-catch-me. 

 She was wrong.  I did catch her and attempted to change her PJs.   

 She wriggled and twisted and kicked and fought and then shouted that she wanted her mom to change her PJs.  She emphasized this by yanking the PJs out of my hand and throwing them across her room, knocking some things off her dresser – including a lamp. 

I grabbed her by the shoulders, looked her in the eyes, and said something brilliant at the top of my lungs like, “Whatever!”  She stood stunned, silenced by my volume, and crying.  I stormed out of the room and her mom came in to finish what I couldn’t.  In all the confusion, the toaster-bed must have come unplugged because she finally went to sleep.

Sometime during the night, I felt a soft tugging on my sleeve.  I opened my eyes.  Her tiny face was directly in front of mine, at the edge of the mattress, chin propped up on her folded arms. 

 Before I could speak, she said, “Sorry I got mad at you, dad.”  She patted me gently on the head and ran off to bed. 

 I felt like a dirt crumb. 

 The next day, I got a small piece of paper out and wrote on it; “Sorry I got mad at you, dad.” 

I taped her words to the inside of my wallet to help remind me that, when it comes to kids, I’ve got a lot to learn.


“Hey, dad?”

Sorry – got to go.  More later.

Pillow Crinkles

Oldest, 10.  Youngest two, 7.

I’m no linen expert, but a pillow case shouldn’t make a crinkling sound, should it? 

We had just gone through one of those chocolate holidays.  You know the kind; where candy is almost as plentiful as oxygen. The rule for our kids on candy was simple, when it came to eating chocolate, 5 or 6 o’clock was always last call.  Otherwise, they would be up all night trying to burn off the buzz.  This was particularly true for my youngest daughter.

After tucking her in at the end of this big, holiday weekend, I said goodnight and gave her a kiss on the forehead.  She was propped up on her elbow and watched me walk to the door.

“Goodnight,” I said.

She stared – still up on her elbow.

“Lay down,” I said.

“I will when you go.”

I walked to her bed, un-propped her elbow, and laid her head down on the pillow.  As she sank into the pillow fluff, I heard a noise – a slow, soft crinkle.

“What was that noise?” I said.

“What noise?” she said, pulling her lines right out of the Kid Handbook.

“There was a noise coming from your pillow.  Didn’t you hear it?”

“I don’t know,” she tried.  She was perfectly still – stiff as a candy cane.

I put the palm of my hand on her forehead and gently moved her head from side to side.  Her big eyes stayed on me as I did this.  The soft crinkle repeated with each move.

“Sit up.”  I felt like a prison guard.

Under her pillow, I found about two dozen matted down, empty candy wrappers along with a huge stash of unwrapped, soon-to-be-eaten chocolate.  I’m sure the street value was obscene.

Sadly, she scooped up all the candy.  I pulled out the bottom of my shirt to make a pouch and she deposited all the illegal booty.

“Why do you have candy under your pillow?” I asked.

Her explanation was very simple.  “So, I don’t have to bother you and mom when I get hungry at night.”

It’s touching when a child is concerned for their parent’s welfare, isn’t it?


“Hey, dad?”

Sorry – got to go.  More later.

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