"Can you tell me a story?"
There may have been a bit of eye-rolling at this. Hey, he couldn't see me in the dark. But my go-to stories are either the Three Little Stories (Bears, Pigs, and Billy Goats Gruff) or the Once-Upon-A-Time-There-Was-A-Boy-Named-Charlie stories, and I just wasn't in the mood.
"How about some nursery rhymes instead?"
"What's a nursery rhyme?"
And I proceeded to go through Hey Diddle Diddle, Hickory Dickory Dock, Little Boy Blue, all of 'em.
The kid had an opinion on some of them:
- Wee Willie Winkie: "That is a silly name!" And for real, it is. It sounds like a euphemism.
- Georgie Porgie: "Girls don't cry when you kiss them!" OK, Tiny Ladykiller. Remind me to give you The Talk when you turn 13.
- Three Blind Mice: "That is weird." Again, he is dead on with this one. That poem is just fucked up-- blind mice running around, being mutilated by a murderous farmer's wife.
But his favorite, far and away, was the one that has always been my favorite. My grandma used to recite it to my brothers and I and we would just laugh and laugh and laugh. And it's not that the poem is particularly funny-- it is just... I don't know. When it's said aloud, there is something about the sound of it that just strikes a kid as hilarious. I think this is universal because when I recited it to Charlie he dissolved into hysterical giggles, and forced me to reiterate it for a little over a half hour. Until he was crying with laughter, screaming with laughter, yelling "AGAIN! AGAIN!"
"To bed, to bed," said SleepyheadFor whatever reason, that third line just SLAYED him. EVERY single time. I asked him why, and he said, between giggles and gasps, "THE WORDS ARE FUNNY! THEY ARE FUNNY WORDS!"
"Tarry a while," said Slow.
"Put on the pot!" said Greedy Gut.
"We'll sup before we go!"
Whatever the reason. I still imagine Sleepyhead, his head lolling from side to side as his eyes close shut, his pajamas on and a candle in his hand to lead him to bed, mumbling, "To bed....to bed...." This while his brother Slow drags his feet, dawdling like a champ and pulling at Sleepyhead's bedshirt, "Tarry a while!"
And then in bounds Greedy Gut, his pajamas looking like they are made for someone half his size, stretched to bursting around his huge belly, a stew pot in one hand, the lid on his head, crying, "Put on the pot!" throwing his arms around his brothers' shoulders and herding them to the table, "We'll sup before we go!" He definitely emphasizes this last bit with a wave of his wooden spoon.
And his brothers, as tired and slow as they are, have just been cajoled into soup before bed. You've gotta imagine that Sleepyhead falls asleep face down in the bowl, Slow doesn't get a chance to finish before Greedy Gut relieves him of his bowl, and there Greedy sits, soup dripping off of his beaming face, satisfied and warm as he sits back in his chair next to his brothers and a cozy fire.
I love that Greedy Gut.