Before nap time and bed time, there is story time. In String Bean’s case, this can mean coloring, practicing reading or writing, or listening to me read her a story. In Peanut’s case, it means I read her a story, and then she “reads” it back to me. She has an uncanny ability to memorize entire books almost line by line, and can recite the story as she flips through the book, giving the impression that she really is reading. If you listen closely, you can hear her edits on the original story, as she throws a line about a bird into The Cat in the Hat or an extra conversation with Sam into Green Eggs and Ham.
Her room used to be our guest room, and the guest bed is still in there, shoved into a corner, unused except during story time. We sit together as I read, and then I lay down and listen to the lilting rise and fall of Peanut’s voice as she takes her turn reading. On more than one occasion, I’ve felt myself drifting toward sleep as she reads to me, so I understand the reason this has been a part of bedtime rituals for generations.
The other day, I was listening to her read Peter Rabbit, and the next thing I knew she was elbowing me roughly, giggling, asking why I’d elbowed her. I think I must’ve nodded off, and then elbowed her as I twitched in my sleep. I’m thinking maybe I should record her soft, soothing reading voice and play it to help me sleep on nights when insomnia has the upper hand.