Terrific Terror, aged two and a half (T.T.): Only 2 books today, Mommy!
Me: Are you sure? We have time to read at least 5.
T.T.: No. Only 2.
Me: (pleased not to have to read out loud for an hour–5 picture books is actually quite a lot considering you have to read each one at least twice if not more) Okay! Choose two books and climb into bed!
We start to read. She chooses a terrible Sesame Street book (but it’s shaped like Big Bird!!!), and a new and hilarious favorite from the library, Giddy Up, Cowgirl by Jarrett Krosoczka. We read each book 2-3 times.
T.T.: Another book!
(She picks another terrible Sesame Street book–which I don’t mind because it’s short. Thankfully we only read it once.)
T.T.: Another one!
(She picks a Pocoyo book, this one has several two-piece puzzles inside, which makes it take longer. The interesting things about these TV-themed books is she doesn’t actually like to watch Sesame Street or Pocoyo anymore.)
T.T.: Another one!
Me: (my eyelids drooping) No. It’s time for nap.
T.T.: (cries and carries on)
Me: How about I tell you a story while you close your eyes? Okay, once upon a time, T.T. and Mommy were making gingerbread cookies…
T.T.: No! Another book!
Me: (desperately tired) Okay. You play with the puzzle book while I sleep.
She cries for a bit, then when it’s clear I’m not giving in this time, she settles down and plays with the puzzle book and gets sleepy. Finally when I’m starting to drift off…
T.T.: Mommy! Tell me this story: When you get older and I get older, I won’t have a Mommy and Daddy anymore. Then, Paati [Tamil for grandmother] will say, “It’s okay.” And I’ll say, “Ohhh, I’m sad.” And Paati will say, “It’s okay, you can have a new Mommy and Daddy.” Like that! Now you tell me the story.
Me: (no response because I’m sleepy)
T.T.: Mommy tell the story!
Me: (mumbling) No. Go to sleep.
T.T.: Mommy, tell me a story where you get old and die!
Me: No. I don’t like that story.
T.T.: But I like it!
Me: Go to sleep!
And people say fairy tales are too scary for young children.