Every night at bedtime, Julia hears a story or twelve. Usually, I read them to her from a book. Now and then, I’ll tell an original story that I make up on the spot. Julia is crazy about these stories. I enjoy the opportunity to plant my motherly ideals in her tender young mind under the guise of entertainment. It’s very effective. Julia is still talking about the story of Lija, the girl who refused to listen to her mom and fell into a hole and landed in No-Listen Land where the children were filthy because they never took baths and the toys were all broken because no one ever picked them up, and you get the idea. Lija did chores for five years straight in the No-Listen Land castle in order to get back home. Luckily, when Lija returned from No-Listen Land, no time had actually passed and she got the chance to listen to her mother this time, which she did. She grew up to be a pharmacist.
A few nights ago, I was so exhausted by the time we got to the story part of the bedtime routine that I just turned out the light and hoped Julia would forget it. She didn’t. I was too tired to turn the light back on and find a book, and the idea department in my brain was closed for the day, so I told her the story of The Karate Kid. Also, The Goonies.
On Sunday, Julia was hanging out with her grandma who was in the living room working on sock monkeys and watching television, and The Goonies happened to be on. Julia watched. About the time the Goonies found the Fratelli’s hideout, she realized it was the bedtime story I’d told her a night or two before. Though I tried to explain that I’d learned the story from watching the movie, she now believes that I’m responsible for the cinematic distribution of The Goonies adventure. She’s pretty much convinced that I know them personally and keeps telling me how much she’d like it if Sloth could come and visit us sometime.
I think tomorrow night I’ll start telling stories about Wonder Woman. Perhaps I’ll happen to leave a lasso laying around and utter the occasional, “Where is that Secret Belt of Strength?” Maybe then she’ll actually listen when I ask her to pick up her toys.