For quite some time now, E's nighttime ritual has included two books. I always stick to two so I never have to negotiate. I must have read that in a magazine somewhere...it's one of the few parenting rules I think I enforce well. Most of the time, she goes to bed without a fight. Every night she looks over the books on her shelf and picks something interesting, and adds it to the basket of favorites by her bedside. Every few days I put some of them back on the shelf where they re-enter the rotation. She constantly asks for Bunny My Honey, Green Eggs and Ham, Ten Little Ladybugs, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She lays in bed or on Daddy's lap, wrapped up in her "banklets", listening and asking questions.
If the books were too short, or if E is wide awake, I will sometimes prolong bedtime by opening the book to a random page and asking her about it. She comes up with some interesting ideas, usually having nothing to do with the story itself. In Jingle Cats, there's a picture of a cat in a stocking, sleeping...E says "He's stuck. He needs help." When I point out the ZZZZZs over his head, she says, "Help him, Mommy." Now that I think of it, most of the Wonder Pets episodes (and a fair amount of Diegos) have plotlines that involve animals that are stuck and need to be rescued...a hedgehog stuck in a shrub, a kinkajou stuck in a beehive, a cow stuck in a tree (tornado...don't ask). That might explain this exchange we had last night involving the book, My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes...
Me: Look at this cat...he's from Norway. What happened to him?
E: He's stuck in a doorway.
Me: Yes! That's right! It rhymes. How about this one, this cat from France? What does he do?
E: He likes to dance. And sing. Is he stuck?
Me: No, he's not stuck. The cat from Norway was stuck. What about the cat from Spain?
E: He's stuck in da airplane. Where's da back door? He hasta get out.
Me: He wasn't stuck, he just flies the airplane.
E: We gotta rescue him.
Me: Look here at the end of the book...all the cats are okay.
E: They are?
She uttered that last line with a mixture of relief and disappointment. I can see the games she will play when Baby m is old enough to obey her..."Okay, m. You go get stuck under there and I will rescue you." Hmmm. Gonna have to keep an eye on that girl.