Don’t let the bedbugs bite!
Not so long ago, and not so far away, there stood a happy house filled with happy people. The happy family spent their mornings together, busying themselves with orange juice and crossword puzzles and playing tag in the front yard and making their beds. They spent their days apart, busying themselves with kindergarten and second grade and going to work. And they always spent their evenings together, busying themselves with setting the table and finishing homework and playing a little basketball in the sunset. The details of the days sometimes changed, but every day in the happy house ended right back where it began, with the happy people climbing in their nicely made beds, and going to sleep to chase some happy dreams.
That’s not so different from your house, right?
You know that we share our lives with all kinds of tiny creatures we can’t see, and so did the happy family. Deep inside the mattress of one of those nicely made beds lived a little bedbug family. Bedbug families are not so different from people families. (They’re not so different: except they usually have more kids, and they prefer to stay in the dark.)
In this family, Mama Bug was pursuing two kinds of projects that mamas all over the world are always pursuing. She was trying to help Baby Bug break a bad habit, and she was to save some money. Baby Bug loved to chew on the straw of his sippy cup. When he drank his water in the morning he was tried really hard to remember not to chew on his straw. But when he was tired and ready for his nap, or when he was really tired and ready for bed, it was so hard for Baby Bug not to chew his straw as he drank his milk. It was just such a comfort to him, leftover from his pacifier- and thumb-sucking days. He didn’t want to make his Mama sad, but it can be so hard to remember a thing when you’re very tired, can’t it?
Chewing, Chewing, Chewing
The problem was, Baby Bug was chewing his straws clean through until they broke and didn’t work. Mama didn’t like replacing them constantly. “The triplets just had a growth spurt and now I have to buy 18 new shoes! Please, please stop chewing through your straws, Baby.”
“Your brothers broke a hole in the wall when they were playing baseball inside again and now everybody’s afraid of the light. I have to buy more blackout fabric or nobody’s getting any sleep tonight. Please stop chewing through your straws, Baby.”
“Sweet boy, your siblings are eating me out of house and home. I’m going to have to make an emergency run to the dryer vent if we’re going to have dinner tonight. Please stop chewing on your straws, Baby. It would be so helpful to have one less thing to buy!”
Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Bite
Baby Bug really wanted to make his mama proud, and Mama really wanted to help her son. So together they came up with a helpful reminder rhyme. Every time Mama Bug tucked her baby in, she’d sing in his ear: “Good night, sleep tight, and don’t bite!” Then she’d sit with him as he finished his milk and hum softly until he fell asleep. And over time, Baby Bug learned to stop chewing on his straws, and if it was possible, it made Mama Bug love him even more.
Have you ever faintly heard those words at your bedtime? Then you must live in a happy house, and you might have a happy little bedbug family living in your bed.
No, no, sweetie. They wouldn’t ever try to bite you. For one thing, it’s too bright out here for them. And for another, a nice clean kid like you tastes like hand soap and sunscreen and after-bath lotion. To a bedbug, you taste icky!
Have you used storytelling to help your child work through a bad habit or a transition?