Once Upon a Time

Read the backstory to One Little Girl, my (unpublished) bedtime story.

One Little Girl

In the deep soft darkness of a warm summer night,
one little girl lay sleeping.

As trees rustled gently
and crickets chirped boldly
and fireflies flashed gold in the sky,
one little girl lay sleeping.

Grownups prattled, TVs rumbled, and cars swooshed hurriedly by,
but one little girl slept on.

Dishes clattered, raccoons prowled.
Laundry churned, dogs hooooowled–
all this caterwauling went on around her,
but this caterwauling was IGNORED.

Tonight she didn’t wake up and want a drink.
She didn’t wake up to use the bathroom.
She didn’t wake up needing a hug because she was scared about monsters.

Instead she lay in her bed like a lump of stone.
Now of course she was BREATHING
(a tiny steady noise: in    out    in    out).

But she didn’t move her stomach, her toes, her eyelashes, her nose, or ANYTHING else.

What makes a little girl such a strong sleeper?
How can she dream when tons of ever-so-noisy-delights
try to tickle her ears late in the night?

Is it some kind of MAGIC?

Well…if you MUST know…there is no magic involved, just a secret.
Her Strong Sleeper Secret is (are you ready?)…her secret is:
be very, very, very TIRED.

During the day she’d run through sprinklers
walked her dog
played with friends
helped with chores
read 2 books
drawn some pictures
and that was all before LUNCH.

By bedtime she was tuckered out, pooped, worn to a frazzle.
Can you believe she began acting rather beastly and cross?

This beast girl pouted and stamped quite a lot,
and said SHE wasn’t tired–not a bit, not a jot!

She was wrong.
She thunked hard into slumber,
she fell deep into dreams,
and then (listen closely)…

something MARVELOUS,
something FABULOUS,
something SPLENDIFEROUS started to happen.

Her gone-away energy came back bit by bit.
You see, while she sleeps, her body grows stronger and stronger and STRONGER from the inside out.

Tomorrow she’ll be frisky, larky, bouncy, sparkly–
or in other words, raring to go.

Yes, scampering about is de-lic-ious-ly fun.
But when it’s time to stop and fix our pillows, blankets, and animals JUST RIGHT

let’s hope
let’s cross our fingers
let’s make a wish…

that we get to sleep and sleep and sleep in OUR beds
just as strongly as this one little girl sleeps tonight.

c 1999

3 Responses

  1. You really should do something more with this.

  2. I’m working on a list of ideas! So far I have:

    1) Offer to let Madonna use it for her next book
    2) ???

  3. Ha!

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