I snuggled in with Ethan tonight at bedtime and began our nightly ritual of the bedtime story. The ritual began for us when Ethan was 2. I was pregnant with Rueben at the time and so we knew we would be needing to move Ethan out of the crib. We had taken one side of the rails off so he was using it as a sort of daybed. Thanks to the kindness of family, Ethan received brand new bunk beds for Christmas and it was finally convenient for me to lay down with Ethan and read to him at bedtime.
I really cherish the bedtime story. It gives us a chance to not only read a book (or books) together but to reflect on our day, talk about our adventures, and for me, to become more enlightened in the philosophies of the four year old boy. Tonight was no exception.
We pulled two books from his younger days off the shelf; 'Neighbourhood Numbers' and 'Mama and Me', both of which are baby Einstein books and have great rhythm and pictures. We got up to 8 which tells us that there are eight lighted windows in eight houses and eight stars in the sky. Well this led to a very interesting conversation about the universe and 'out of space' as Ethan calls it. He declared "I know a lot about Earth". He knew about oceans and mountains, rivers and trees and roads. He knew the sun was in the sky and the moon was in the sky and the stars to which I agreed and said yes, they are all in outer space. "No, they're not mom. At nighttime, the sun goes behind the walls of the earth. In the daytime, the sun blasts through the walls of the earth". So I now have a picture of what the concept of 'outer space' is to a four year old. It seems very obvious to him that the blue sky that we see overhead and which meets the earth at the horizon is like a wall. And the sun goes behind it at night when it's dark, and then bursts through it during the day when it's light. It makes sense.
We then move on to 'Mama and Me' which is a great little book about animal babes and moms. Each page begins "I am a baby (duck for example)" with a series of familial facts about how it interacts with it's mom. "I'm a good swimmer already, but my mommy leads the way. She knows the best places to swim". Each page also has real life photography of each animal. It's a great little book to get a conversation going. Ethan wanted to know what the tigers ate. Um, well, they eat smaller animals. "like ducks?" ah, sure. "What do ducks eat?" um, bugs and plants that they find... "what do bears eat?" berries and fish "Fish, eww, yuck!" you love fish!!! "eww, no I don't" you know all that sushi you love to eat... that's fish. "oh". Then he announced that his favorite animal is a giraffe because of their long necks, and mine is an elephant because of their trunks, and Rueben's is a jaggerbafersaul (um... a what?), oh mom, it's like a kind of dinosaur. What do dinosaurs eat?" hmm, how to proceed... well, some dinosaurs ate plants and some ate smaller dinosaurs, but that was a loooong time ago. They don't live on the earth anymore. "did they move into out-of-space?" I love how his brain works. And I look forward to many more enlightening conversations with him.