For the last few weeks, every night before bed, I either tell Sophie a story I make up off the top of my head as I go, or I do what I think of as “dream seeding.” I make up a thing or scenario that she can then think about until she falls asleep. These are almost always ridiculous or impossible or both, but almost always really silly.
For example, I might simply say, “Imagine a pink, fluffy rhinoceros dancing ballet in a purple tutu. Good night!”
Other nights, like tonight, the scenario is more complex.
I started tonight simply enough: “Imagine a herd of majestic unitoads bounding down a road. A ‘unitoad,’ as you know, is a majestic toad with a horn like a unicorn’s.”
“Daddy, that doesn’t sound majestic.”
“Let me finish,” I said, without skipping a beat. “What if, as they bound down the road, each of them is trailing behind it a sparkling, shimmering rainbow of dust sort of like fairy dust? Isn’t that majestic?”
Sophie: “A little bit. But still, they’re toads.”
“What if I tell you they’re also made of gold and have their skin encrusted with precious gems?”
“Yeah, that’s pretty good, but still toads.”
“Well,” I said, “they’re also ribbiting in tune with one another, like an orchestra going down the road. Each one playing its part in a beautiful song, like a symphony or sonata or something. And you know how some frogs can inflate their necks? Those ones are pounding on their inflated throats like drums to keep the beat as they all bound down the road, gleaming bodies reflecting the sunlight and their horns sparkling while they trail arcs of sparkling rainbow-colored fairy dust behind them.”
“OK,” Sophie said at last, “That’s pretty majestic.”
Now she has something to dream about, and we had a wonderful bonding moment, just like we do almost every night.