Thursday, March 24, 2016

Brian the Lamp - a bedtime story for kids

I've been singing, reading, and acting out all kinds of performances for my kids before bedtime.  I started singing to them about 4 years ago and through the years, though I've missed many nights, I'm pretty sure I've sang them every single song I know off by heart.  

Even The Beastie Boys' Sabotage, bleeped out where it needs to be, of course.

After the songs I started a little act with their stuffed animals and called it "Puppy Songs".  The dogs would come out and tell stories and jokes.  Kind of like a variety show, but with fake animals.  I knew the trigger, the way to get my kids to laugh.  It usually had something to do with some sort of incorrect word, or the way the puppies would fall down off of the bed 'by accident' and crawl back up as a tangled mess.  Singing Oh Canada with 'barks' and 'ruffs' instead of words is another way the puppies and I could leave the boys in stitches.

Yet, eventually our act grew a little stale.  I decided to browse the Internet for some unique and fun bedtimes stories.  We discovered Gordon Dioxide and life was good for a few weeks.  His stories are straight sideways, and my boys love them.  Unfortunately, there are only so many of them.  

I searched for more good stories like Dioxide's but came up with nothing.  I'm sure there is good stuff out there, as in free and handy on the Internet, but I also thought that I should give writing up a story a shot.

Last night I tested this story on the boys, not telling them that I wrote it, and they loved it.  In fact, Jonas seemed to be shocked and amazed that I could do such a thing.  Miles responded by immediately making up a story of his own about how his dad had wrote a bedtime story.  

Anyway, here it is.  Please read it with your kids and let me know what you think.  If you are an editor or a stickler for grammar please excuse me for the flaws.

There once was a Brian named Lamp...  Wait, that's not right.  There once was a Brain named Lump.  Wait, that's not right either!  Okay, here it is in simplest form... Brian was a lamp.  There, that makes sense.

Brian was a lamp that lived on the bedside table of Charlie's Grandma.  Charlie isn't really in this story that much.  He's a really fun guy, but he just doesn't have much to say in this one.  Maybe I'll tell a story about him later.  No, this story is all about Brian the lamp, who lives on that table I was telling you about.

Now, the thing you need to know about Charlie's Grandma is that she wasn't very well.  You know, sometimes Grandmas can get sick sometimes.  For some Grandmas, getting sick can mean a long time of resting, drinking stuff like water or ginger ale, and, of course, sleeping in their bed.  Well, since Charlie's Grandma was sick, she spent a lot of time sleeping in her bed.

This was a very wise thing to do, but the problem with this was that it left Brian in the dark.  He spent a lot of time in the dark.  And for a lamp, that's not much fun.

On one particularly sicky-sick day, Charlie's Grandma was again sleeping soundly in her bed.  I say sleeping because she was in bed, but let me tell you, she was NOT sleeping.  She tossed and turned most of the time, wiggling herself back and forth trying to get comfortable and cozy.  And when I say that she slept soundly, I mean she made a lot of sounds!  She would hack and cough every few seconds, and sneeze some achoos here and there.  All the while Brian was standing there like a silly Christmas tree in the middle of July!  Brian was not needed.  Nothing to do but nothing.

And as you might already know, doing nothing all day isn't much fun.

Brian needed to find something to do.  At one point, while he was sure Charlie's Grandma was fast asleep, Brian built up enough courage to turn his light on, just for a moment.  The darkness was interrupted by an intense beam shooting straight out of Brian's nose!

And because it was his nose, and because he hadn't used his light in a long, long time, some dust had gotten into there and he felt a big sneeze coming on!  He tried and he tried to hold back the sneezer.  His light flickered and fluttered, dancing on the far wall of the room.  The temperature seemed to go up for Brian as the light shone on and on, sizzling and fizzling inside of his head.

And finally Brian couldn't hold on any longer.  As he wiggled his way to keeping it inside, the Sneeze would have none of it.


With that, Brian shot off of the table and into the air.  His cord snapped free of the wall, and down he came on the cushy carpeted floor!

His light was out, and it wasn't just from the cord being out of the wall.  No, from the looks of it things were much, much worse.  You see, laying in front of Brian was his bulb, broken into a gazillion tiny pieces.  His sneeze had twisted the bulb right out of his nose!  What a disaster!

Oh, but what about Charlie's Grandma?!

Well, it just so happens that Brian didn't even hear a wiggle or a peep coming from way up on the bed.  She was finally fast asleep.

Brian got up and shook off the dangerous bulb glass.  He had to feel around with his cord as he moved through the room in the dark.  The only thing Brian could see was a long, long crack of light coming from under the door.  He shimmied and wobbled his way to the light.

He crouched down as far as he could and peered out into the hallway.  It was a pretty normal hallway, as hallways often are.  It had some doors going into other rooms, and some nice soft carpet, and some stairs way at the end of it with a big, fat cat sleeping at the top of them and some.... wait, what did I just say?!  A Big?  Fat?  Hat?  Oh, no?!  Not a hat!  A Cat!!!

Brian had some thinking to do.  Brian thought best with his bulb, but since it was broken on the floor all he could do was think of these few things he needed to do.

#1  Clean up the bulb.  He needed a broom or a vacuum.  The vacuum was probably in the closet at the end of the hall, right next to the cat!  He also needed hands to use a broom or a vacuum, but he would worry about that later.

#2  He needed to get back up on that table.  It was high!  He would need some sort of climby thingy.  What is that thing called again?  A fladder?  Bladder?  Oh, Brian was frustrated.  Without his thinking bulb he COULD NOT think of that word.  Anyway, he needed one of those things, whatever it's called.  He also needed hands to climb up that thing, but he would worry about that later.

#3 This idea came to him while thinking of what that climby thing is called.  Brian needed to escape!  He needed a way out!  With Charlie's Grandma sick all of the time, there wasn't much use for Brian here.  Brian needed a new life.  In his new life Brian would need hands, but he would worry about that later.

The big question now was, where should he start?!

However, before Brian could decide anything, things started to happen!  He heard the squeaky, creaky noise of someone coming down the hall!

Quickly, Brian scooted and tooted his way over towards the table.  There was no time!   Brian could hear the doorknob turning!  Screeeppp (That's the sound of the door opening)  Brian dropped to the floor next to the broken bulb.  He dropped to the floor just like those toy fellows did in that toy movie.  That movie about that story about those toys...  what's it called?  Brian couldn't remember.

It was Charlie at the door!  Charlie had come to check on his Grandma.  Charlie came around the side of the bed to turn on Brian's light, but of course Brian was laying on the floor.  Charlie couldn't see this and he almost stepped right on top of Brian's face!

Well, that would have been bad.  But what was just as bad was Charlie stepped right on the broken bulb with his bare foot!  Crunchhherrs!

Owezicles and pop bottles!  Charlie shouted.  He hopped back towards the door and fell into it.  The door, however, was cracked open a little bit and Charlie fell through the doorway and onto the hallway floor.  Brian couldn't do a thing.  He just lay there, thinking of poor Charlie's foot.

Suddenly, that cat came walking by.  It nuzzled up to Charlie as he sat up, rubbing his bonked head and holding his bloody foot.  In all the commotion, something unexpected happened – Charlie's Grandma woke up!

Charlie's Grandma slowly leaned up in her bed.  She reached for Brian, who wasn't there, and when she realized this a strange, puzzled look came over her face.  She fumbled around for her glasses, put them on her face, and got up to go to the bathroom across the hall.  When she saw Charlie sitting on the floor with the blood, and the bonk, and the cat, she had to ask the most obvious question any human being has ever had to ask.

What happened to you?

Charlie got up and told his Grandma that Brian's bulb was broken and he was laying on the floor, only Charlie just called Brian the lamp since lamps and humans do not interact.  His Grandma turned on the big light in the room, and everyone squinted from this brightness, even the cat.  Even that silly cat.

Charlie's Grandma helped Charlie up, and sat him down on the bed.  Brian peaked up out of the corner of his eye to see that Charlie's foot wasn't too bloody.  Just a little bit, and it was easy enough for Charlie's Grandma to grab some band aids from the bathroom and patch him up good as new!

The next thing that happened was amazing.  It was so amazing you are going to love it.  So lovely that you are going to want to kiss it.  So kissy that you are going to want to jump up and down.  So jump up and downy that you are going to just be happy.

Here's what happened.

Charlie's Grandma picked up Brian and put him back on the bedside table while Charlie went and got the vacuum from the end of the hallway.  In no time flat, the broken bulb was all cleaned up.  Charlie also brought in a shiny new bulb for Brian.  Things were happening!  Brian's "to-do" list was being checked off left, right and centre!  The floor was clean, and he was back up on the table, and he didn't even need to use a ... ladder!  That's what it's called.  Brian's bright mind was working again, thanks to his shiny new bulb.

After everything was settled, Charlie's Grandma said that she was feeling much, much better.  She asked Charlie if he thought it would be a good idea for her to get out and get some fresh air.  Charlie agreed.  However, Charlie also wanted to make a special area downstairs in the living room for his Grandma to rest and recover a bit more.  She said that sounded delightful!

So here's what Charlie did.  He grabbed his Grandma's hand, and Brian!  Why did he grab Brian?!  Well, I'll tell ya!

Charlie took his Grandma and Brian down the stairs.  He sat his Grandma on the couch and then positioned Brian up high on the shelf next to her.  He plugged him in and turned on his bulb.  The room lit up like a sunrise!  Wow, what a light!  It turned out that Brian's new bulb was 100 watts!  That's way, way, brighter than his old 40 watter.  He was a new lamp!  New ideas, new thoughts, deeper vision for his life rushed in through the bulb and into Brian's mind.

Unicycling!  Skydiving!  World Travelling!  Cookie baking!  Brian could imagine all sorts of fun adventures he could go on.  He was invigorated with new ideas.  New ways to live.  Adventure was just around the corner.  His new bulb shone down on the couch, over Grandma's shoulder and on to the magazine she had picked up, which was called Grandmas and Puppies.  It was her favourite issue.

After a few minutes, Charlie turned Brian's bulb off, helped his Grandma with her coat and shoes, and soon enough they were out the door on their walk.  For now, Brian's bulb was out, but soon enough Grandma would be back to read more about Grandmas and Puppies and all kinds of interesting things.  Brian had a new life in the living room.  Now, if only he could do something about getting some hands.

And before he knew it, not 2 feet away from Brian, Clark the Clock looked down at his new neighbour.  He introduced himself to Brian, and as politely as any Clock could, he invited Brian to use his Clock hands any time he needed.  What a stroke of luck, thought Brian.  And what a nice Clock.  Brian said thank you and, in return, said that he would offer to brighten Clark's day any time he needed a little bit of light in his life.

The End.