RAISING ELLE
A Bedtime Story to Keep Your Child in Bed
by Martinique Davis
Mar 29, 2012 | 1396 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the way we’ve always done things doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, it might be time to switch things up.

So when Elodie wasn’t staying in her bed at night, we had to instigate a new bedtime modus operandi. We call him the Great Wolf.

I wish I could say the Great Wolf was our own creation, but that’s the great thing about raising kids in a small town, surrounded by other small families just like yours. You get a few pointers here and there. And occasionally, you get a real gift. Like the Great Wolf, courtesy of Kim and Gary Richard.

One morning while lamenting my frustrations about my eldest child’s proclivity to get up and out of her bed numerous times each evening, after numerous pleas and ultimatums, Gary looked at me quizzically and tilted his head.

“Don’t you know about the Great Wolf?” he asked, a slight smile lifting up the corners of his otherwise dead serious countenance.

“The Great Wolf comes to the windows of children who aren’t in their beds. He puts one paw up on the glass (scrape), then the other (scrape), then peeks in, his wet nose pressing against the window (pant, pant).”

Elodie’s bedroom window is at ground level, looking out onto an expanse of wintry forest. It’s a bit spooky, I’ll admit.

“He peers in with his big black eyes, black as the blackest night, searching for the sight of little children who aren’t in their beds after light’s out.”

Elodie is afraid of the dark, or so she says.

“He can see in the dark, you know.”

This fear of the dark is the reason I find her bedroom’s overhead light blazing each morning when I go to wake he, as she always righteously explains when quizzed about the breaking of the light’s-out rule.

“He can see a bedroom light turn on from a mile away. And he can be at the window in a flash.”

I want my kid to go to sleep when it’s time to go to sleep, without getting up out of bed or turning on the light. But is it necessary to frighten her into doing so? I imagined her in her happy little pink princess bed, scared stiff, her mind’s eye seeing the figure of a huge hunched-over creature pacing in the shadows outside her bedroom window.

“Thanks Gary,” I said politely, vowing silently never to subject my preschooler to the story of the Great Wolf.

But then, that evening, I heard Elle rummaging around in her bedroom after light’s out.

I walked down the stairs to find her up, in her bedroom, with the overhead light blazing brightly.

I started in on my pleas and ultimatums. Elle nodded, agreed, climbed back into bed, and less than five minutes later was at it again, out of her bed with the light on.

OK. I’m tired. I know you’re tired. My pleas and ultimatums clearly aren’t working.

“Elodie. Do you know what I saw outside this evening?”

Elle loves bedtime stories. She looked up at me eagerly, expecting a tale about butterflies or rainbows or gentle baby deer.

“I saw the tracks of the Great Wolf.”

Her eyes froze wide open.

“Don’t you know about the Great Wolf?” I asked her, smothering my smile beneath a concerned frown.

“The Great Wolf comes to the windows of children who aren’t in their beds. He puts one paw up on the glass (scrape), then the other (scrape), then peeks in, his wet nose pressing against the window (pant, pant).”

Elodie’s eyes stretched even wider, looking from my face to the large, ground-level bedroom window.

“He peers in with his big black eyes, black as the blackest night, searching for the sight of little children who aren’t in their beds after light’s out.”

Elodie, her eyes as big as silver dollars, looked back at me.

“He can see a bedroom light turn on from a mile away. And he can be at the window in a flash.”

I want my kid to go to sleep when it’s time to go to sleep, without getting up out of bed or turning on the light. But is it necessary to frighten her into doing so?

Well…

Elle has not since gotten up out of her bed after light’s out. And I’ve not found her overhead bedroom light blazing in the mornings, either.

All thanks to the Great Wolf.
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