A couple of weeks ago, Today’s Parent editor-in-chief Sasha Emmons emailed me and said, “You’re having trouble getting Sophie to sleep, right? Do you want to try this book the Internet is raving about?”
I couldn’t write back fast enough. “Yes, yes, yes! I’ll try anything!”
A few days later, the book arrived: The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep, by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin. At first glance, I thought, “Well, the capitalization is way off in the title and the illustrations are a little unrefined, but hey, if it works, it works.” I told Soph at dinner that night we had a new story to try at bedtime.
The book claims to be an “innovative and groundbreaking type of bedtime story that uses sophisticated psychological techniques. These are formed in a way to help the child relax, fall asleep faster and stay calmer every night.” Great, sign us up.
On the first night, we did our usual routine: teeth brushed, hair combed, gather the stuffies, snuggle into bed. I did one Robert Munsch book (her all-time favourite writer) and then launched into The Rabbit.
I don’t know if the book is essentially written to bore kids to sleep, but after four pages, I could hardly stand to read anymore. Sophie dutifully listened to the first half of the book but somewhere in the middle, I could see her eyes start to wander. Then she started to hum a little made-up song. By the end of the book, despite following the book’s instructions for intonation and speed of reading, she was still wide awake. And not pleased.
Sophie: “That book is long.”
Katie: “I know.”
Sophie: “But not good long, like when you read me an extra story.”
Katie: “Well, maybe you’ll like it better tomorrow night.”
Sophie, incredulously: “Not this book again?!”
Katie: “Give it another chance.”
Halfway through the book…
Sophie: “It’s like the writer doesn’t know all the words I know.”
Katie, stifling laughter: “Well, the writer is repeating certain words and phrases to tell your brain to go to sleep.”
Sophie: “Well, my brain is telling the book that I don’t like it.”
Sophie: “Mommy, I’m only reading this book one more time. OK? That’s two chances.”
I think, “The kid has a point. We’ll give this one more shot.”
Three pages in, I look over and her eyes are a little bit closed. I think, “OK, maybe we’re getting somewhere.”
Two more pages go by and her eyes are fully closed. I read to the very end and silently apologize to Ehrlin for doubting his technique. I close the book and slide off of Soph’s bed. I have one foot out the door when I hear the giggling.
Sophie, sitting upright, laughing hysterically: “I fooled you, I fooled you! Now can we read a real book?”
Parents out there, if this book worked for you, I’m so happy for you. I can see how it might. But in my house? This book drew bedtime out for an extra 20 minutes (because it was so long) and I ended up with the same three-year-old rigmarole anyway. Give it a shot, but don’t be surprised if your kiddo catches on like mine did. Whenever I mention The Rabbit now, I get Sophie the Comedian telling anyone within earshot about how she tricked me. And I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the point.
Walmart Live Better editor-in-chief Katie Dupuis likes structure and organization. A lot. Now, imagine this Type A editor with a baby. Funny, right? We’re sure you’ll love Katie’s musings on life with Sophie, Juliette and husband Blaine. Read all of Katie’s Type A Baby posts and follow her on Twitter @katie_dupuis.