The kids have Goodnight Moon and a plethora of other bedtime stories, but after catching the viral marketing campaign, I made sure to purchase my own bedtime story, Go the F%$# to Sleep. It’s a wonderfully rude bedtime story that perfectly encapsulates the anger of a tired, pressed father whose little one refuses to sleep. The story is best described as That 70s Show‘s Red Forman, one of my favorite television fathers, channeling Captain Kangaroo.
There’s a common perception of children and bedtimes, where the children snuggle up for a story and then gently go to sleep. It’s the stuff of old movies and Hallmark cards but like life, it isn’t always that way. Small children either might not want – or be able – to go to sleep and when Dad’s at the end of a long day of his own, the tension can become unbelievable. Dad’s spent time with Junior and now wants to have a little time to himself, or with Mom, and the kid simply won’t call it quits. Sometimes it’s due to physical factors, such as too much caffeine or activity at a time when things should be winding down; and sometimes it’s because the kid is simply being an ass. How far can I push Dad? If I wear him down, then I’ll get to do what I want to do. If he starts letting me tonight, then I can mention it again tomorrow night. At other times, it’s because the kid simply hasn’t seen much of Dad and will do whatever possible to keep him around.
Full disclosure: I’ve said these same things in a sotto voce tone, hoping to God that I’m not heard and feeling horrendously guilty for not living up to the Hollywood standard. Children are wonderful and loving. They can also be exceptionally difficult and after hours of work or hours of caring for them, you simply want a break, even if it comes via your own sleep.
While the tenor of the verses clearly ratchets up from one page to the next however, what’s thoroughly absent is the sense that Dad’s going to go psycho. Even at the end, Dad is still tiptoeing around and finally takes the child in hand again to begin the process again.
The verses are great and the artwork does full justice to the story and the book is thoroughly worth every penny. So the next time you’re thinking about buying a book, put aside the Stephen King and get this one instead.
Then be sure that it doesn’t wind up in Junior’s bookcase.