“Mommy, tell me a Dragon story,” Ashley begged me. She asks me this nightly. I have completely adopted the Dragon character from Dav Pilkey’s books with the same name. My kids have always loved Pilkey’s dragon books. There just aren’t enough of them. (Note to Mr. Pilkey: Enough Dogman books; can you please write more Dragon books? I am getting really tired of having to create all my own adventures for your character.)
All of my stories start the same: “Once there was a dragon named Dragon.”
But this particular night, after my standard opening line, I took a controversial tack: “One day, Dragon got dressed. He came out into the living room, but about two minutes later, he decided his shirt was too itchy. So do you know what he did?”
Ashley looked at me with wide, hopeful, trusting eyes. Sincere eyes. As a parent, you should never crush those sincere eyes.
But I plowed ahead. “He went into his room, took off that shirt, put it in the laundry, and put on a new shirt.”
More nodding. Poor kid had no idea yet where I was going with this.
“So Dragon came out laughing and skipping, proud of his new shirt. But then… after a few minutes, he noticed that this shirt was too tight for him. He was a growing dragon, after all. So what do you think he did?”
Big, sincere eyes full of hope met my gaze. “I don’t know, Mom. What did he do?”
“He took that shirt off, put it in the laundry—even though he had only worn it for less than five minutes--and got another shirt.
At this point my darling daughter’s expression turned to one of suspicion. But the hope was still there. It was definitely time to turn this into a happy Dragon story before I crushed my innocent little love bug.
I continued: “He wore that shirt for less than one minute because it was too hot. Then, Dragon put that hot, long-sleeved shirt in the laundry and changed into a short-sleeved shirt.”
Now my child’s expression turned downright sour. “Mom! That’s the worst, absolute WORST, Dragon story ever!”
“Well, they can’t all be masterpieces. I’m just an amateur. Why do you think I told you this story?”
I needn’t have asked. I could see in her eyes that she knew. I was starting to worry that maybe I had done some permanent damage when she said, “I think you need to make better Dragon stories.”
“Oh yeah? Hm. OK, maybe you’re right. I’ll work on my story-telling techniques. Will you work on putting clean clothes back in your dresser?”
She did not answer that.
But she did come up with her own Dragon story, a sweet piece about how Dragon’s mom did not allow him to help with the laundry because he was too small, but Dragon’s dad did let him help wash the dishes—even though he kept making mistakes and doing silly things like climbing into the crock pot instead of washing it. (He was a very small dragon.)
I cannot be sure, but I feel like she may have used my Dragon storytelling techniques against me there.