It can be daunting to deal with all the excuses two little kids can come up with to avoid bedtime. When I was young, my father used to tell my brother and me bedtime stories featuring a turtle named Frank who came to the rescue during all sorts of emergencies. So to get my kids to fall into line, late this spring I started to tell them my own bedtime stories.
Hong Kong stories.
Taken mostly from my experiences in Hong Kong, each night I relay a short snippet of something out of the ordinary. Their favorite hands down is called The Night of the Flying Red Ants. At the conclusion of each new story, they usually ask for a repeat of the red ants one.
It goes something like this: After a heavy rainfall one spring night, a swarm of flying red ants seeped through the cracks in my dorm room screens. Ants were everywhere–in my hair, on my desk, on my bed, in my shoes. They covered all ground. I quickly ran out of the room, slamming the door behind me, and raced down eight flights of stairs to borrow bug spray from the front desk guard. After fumigating the room, I returned the spray. A two-hour hall phone call to a friend kept me away from the poison in my room. And when I returned, I simply swept up the dead ants and threw them in the communal rubbish bin down the corridor.
That happened once a year.
Other stories they enjoy include:
Night of the Walla Walla (taken from my uncle’s experience in Hong Kong many decades ago)
Face to Face with a Pack of Wild Dogs (that’d be me again)
Attack in the Monkey Forrest (the main story takes place in Bali, but with a prelude in Hong Kong’s New Territories)
The Dirty Apple (my lesson in eating unwashed fruit)
The Many Flavors of Chungking Mansions (taking unsuspecting guests out for a night of Indian food), and
No Taking Chicken Pictures (when Tom was chased out of a Mongkok chicken stall for trying to photograph the place).
The kids are excited each night for a new Hong Kong story. They calm down, I calm down, and in the process we all enjoy a special moment together at the end of the day.
Do you have a Hong Kong story that is age-appropriate for kids 3 and 5 years old?