Ask any parent and they’ll tell you bedtime can be difficult. Children often don’t want to part ways with their parents, sleep in their own beds or go to sleep! But bedtime can be a lovely time to set the stage for a good night’s sleep and sweet dreams. When I wrote Timothy Tottle’s Terrific Dream I was remembering my children’s fears of changing size and slipping down the bathtub drain and also how hard it was at times to get them to relinquish play for sleep. And it’s exactly those kind of fears that can show up big-time in a screaming, wake up Mom and Dad nightmare. To address the size morphing and bathtub drain fear I decided to create a childhood character that took his bath, toweled off, brushed his teeth and went to bed and then suddenly in a dream was back in the tub, shrinking and swirling right down the drain—and having a blast! While shrinking and swirling down the drain is not very likely let’s at least make it a fun idea until little ones are totally sure of size constancy…To Timothy Tottle’s amazement he lands in a fantasyland where bathtub water cleaning monsters are finishing their work and about to have a party. I decided to have them all jump on the beds until the sheets and covers had fallen off and Timothy and the monsters fall exhausted into sleep. Most kids would like to jump a little on the bed and fire back up when Mom or Dad is trying to get them to calm down so I thought a bit of vicarious misbehaving was called for. And following that brief indulgence is a gentle suggestion that after a full day’s worth of frolicking, kids and monsters need to sleep. And even monsters dream of having someone like Timothy’s mother kiss and tuck them gently into bed. Gently drifting off to sleep is the big proposal here… And given that mammals like to sleep with their mothers and lest little ones worry about Mom is going to take off down the hall, the book ends with Timothy waking up in his own little bed after sleeping the whole night through and then racing down the hall to wake up his Mom and tell all about his terrific dream! And she tells him this is just the beginning—he can have a great and fun dream anytime he wishes—he just has to go to bed and sleep for that to happen!
Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and author of several books. Her latest children’s book is Timothy Tottle’s Terrific Dream.