"Kid, it's late. Just go to sleep?" I pleaded, pulling a pillow over my head and hoping he'd run back to his bed. He's not a toddler anymore--old enough to sleep through the night.
"Mom, I'm scared. Please tell me a story so I can have good dreams?"
Who could refuse that logic. Sleep or logic? Sleep or logic? "All right. But it's gonna be a short one."
The little bundle of joy jumped right into my bed, under my covers and snuggled close. "Once upon a time, in a land where evil monsters roamed and a terrible king had taken control of the land, there was a prophecy."
"What's a propety?" he interrrupted.
"Something that people believe will happen in the future. Anyway, before I tell you the prophecy, you need to know something." I leaned close and whispered, "No one in that land had a bellybutton!"
His eyes widened. "No way!"
"Mom, I came in here because I was having bad dreams. But no bellybuttons . . . that's even worse."
"Do you want to hear the story, or not?"
"Yeah." He finally nodded.
"The prophecy went something like this: One person will be born into this evil land. One person with the power of . . . the bellybutton. Only that person could defeat the bad king!"
My boy gasped. "Was it me? The one who could fight the bad guy?"
"Mama, wait. Why's it called a button?"
"Ummm. . ." Some things are just too hard to answer wittily in the middle of the night, so I dodged the question and continued with the story instead.
"Well, you didn't want anyone to know that you had a bellybutton! You were the only one in the entire world who could fight the bad guy." The story went on and on. I thought my boy would fall asleep, but he didn't. He just listened about his valiant fights and battles until he stormed the villainous castle (located in the heart of some sand dunes).
"You fought and fought."
"Wow and all because I had a bellybutton!" He lifted up his shirt and smiled fondly at his own tummy.
"After hitting the bad guy in the head, he fell into a deep sleep," I said, trying to finally end the dumbest story known to man.
I had my boy lie back. "Then, you couldn't help it. You had to see a stomach without a bellybutton! You stared at the bad king . . . pulled up his shirt . . ." I turned to my boy, eyes wide and said, "Guess. What. You. Saw?"
"What? What?" he asked. "Mama? What was it? A bellybutton? No bellybutton? A face?"
"A face? No! Instead of a bellybutton there was a note written just to you. 'Zombie Elf,' it said, 'Go to Sleep.'"
"No it didn't say that."
"Oh yes it did. By the way, the bad guy had a bellybutton too. Turns out he was your father."
The Zombie Elf gaped, then as I giggled, he laughed pretty hard too.
"Can I sleep by you tonight?"
"Fine," I said. "But go to sleep right now."
"Only if you'll tell me this story again tomorrow."
"I guess." And that's how the story of the bellybutton began.
Do you ever tell silly stories?