The neighbors on the same side of the house as Maddie’s bedroom have a dog. Maddie’s lived on that side of the house all her life, and that dog’s always been there. Luckily, she’d become accustomed to the sounds of the dog playing between the houses.
But lately, that dog’s been getting on in years. And he’s developing a psychotic habit of barking a few minutes after I put Maddie to bed. The first night he did this, Maddie freaked. She just instantly burst into a torrent of tears and wails of terror. It actually took me a few minutes to figure out she was crying at the sound of the dog.
A complication is that she doesn’t have a window in her bedroom to the neighbor’s house. So her room shakes with the barking of the crazy canine, but it’s not clear where the dog is in relation to her. It’s a bit unnerving.
I couldn’t think of anything to say to console her, until an epiphany hit me.
“Maddie, that dog’s barking Goodnight Moon. He’s saying, ‘Goodnight Moon. Goodnight Stars. Goodnight Houses. Goodnight Cars…'”
My little ruse worked. Ever since, when I put Maddie to bed, she’ll ask me, “Doggie go night-night? Doggie say ‘Goodnight moon?'” And I’ll answer, “Yes, Baby. The dog’s going to bark Goodnight Moon soon, and then he’ll go to sleep.” Maddie likes that, and curls up into a comfortable sleeping position for the night.