08/08/2016 09:18 BST | Updated 06/08/2017 06:12 BST

How the Bedtime Story Really Goes Down

Before I had children I had this image in my head of what a bedtime story would look like, it would be filled with sleepy, milky children, snuggles and complete silence as they lay captivated on my every word. Every word. All of them. The reality however is a little bit different...

In our house the current favourite is "The Highway Rat" by Julia Donaldson and whilst it's a little long for the Baby's 15 second attention span, the Big One loves it so it's the story we read every night before bed. I think I've learnt it off by heart now. Trouble is so has the Bisg One so I can't even do my trick of skipping pages because he tells me that I've missed them.

Anyway on with the story.

"The Highway Rat was a baddie.

The Highway Rat was a beast.

He took what he wanted...."



What's a baddie?

Someone who does naughty things.

Like the Baby?

Not really....

"....and ate what he took.

His life was one long feast"

I can't see!

*lower book to eye level and continue on with the story*

"A rabbit came hopping along the road,

Then stopped with her paws in the air,

For blocking her way was the Highway Rat,

who cried out..."


"For I am the Rat of the Highway,

The Highway - the Highway -

Yes I am the Rat of the Highway,

and whatever I want I take."

Lie down

"'I have no buns,' the squirrel replied.

'I just have a sack of nuts.'

The robber snatched the sack and snarled,

I'll have no ifs or buts!"

*starts playing with one of the 16 toys he inisits on bringing to bed*

Do you want me to read this story or not?

*slides toy under duvet and continues playing sneakily*

"'We have no sweets,' the ants replied.

'We just have this nice green leaf.'

'Oh, no, you don't - not any more,' declared the highway thief."

Who's the thief?

The Highway Rat

What's a highway rat?

*grit teeth*

Shall we keep reading and find out?

"But I am the Rat of the Highway -

The Highway - the Highway -

Yes I am the Rat of the Highway,

and I fancy a duck for tea!"

I need a wee.

You've just had a wee.  And you have a pull up on.

"'Hang on,' quacked the duck, 'for I have a sister with goodies you might prefer.

I know that she'd love to meet you

and I'm certain that you'd like her'"

I need milk.

You do not need more milk, one cup is enough

"Onwards they road and upwards -

bend after bend after bend."


"At last they came to a lonely cave,

and the duck began to quack,"






a voice from the cave came back."

Stay on the bed or I'll have to put you in the cot

"The duck took hold of the horse's reins and galloped down the road"


I did warn you that it would be the cot

"And as for the Rat in the echoey cave...."

Where has the duck gone? And the rat? Mummy I can't see.

"he shouted and wandered, till..."

Lie down

"He found his way out of the darkness,

on the other side of the hill."

Lie down, it's bedtime

"A thinner and greyer and meeker Rat,

he robs on the road no more..."

Lie down

"For he landed a job in a cake shop -

A cake shop - a cake shop -"

If you don't lie down then I am not finishing this story

"And they say he still works in the cake shop,

sweeping the cake shop floor."

The End.

Goodnight boys.


Creeps out to sit on the stairs.




Then, like a happy ending, the pair of them give in winding each other up, and GO TO SLEEP!

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A version of this post first appeared on Life with Baby Kicks