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Bedtime for the Toddler: A Shakespearean Tragedy in Three Parts

Nov 06, 2023Nov 06, 2023

June 7, 2023 by Shannon Carpenter Leave a Comment

Scene: Hallway. Deep night. The kingdom sleeps, except for the toddler.

Toddler: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

Parent, (confused): Why are you out of bed?

Toddler, (defiant): I said but soft, what light through yonder window breaks!

Parent: Um, you mean the moon? I just put you to bed. Why are you up?

Toddler moves toward parent, the back of his hand placed against his forehead. He looks longingly at the ceiling for some reason only he knows.

Toddler: To sleep, – To Sleep! Perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!

Parent: Oh lord, here we go with the drama. Look, just go back to bed. I’m tired of doing this every night.

Toddler: There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Parent: That’s it, no more YouTube videos for you. And my name is not Horatio. My name is Dad, and it’s about to be angry Dad if you don’t go back to bed.

Toddler, moving to stage left: Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.

Parent, (Frustrated): Why are you always so dramatic?

Toddler: I want a snack.

Parent, (defeated): Fine. One snack and then back to bed.

Scene: A hour later. Parent’s bedroom. Toddler stands silhouetted in the door; a black shape highlighted by low light. Thunder crashes.

Toddler, (basic dramatic): Ill met by moonlit, proud Titania.

Parent, (heartattacky): Holy crap you scared the bejesus out of me! Don’t stand in the doorway like the creepy kid from The Ring! And stop saying weird things! This is why I’m on Xanax.

Toddler, (more dramatic): Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Parent, (exasperated): I knew I shouldn’t have gotten you those Shakespeare books. Should have tried to keep you stupid. Now it’s all Hamlet this, Macbeth that. I am so exhausted. What’s wrong this time?

Toddler, (more, more dramatic): The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was.

Parent (sleepingly): Did you have a bad dream? Is that what you are trying to say? Then just say that. I don’t understand why we have to do this every night.

Toddler (with circus dramatics): The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.

Parent (givenupinly): Are you talking about the boogeyman? Something in your closet? Can’t you just talk normally? Forget it, climb in bed. But if those cold feet kick me in the junk, I’m sending you to the basement.

Toddler (victoriously dramatic): I was with Hercules and Cadmus once.

Parent (defeated): Go to bed.

Scene: Ten minutes before dawn. Kitchen. Parent hears a crash and comes rushing into the scene from stage right.

Parent: What was that sound?

Toddler MacBeth: Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!”

Parent: Why is there milk all over the floor?

Toddler King Lear: I am a man more sinned against than sinning.

Parent: Don’t gaslight me. It’s not time for breakfast. Get back in bed!

Hamlet Toddler (holding up frozen waffle): O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt. Thaw and resolve itself into dew!

Parent: We are not having waffles at dawn! GO TO BED!

Marc Antony Toddler: I found you as a morsel cold upon dead Caesar’s trencher!

Parent: That sounds like a threat.

Romeo Toddler: Yup.

Parent: You’re pushing it.

Much Ado About Nothing Toddler: You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the job.

Parent: Why do you have to be so mean?

Caesar Toddler: He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

Parent: Dude, chill.

The Tempest Toddler: Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.

Parent: Ok. Ok. I get it. I’ll make breakfast.

The Taming of the Shrew Toddler: The poorest service is repaid with thanks.

Parent: Just stop screaming.

Hamlet Toddler: I think therefore I am in charge of your phone. Hand it over so I can be entertainth while you labor for my breakfast.

Scene End: Parent hands over their phone before putting frozen waffles in the toaster. As the parent falls asleep on his feet, the toddler orders 300 fidget spinners from Amazon.

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This Post is republished on Medium.

Photo credit: iStock

Filed Under: Families, Featured Content Tagged With: children, fatherhood, fathers, humor, kids, mental health, parenting, Shakespeare

Act I—The Awakening Scene:Toddler:Parent, (confused):Toddler, (defiant):Parent: Toddler:Parent:Toddler: Parent:Toddler, moving to stage left:Parent, (Frustrated):Toddler:Parent, (defeated):Act II—A Midsummer’s Nightmare Scene:Toddler, (basic dramaticParent, (heartattacky):Toddler, (more dramatic):Parent, (exasperated):Toddler, (more, more dramatic):Parent (sleepingly):Toddler(with circus dramatics):Parent(givenupinly):Toddler (victoriously dramatic):Parent (defeated): Act III—The MeltdownScene: Parent:Toddler MacBeth: Parent:Toddler King Lear:Parent:Hamlet Toddler (holding up frozen waffle):Parent:Marc Antony Toddler:Parent:Romeo Toddler:Parent:Much Ado About Nothing Toddler:Parent:Caesar Toddler:Parent:The Tempest Toddler: Parent:The Taming of the Shrew Toddler: Parent:Hamlet Toddler:Scene End: