The Bedtime Olympics!

Erin and me in the glory days of her kidhood

Like most kids, my daughter Erin was a pro at delaying bedtime. She’d ask for a glass of water (“Water for the daughter!”), then ask for a bedtime story—one from a book, followed by an original “Super Erin!” story. Then she’d be hungry (I’d sneak her bread and butter sometimes when her mom thought she was sleeping). Then it was time to rub her back (“Stay with me until I fall asleep, Daddy”).

I used to tell her, “If there was ever a Bedtime Olympics, you’d win a gold medal!”

Years later, when I was writing cartoon ideas for Strange Brew, a nationally syndicated cartoon panel originated and drawn by John Deering of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, it occurred to me that Erin’s bedtime stalling would make a great cartoon. John agreed, and was kind enough to use Erin’s real name to make it even more special!

So the night before Erin left to go to college in England for five months, we went to a restaurant and I presented her with the framed original artwork of the cartoon you see below. It was a very nice moment and it was fun to reminisce about those long-ago evenings when Erin would manage to stay up much later than she should!

Yes, there is a Nirvanah; it is in leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem.
Kahlil Gibran

Erin’s nightly manipulations also inspired me to write a kids’ poem:


At night, if I’m a sleepyhead,
My Mommy tucks me into bed.
If I’m not tired, that is when
I like my Dad to tuck me in!

‘Cause when I say, “Dad, I love you,”
He does whatever I want him to!
I tell him I’m lucky to be his daughter …
He gets me an ice-cold glass of water!
I tell him my friends like his rugged good looks …
He reads me two of my favorite books!

Then I kiss his cheek with a nice loud smack,
And ask him to pretty please rub my back.
And if I play my cards just right,
I get to stay up half the night!

If I’m lucky enough to have grandcubs, I look forward to the nights when they too go for the gold!

Click here to see my Strange Brew cartoon about my dog Kip’s controversial addiction!

Click here to view all my posts about parenting.

Click here to see all my humorous posts.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

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SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

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2 Responses to “The Bedtime Olympics!”

  1. Erin Says:

    Good post Daddykins!

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Honey the Bear!

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