Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico “Bad Dreams”

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico.  The backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and astronauts; but he does not like bad dreams. Here is his story:

BF Bad Dream

Baby Frederico woke with a start from another bad dream. His bedroom, though perfectly quiet, seemed to make more noise in the silence of nighttime than it ever did in the light of day. He felt under the pillow for his tiger flashlight that roared into the darkness every time he turned it on, then quickly remembered that the batteries were dead. It always seemed to work in the daytime when he was at his bravest, but in the middle of the night…nothing. Now all he knew to do was wriggle down beneath his favorite Star Wars sheets and hope for morning.

As he lay there in his bed, Baby Frederico wondered about all of this trouble. Bad dreams just seemed to come out of nowhere, with no warning, no help, and no emergency telephone call to alert the family that this would be the night for a bad dream so, “Get your flashlights working and have your bravest stuffed animals standing by.” If only he could plan for it.

Now if there is one good thing about night time that Baby Frederico liked, it had to be that it was the perfect time to think and wonder. And wonder he did…

Then, out of the blue, it hit him! Since there was no real way to know when a bad dream would strike, he would keep something nearby to remind him to not be afraid when he woke up. But what should that something be? Suddenly, he knew just what to do. He couldn’t wait to tell his family about his plan and soon drifted back to sleep.

The sun winked through the curtains of his room as Baby Frederico awoke to the sweet smell of Momma’s famous Italian sausage cooking in the kitchen. When the Frederico family had finally gathered around the table for breakfast, Baby Frederico told them about the bad dream and his big idea. They said, “You are such a good wonderer Baby Frederico! We like the way you think!”

After breakfast, Baby Frederico found an extra large shoebox that once housed his Papá’s old hiking boots – it would be the perfect “Bad Dream Box.” He carefully decorated it with pictures of light sabers, fireworks, the Great Wall of China, bowling balls, Saturn, and monster trucks.  On either end of the box, he drew two longhorn steers he once remembered seeing at a nearby farm and carefully scribbled his favorite word “THINK” along its top. Inside the box, he placed two packs of batteries, three flashlights, his Han Solo figure (“Empire Strikes Back” version of course), and an Incredible Hulk keychain. It was the toughest looking box, inside and out, that he had ever seen.

That night, long after Papá had read him a bedtime story, Momma had given him the last snuggle of the day and Baby Frederico had drifted off into the sleepy night…he woke with a start from another bad dream, grabbed his box and exclaimed, “Bad dreams beware!”  And they did…

Storytellers in the Making

My 8 year-old nephew is here with his sisters enjoying a summer vacation with their grandparents, who live near us on the other side of the farm, and we sat and talked for awhile last evening. He has been having bad dreams…well, one bad dream that recurs time and again, and his description of this dream is something like the great classic pieces of literature that have survived the ages! Now, don’t get me wrong about him. He knows exactly how to act his age and he is boy through and through (just ask us about the time he decided to hook one end of a bungee cord to his electric scooter and the other end to our swingset and then took off), but when he began to tell me about this dream he sat up straight and tall in his chair; even his voice went an octave lower than normal. His eyes were focused straight as an arrow, though not looking right at me, but somewhere off in the distance as he shared his story.

It is a simple dream really, no people other than himself and no elaborate sets – just a very deep and very dark lake, a seemingly endless wooden bridge, and a large circle that turns around in the middle of the lake. The bridge leads to the circle, always to the circle, no matter which way you are walking on the bridge. He says, “I just want to get somewhere else and find people, but the bridge keeps bringing me right back to the middle of this big lake and I end up sitting on this circle…thinking and thinking.”

Read his quote there one more time. Do you see it? That is a STORY my friends. He is a writer, a storyteller, a master at describing what he knows…and he doesn’t even realize it yet. My kids and yours are the same. They have stories to tell, things they know and understand that rest rumbling somewhere inside them just waiting to make their debut, to share with someone, anyone, who acts like they want to listen.

Something in the telling of his bad dream has helped my nephew, at least for now. We ended up deciding the stuff going on in his dream could really be quite an adventure after all, so he is making himself a boat out of different objects lying around the house and is going to sleep with it. I imagine you too can see the logic in creating such a boat. If you can’t, ask your kids and I bet they can tell you…all they’ll need is a moment of your time.

Books and Dreams

Father Knows Five

Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” style list of 5 unique videos, articles, ideas, etc. from all kinds of locations. See you next week…

1. A Patch of Black by Rachel Rooney and Deborah Allwright (Macmillian Children’s Books, 2012) – What a great video version of this book to share with your young ones! My 2-year old niece watched it with me and thought it had all been written for and about her. I was really afraid of the dark as a boy so a book like this just makes sense of it all…

2. The Amazing Skills of Brass Vevo – how great would it be to see this group read a book to kids!

3. “Biografias,” by Alicia Martin at Casa de America, Madrid. “5,000 Books Pour Out of a Building in Spain”. Details and more at

book spill

4. A Classic Literally Rises From the Deep – the scene in the TV adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in which Colin Firth as Mr Darcy emerges from a lake has been reconstructed in the Serpentine in central London’s Hyde Park.

5. Any website with the words “Barbaric Archipelago” and “Learn to Write Dragonese” is worth a visit. It’s from the author of the series, How to Train Your Dragon. My nephews are all over it! Here’s the link: