In the dark of the night when the stars twinkle bright and the children are wrapped up for sleep,
when the light becomes dark and the dogs cease to bark, into bed will your Dandlebear creep.
He will lie snug and close, right next to your nose and watch over you until morning comes
And when next day dawns, opening eyes with big yawns, Dandlebear will be ready for fun.
Tilly and Jake were very scared of the dark and when bedtime arrived they were always finding reasons why they should stay up just a little bit later. ‘Look’ said their mother, ‘its time that you were in bed now’, but Tilly and Jake just kept on finding reasons why they could not go to sleep.
Jake was the worst, he just would not put on his pajamas and then, when he had finally managed to pull them on after buttoning them up the wrong way round and getting two legs stuck into one leg and falling over, he would sit down and look glum and refuse to clean his teeth. Tilly was not very much better. She found lots of reasons why she could not go upstairs and would sit on the bottom step and sulk until her mother would become quite cross with her. ‘Tilly’ she would say in a sort of cross voice, ‘go upstairs now and get into your bed,’ but Tilly would stay put, looking cross but feeling sad, whilst her mother and Jake were upstairs trying to find Jake’s new book to read.
Tilly felt tired, but she did not want to go to bed. She did not know why she did not want to go bed, she just knew that bed was not the place she wanted to be. For when bedtime came and her mummy said goodnight, Tilly would feel a great big wave of sadness coming over her and she didn’t want to feel that feeling at all. And so she kept on trying to pretend that she was not tired and she kept on running around the house with Jake so that she did not have to go to bed.
Jake didn’t want to go to bed because he didn’t want to think about the things that he had done with his daddy last weekend. He missed his daddy a lot and wanted to tell his mummy about that but when he tried, his mummy just seemed to get cross with him or somehow she didn’t seem to listen. Jake was worried when his mummy was cross with him, especially when she was cross about daddy. When bedtime came, Jake missed his daddy most of all because that was when his daddy used to read him a story and now he only got to read him a story for two nights at a time not every night and sometimes Jake lost track of when he last saw daddy and when he would next see daddy and so worried that he might not ever see him again. This feeling got worse at bedtime and so Jake did not want to go to bed anymore and ran around the house until his mother became so cross with him that he had to go to bed. Sometimes Jake would cry when that happened and then Tilly would come into his bedroom and they would talk about it very quietly together. Tilly told him that he was a too much of a baby sometimes and that she didn’t feel like that about their daddy. But he knew that she did really, that’s why she came in to see him.
Tilly and Jake got sadder and sadder and things became so bad at bedtime that their mother was quite upset and didn’t know what to do. Fortunately during one of the times that they were with daddy, they were introduced to their Dandlebears and that was the beginning of things starting to look (and feel) a lot better. Though their mummy didn’t know about Dandlebears their daddy did and so the magic began on the morning that they next went to daddy’s house, what a day that was!
Jake had taken his scooter to daddy’s house and Tilly had taken her bike. As daddy came up the path to mummy’s house, both Jake and Tilly held their breath, hoping that mummy would not be cross with daddy again and let them take their things to his house. Sitting at the top of the stairs they could hear their mum and dad talking in a sort of angry way to each other. ‘On no’ said Jake, ‘its not going to turn out well,’ Tilly peered through the bannisters and then jumped back as her mother came to shout up the stairs to them. They went down, not daring to look at their mum and went outside to collect their things. ‘Don’t go near the road on that bike’ shouted their mother as Tilly wheeled it down the path, Jake scooted by her quickly and threw himself and his scooter into the car.’Phew’ both children thought as they drove off down the road, Tilly looked back to see if her mummy was ok as they turned the corner. It wasn’t easy being Tilly and Jake.
At dad’s house they put on their helmets and were soon off up the road with dad on his big bike leading the way. Jake thought he had never felt so happy as he whizzed along the path through the park, daddy looked happy too as he went slowly on his bike, guiding Tilly who was a little bit wobbly still. After a morning in the park they went back to daddy’s house where he got out the ingredients to make pancakes. Jake thought Tilly looked a bit sad as they tossed up the pancakes into the air, she didn’t squeal as much as she did when they made pancakes at mum’s house. ‘Come on Tilly’ said dad, let’s get some maple syrup on these beauties, Jake wondered why Tilly wasn’t eating very much as they sat at the table, he ate all of his pancakes up quickly but Tilly just pushed hers around the plate.
Later that day they were all playing games when Tilly said in a sad sort of voice ‘we used to play this one with mummy.’ Daddy sat back and looked at Tilly thoughtfully. ‘You seem to have been sad all day’ he said in a quiet voice, ‘what’s up Tilly, come and tell me.’
Tilly got up and went to sit next to dad on the settee. She looked at the patterns that she remembered from being a very little girl. ‘I don’t know what’s up,’ she said sadly, but it seems to get worse at night time and I get very tired because I don’t want to go to bed.’
Daddy thought for a while and then jumped up and disappeared upstairs. Tilly and Jake looked at each other, had they made daddy cross, where had he gone. They sat there and looked at the floor and then at the game they had been playing and then they heard daddy running downstairs, they looked up as he came back into the room and to their big surprise they saw two strange looking bears swinging from daddy’s hands, with long arms, very big eyes and paws that were easily as big as the gloves that daddy wore. ‘Here,’ said daddy, this is what you need, ‘it’s time for your Dandlebears to snuggle up with you at night. When children get sad and have no-one to talk to, Dandlebears come to help you to feel better, they can hear what you say without you saying a word and they don’t talk, they just silently let you know what they are thinking.’ Daddy handed Jake one bear and came over to Tilly and put her bear into her arms. The children looked at the bears who stared back solemnly with their big round eyes not blinking. ‘Oh,’ said Tilly in surprise, ‘my Dandlebear has just said hello!’ ‘So has mine’ said Jake with a great big smile and he jumped to his feet, ‘come on’ he said to his Dandlebear, ‘I’m going to show you my scooter’ and he ran off to the garden with his Dandlebear and soon could be seen whizzing up and down the garden path his Dandlebear flying behind him hanging on for dear life with his great big paws.
Tilly didn’t know what was different that day but for sure something certainly changed. When it came to bedtime that night, she didn’t feel scared about climbing into bed, in fact she was happy to do so and made a space next to her for her Dandlebear. ‘Goodnight Tilly’ said her Dandlebear silently, ‘I will be watching over you so off you go to dreamland and I will see you when you wake up again,’ Tilly felt a warm feeling she hadn’t felt before and before she knew it she was asleep, snoring gently as her Dandlebear watched her with big round eyes. Jake climbed into bed too and instead of feeling like crying as he quite often did at daddy’s house when it was time to go to bed, he felt like talking to his daddy and telling him something about what he was scared of at night. Daddy listened and nodded and said to Jake that he would do his very best to talk to his mum about how scared he was and how hard it was to go to bed. ‘You see daddy’ said Jake, ‘wherever I am I am always missing someone, when I am with mum I miss you and when I am with you I miss mum, I just feel as if there is always someone missing.’ ‘I know’ said his dad, ‘and I am glad that you told me, because we do need to help you to feel that wherever we are, we love you and if we are not there then it is hard for us to do that.’ ‘Its not so hard with mum’ said Jake, ‘she’s there all the time or most of the time, I get cross with her sometimes for not letting me see you.’ Daddy looked at Dandlebear, who stared back with his big wise eyes. ‘Your Dandlebear knows’, said daddy, ‘that wherever you are, even if you cannot see me, I love you just the same as I always did, when you feel that I am missing, Dandlebear will remind you that I am not’, won’t you Dandlebear. ‘Of course’ Dandlebear said in his silent way, ‘wherever you are Jake, your daddy loves you and especially at night, when you miss him, I will be there to remind you.’ Jake felt a big change coming over him at these words and climbed into bed. ‘But daddy’, he suddenly said in a worried sort of a way, ‘what if mummy won’t let me take Dandlebear to her house, sometimes she won’t let us take our things to your house.’ ‘Don’t worry’ said daddy, your Dandlebear is small enough to climb into your bag but if mummy doesn’t want Dandlebear at her house, you should know that Dandlebears, when they have been introduced to you, can come with you even if you cannot see them. Just as Dandlebears do not speak but send messages silently to you, they can be with you in your heart and in your mind even if they are not with you in their furry selves.’ Jake looked at his Dandlebear and considered this news. ‘It is true’ said his Dandlebear silently. Jake smiled and reached out for him. Dandlebear snuggled in as Jake lay down to sleep. He could hear his sister snoring gently, his daddy gave him a kiss. Suddenly, the night did not seem so scary anymore and Jake began to feel that finally things might start getting better. ‘Thank you Dandlebear’, he whispered in the dark, ‘thank you daddy.’