Black Parent Chronicles, Chapter II: Go The F**k To Sleep Is The Greatest Children’s Book Of All Time
I love my daughter, Harper. I love her more than life, itself.
Harper is my roll dog. And as my roll dog, we ride together like Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey on this journey we call life, while I try to lead her to be a good a person. To be better than me. I encourage my baby to pursue a lot of character traits that will help her on her life journey. For example, I implore her to have the confidence of a mediocre white man; to be polite and well-mannered; to not take shit from anyone; to be proud to be black; to be proud to be a black girl; to be curious; and to read.
Reading is a big deal in our household. This is why we always encourage our friends and family to purchase Harper books, instead of toys. Toys are fine, and obviously holds its place in the Harper hierarchy, but she has really taken to books. In fact, our tradition every night is to read not one, but TWO books. Can y’all believe that shit? My baby doubles down on her love for books every night. And so, because we encourage friends and family to purchase a cornucopia of books, we sometimes lose track of the kind of books that are contained in her impressive and ever growing book shelf.
And well, we lost track of one, in particular.
After our nightly routine of getting her ready for bed, I ordered Harper to go pick out TWO books. Remember, she doesn’t do that one book thing. And so she picks out two books. One book was on computer coding entitled, “Baby Loves Coding!” It was super dope. It’s about a little black girl learning about the coding process in the form of a toy train.
Anyway, after reading that book, we come to the second book. This book was entitled, “Go the Fuck to Sleep.” Now, when I first read the cover, I whispered to myself, “What the fuck?” I then called Harper’s mother into the room and she also mouthed to herself, “What the fuck?” Now, as well know, the vast majority of parents want their kids to:
1.) Shut the hell up
2.) Go the fuck to sleep
However, we as parents have never subscribed to the “shut the hell up” prong (even though Harper will annoy the holy shit out of us) because we want to encourage open and honest communication with our child, along with, as previously mentioned, her having the confidence of a mediocre white man.
However, we FULLY subscribe to the parental scripture of “go the fuck to sleep.” And, here we were, gleefully reading to Harper this fantastic bed time story about a parent’s struggle to get their kid to go the fuck to sleep. It was riveting and breathtaking, with curse words as far as the eyes could read. It was so riveting that I momentarily wondered if this book was sent by God, itself.
In the penultimate page of “Go the Fuck to Sleep,” our magnificent author, Adam Mansbach, brilliantly pens:
“Bleary and dazed I awaken/To find your eyes shut, so I keep/My fingers crossed tight as I tiptoe away/And pray that you’re fucking asleep.“
Every parent can relate to this. Every parent has tucked their little hellion into bed, read them a book, sung a song, patted their backs as the child yawns ever so cutely, and sneak out that b*tch quieter than a colonizer sneaking diamonds out of Sierra Leone.
On the last page of “Go the Fuck to Sleep” (which was illustrated by Ricardo Cortes), Mansback concludes by writing:
“We’re finally watching our movie./Popcorn’s in the microwave. Beep./Oh shit. Goddamn it. You’ve gotta be kidding./Come on, go the fuck back to sleep.”
“Go the Fuck to Sleep” concludes with an epic dose of reality as even with the parent’s best efforts to lure their children to sleep, it doesn’t work. They fail. And as we take that walk of shame back to our children’s bedroom to try and put them to sleep again, while we ourselves are sleepy as fuck, we just have one wish…
That they would just go the fuck to sleep.