Dad, I Can't Sleep


Michael Foreman

Little Panda couldn't sleep.

"Mum!" he called. "Can I have a drink?"

Mum said, "It's your turn, Dad. I've done enough today."

Dad took Little Panda a drink, kissed him goodnight and went downstairs.

"Dad!" called Little Panda. "I still can't sleep. Can I have another drink?"

"No," said Dad. "Go to sleep."

"I can't," said Little Panda.

"Count sheep," said Dad. "Then you'll go to sleep."

"How?" said Little Panda.

Dad climbed the stairs and sat on Little Panda's bed.

"How do I count sheep, Dad?" asked Little Panda.

"Just close your eyes;' said Dad. "Now imagine sheep jumping over a fence. Count them as they jump. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Then you will fall asleep."

Little Panda closed his eyes and counted sheep.

"One. Two. Three. Four. Five and a lamb. Six. Seven and another lamb..."

Quietly, Dad went downstairs.

"Dad! " called Little Panda. "I can t sleep.

"Count sheep!" called Dad.

"I've done that and I still can't sleep," called Little Panda.

"Count something else," shouted Dad. "Count cows! "

Little Panda closed his eyes and counted cows.

"One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Dad! I still can't sleep."

"I am not coming up again! " shouted Dad. "Count pigs or tigers!"

Little Panda counted tigers. "Sixteen. Seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen tigers and three little pigs. Dad! I still can't sleep."

"Count elephants! And I don't want to hear from you again," shouted Dad.

Little Panda counted elephants. "Forty-six. Forty-seven. Forty- eight. Forty-nine."

Then he counted rhinos and hippos, giraffes and polar bears, and still he couldn't sleep.

"Dad! I've counted all sorts of things and I still can't sleep."

"Dinosaurs!" shouted Dad. "Have you counted dinosaurs?"

"No," said Little Panda.

"Well, count dinosaurs. And you know there are lots of different kinds. Make sure you count all of them. AND GO TO SLEEP!"

Little Panda started to count dinosaurs .

"Two hundred and two diplodocuses. Two hundred and three diplodocuses. Two hundred and four diplodocuses. Forty-six stegosauruses. Forty-seven stegosauruses. .."

But still Little Panda couldn't sleep.

"Two zillion pterodactyls. Two zillion and one pterodactyls.. Two zillion and. ..Dad! Dad!"

"What is it now?" yelled Dad, as he threw the laundry at the cat and stomped up the stairs.

He pushed open Little Panda's door.

"Dad," said Little Panda. "We all want a drink."