Ralfie Hazelnut is spending a night at the Peachblossoms'. He and the cubs have spent the afternoon playing games and now it is time to get ready for bed.
As you can see, Portia's sheep are fast asleep.
Orangine Peachblossom has already placed Ralfie's cozy sleeping bag onto the floor between Paul and Portia's beds.
The only one who doesn't seem ready for bed is Ralfie.
"Stop wiggling and hitting me with your legs, Ralfie!" orders Paul.
"Doing parent stuff is harder than I thought..." he says to himself. Ralfie is so energetic! Paul didn't imagine it would be that hard to take the clothes off a baby squirrel.
In the meantime, Portia has taken off her dress and placed it on the chair in the corner.
She lets Ralfie hop into her bed while Paul takes off his dungarees.
"Do your mommy and daddy read you stories and show you picture books and give you hugs and kisses and warm glasses of milk and tuck you in at night at all??" Ralfie asks Portia with very little hope. He is suddenly missing his parents very much...
"Why of course they do. I mean, not exactly all of those things. But Daddy sometimes reads us stories and Mummy has a special goodnight ritual for us," Portia replies.
"Huh? Goodnight what?" asks Ralfie.
Instead of an answer, Portia walks to the dresser and takes a large cardboard box off the top shelf.
Paul lays his clothes on top of Portia's dress as tidily as possible. Then he pauses. His red scarf looks like a curled up cobra about to pounce...
"Here, look," explains Portia to Ralfie. "Before we go to sleep, Mummy tucks us in and gives us our magical key to Dreamland. The key with the pink gem is mine."
"Ooooh!" says Ralfie intrigued. "And what happens then?"
"Then," Portia continues, we lie in our beds and imagine the door to Dreamland. It is right in front of you, you know. You just have to close your eyes. Once you see it, all you need to do is use the key to open it and then you can walk around Dreamland the entire night and do whatever you want."
"Wow!" whispers Ralfie in amazement. "Whatever I want..."
Paul has managed to free himself from the red cobra's deadly stare and give his stuffed animal a goodnight kiss. Now Portia tucks him in.
"Thanks Portia," says Paul. Then he adds, "Porsh? Where are you going to sleep tonight?
"What do you mean?" His sister replies.
Then she realizes what Paul is talking about. Ralfie has fallen asleep in Portia's bed with his fuzzy little paw around her key.
She didn't even have time to explain to him that after ten minutes Mummy comes back in, puts the magic keys back into the box and gives them a goodnight kiss...
"He looks like he's unconscious, Porsh! It must be from all that wiggling and jiggling around when I undressed him. That would wear anybody out!" says Paul.
Suddenly Mrs Peachblossom enters the room.
"Hello, my dears!" she says with a smile. "I see you have all gotten ready for bed!" she praises them.
"Mother, I'll have to sleep on the FLOOR tonight!" wails Portia. "Ralfie fell asleep in my bed!"
Orangine lifts up the pink blanket and takes the gold key out of Ralfie's hand. Then she and her daughter stand and stare for a moment at the chubby little squirrel lying on his tummy and breathing so peacefully.
"Aren't babies lovely?" says Orangines quietly. "You and your brother's legs were just as short when you were little!"
"Yeah, Mum, he's adorable, but WHERE am I going to sleep tonight??" urges Portia.
"Don't fuss, darling," says Mrs Peachblossom while gently picking Ralfie up into her arms and sliding him into his sleeping bag.
"You don't need any magic to handle a baby squirrel once it's asleep."
"See?" she says while carefully laying the Ralfie-cocoon onto the floorboards. "Easy peasy."
Portia cuddles up in bed and watches her mother give Ralfie a tender goodnight kiss. She is happy to have such a gentle and calm mother. Hopefully she can become like her some day.
"Goodnight my dears! I love you!" says Orangine before turning off the lights.
❤ Dear friends, have a wonderful week! ❤
(And if you ever find a baby squirrel sleeping in your bed,
please retrieve it as gently as Orangine Peachblossom.)
🌜 🐹 🍼 🌛