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The Mattress Lesson

Teachings of a Child

by Hal Evan Caplan
January 1, 2011

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The Mattress Lesson

     My Child is my teacher and I learn lessons from him on a regular basis. The lesson locations can be anywhere and usually I don't even see the lesson until it is completed and over with. My teacher's lesson plans come day or night and have neither boundaries nor guidelines. They just happen. He is an excellent teacher and I love learning from him.

     Since my teacher is growing and becoming a "big-boy", as he puts it, my wife and I needed to make adjustments in order to accommodate the fact that he is growing up. The basic changes are clothes size, shoe size, toys and TV shows/movies just to name a few.  One day my teacher and I were discussing the fact that he is growing and because of this he would need some "new" items go along with this change.

    "Okay, dad, you have got to see this, then..." He started.

     "What's that?" I asked.

     "Just follow me." He insisted.

     He then zipped up the stairs and called for me as he turned the corner toward his room. I trotted up the stairs after him, eager to see what he planned on showing me. As I entered his room, I found him on his bed stretched out with his arms above his head and his legs as straight as he could get them with his toes pointed. My guess is, this was all an effort to make himself appear taller than he actually was. As he did this, both his arms and legs hung off the ends of the mattress. Now you have understand, this mattress was from his baby bed. It was later placed on his race car bed when he was a little older.

     "See dad, see?" He showcased.

     "See what?" I questioned.

     "Don't you see how huge I am now?" He expressed.

     "Yes, I do see that you are growing." I agreed.

     "Well...?"

     "Well, what?" I asked not really sure what he was trying to say.

     "Dugh, I need a big boy mattress." He pointed out.

     Actually, he had a valid point. His old mattress was from his baby bed and I guess I really hadn't noticed the smaller size of his current mattress because each time he was in bed; he would curl up into a ball, as this was his favorite position to sleep in. I then agreed it was time to buy a big boy mattress for his big boy bed.

     We decided to go look into one of those specialty mattress stores that brag about their prices as well as the amount of mattresses they carry in stock. As my wife and I spoke to the salesman, my teacher decided this was a great opportunity to go around to all, and yes, I mean all, of the mattresses in the showroom and of course lay down on each one them in an effort to "try them all out".

     His favorite beds were the mattresses that raised, vibrated and massaged. Matter of fact, he would not get off the one mattress that did all three. We were lucky enough to be the only people in the show room at the time. Our goal was to find the mattress that suited my teacher the best. What I did not know at that time was my teacher had already formulated his lesson plan.

     "Ahhhh...  that hits the spot." He said as he lay there with his body giggling like a large bowl of jello from the vibration of the bed.

      "How can that be comfy? It appears you are giggling off the bed." I voiced.

     "Oh, This feels good... This feels good." He said over and over.

     "Do you have it on the toss-me-on-the-floor setting?" I spurted out.

     "No, it's on the highest setting." He replied.

     "Uh-hugh, that's what I figured."

     Then he heard some voices echo from across the room. Some customers had walked in. His eyes lit up with excitement because of this, but I'm not really sure why.  He sat up, climbed out of the bed and raced in the direction of the people with the intention to greet them as if he worked there. The sales person excused himself briefly so he could introduce himself and let the people know he would be with them shortly.

     As the salesman walked us around the showroom, explaining the differences of the mattresses that we showed interest in, I turned to make sure my teacher was behaving himself. I had to take a double-take because I was sure I had not seen what I thought I just saw. My teacher had convinced the couple to try out the beds. The husband was in one bed, as my teacher worked the remote for the man and the wife was in a separate bed and my teacher was working that remote as well. He had two different settings going on with the two of them. The man was lying flat with the message option running. The woman was inclined with the vibration option going. All the while he spoke to them as if he knew about the differences of the beds as he paced back and forth in front of them. Here is the funny thing; the salesman overheard what my teacher was telling the couple, and he was correct in his descriptions of the beds.

     I asked the salesman if my teacher sold the bed to the couple if we would get a discount. The sale person replied by asking if my teacher was looking for a job. We all chuckled. I then apologized to the couple because I did not want them to feel like my son was bothering them. They replied that he was not a bother, but rather very helpful, as he continued to showcase the different options the bed had.

     Finally, my wife and I decided on the bed for my teacher. At this time we called my teacher over from his sales duty. We wanted him to see the bed we planned on purchasing for him. Of course my teacher was not impressed with our decision since it did not have any of the features he had grown accustom to since entering the mattress store.

     "This isn't the one I want, where is the up and down button and where is the giggle button?" He questioned.

     "This is the mattress you are getting." Both my wife and I voiced in unison.

      Even though he voiced his opinion of the bed and didn't really want the model we showed him, he quickly went back to his "peeps", as he phrased it. In case you didn't know; this word is slang for people. Both my wife and I shook our heads.

      As the salesman was working on the paperwork, I decided to stroll over to where my teacher was "working", just to see what was going on. I found my teacher reading to the couple. Okay, are you ready for this... He was laying down on the left side of the king size fully-loaded-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles mattress; the woman was lying next to him and the man was laying down on the next bed over from them. My teacher was reading his book aloud to them. Once he completed the chapter, we got ready to head out the door.

      The couple had expressed to me that not only was my teacher a very sweet boy, but that he was also very knowledgeable with the beds and a pleasure to listen to him read since he was an excellent reader.  He just smiled as he heard this come out of their mouths.

     We walked towards the truck. My teacher gleamed. Then he decided to question my reading habits.

     "You never read, dad." He said.

     "What do you mean, I never read... I always read." I exclaimed.

     "Well, I never see you read." He shot back.

     "Just to remind you, the nights I put you to bed, I READ to you! Remember? AND the time I usually read is after you are asleep; when I climb into bed to wind down." I pointed out.

     "Well, you just need to read more then, dude." He expressed.

     Just as a side note, as of late, I am now being referred to as, "dude".

     In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: No matter what age you are, or no matter where you are, it is important to always find the time to read.

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PO BOOKS BY HAL EVAN CAPLAN
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
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A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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More by Hal Evan Caplan
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