So I made up a story with him when we were sitting next to the lake looking at boats earlier in the week. It goes something like this....
My little guy got in the wheelhouse (I know sailboats don't have wheelhouses, but we're saying this one did), and I pulled out the sails. The wind started blowing, and the water started rippling. A huge gust of wind took us away quickly - suddenly we flew up in the air and sailed through the clouds. We waved at the geese and ducks and airplanes that we passed. And we sailed all the way to Africa.
(This is the part where my son's eyes light up and he says, "Mali?")
The wind stopped just when we reached Mali. Our sailboat landed. And there was his dad. His dad said, "Hello!" and was so happy we stopped for a visit.
We decided to take some African animals for a ride. (This is the part where the story varies every time - last night, he wanted his siblings to come too - and they each rode on the back of a different animal.) He climbed up high on the neck of a giraffe and touched the trees. Then he rode a baby zebra, and I took a ride on a mommy zebra. Then a lion walked up to us, but it was a nice lion named Simba (not the zebra and human eating kind). The lion had a huge beard like my husband, and we petted his beard.
Next, we all climbed onto camels and took a very nice trip across the Sahara (which I think is in Algeria, the country next door to Mali). When we returned, we petted the rainbow colored lizards that had become good friends with my little guy's dad.
Suddenly we heard the wind blowing and knew we had to say good-bye. We got back in our sailboat and waved good-bye while the wind pushed our boat back to the lake near our home. We docked the boat and said thank you. We promised each other we would come back tomorrow and visit his daddy again.
Probably not the best children's story ever, but every night this week, this is what has comforted my son so he could go to sleep without the snoring of his dad. Four more days...forever.