At any rate, without much energy, I came up with a new strategy: have Colin read stories to Caleb while I put Benjamin to bed. A 5 year old and a 3 year old don't really have it in them to stay quiet on their own, unless put to a task such as this, and quiet is absolutely necessary to get Benjamin to sleep.
The idea jumped in my head one night when Colin asked if he could read his bedtime story to me, instead of me reading it. I readily agreed, and he picked up a book we haven't read in over 6 months - "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." But his fantastic memory didn't fail him, and he recalled every single word. More than that, he "read" the book back in such an expressive voice, it could have been a professional reading for a recording!
Over the past couple of weeks, he has taken his job of reading to Caleb very seriously. As I've listened from the adjoining room, I've discovered just how many books he has memorized! Nearly our entire catalogue of Robert Munsch (always fun to listen to, since his text just begs for a dramatic reading!), plus many of the Little Critter books, some Franklin stories, and many others from our extensive collection.
And if I can peek in before they see me, I see the two of them sitting on Colin's bed, Caleb peering over the page and studying the illustrations while Colin reads the story, his face and eyes and voice all right into the performance. Priceless moments, these are.