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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Enemy of the Sleep

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 By

Emerson and I have had a relaxing, laughter-filled weekend at my parents' house. We didn't do anything super special, except hang out with my nephews, go to the bookstore, and play with a kit called Disgusting Science. FYI, that ain't false advertising.

But she can't calm down. She's on her top bunk, and I'm on her bottom. And there is apparently no end to the hilarity spilling from the menagerie of stuffed animals tucked in with her.

I blame the llama. They're just funny animals.

"Em, stop talking and singing, baby," I say. "I want still and quiet, please."

"Okay, mama," she says.

It's quiet for about 7 seconds. Then I hear her whispering.

Y'all, Scott and I talk a lot, but even we shut up when we sleep. Well, okay, I shut up when I sleep. I give her a few minutes to dial it back, but nothing changes.

"Em, stop playing with your animals, or I will take them away."

"Aw, mannn..."

There is silence. And then, psspsspsspsspsspsspss... (giggle) psspsspsspsspss (teehee)

"Young lady, I am trying to sleep. Hand them down to me."

She hands me the llama (knew it!), a pink skirted ballerina bear, a Cabbage Patch preemie. But I know it's Cinderella causing all the ruckus. She may be tidy and good with rodents, but she's a mouthy little servant.


Down comes a stuffed Pinky, along with The Brain. Another Cabbage Patch doll. A Beanie Baby.

"Em, come on! I'm tired."


She hands me Cinderella, that chatty little heifer.

"Thank you. Now shut it, sweetie. It's very late. No more talking up there."


I snuggle back into the blankets, and hear nothing more from her. If she can keep it up for 5 minutes, I think I can fall asleep. One minute passes. It's a good measure of whether or not she'll settle down for the night. Two minutes pass. I relax, and let myself really enjoy the sensation of relaxing in soft blankets. Three minutes pass, and I feel my mind begin to allow thoughts to fade unanswered. Four minutes.

Something brushes my face!
I start, with a shriek, and am met with an answering frightened cry.
I flick on the light.

"Hi, Mama," she says, her nose a centimeter from mine. "You skeered me!"

"Emmie, what are you doing? ... And how did you get down without me hearing you?"

"I sneaked! I'm a good sneaker."

"What. Are. You. DOING?"

"I jus' wan-ned to tell you sumpeend," she says, solomnly.


"I jus' wanna tell you dat you da bes' mom in da world."

"Thank you, sweetie. But couldn't you have told me from your bed?"

"You tole me not to talk up der."

I review the conversation in my mind. Stop talking and singing. I'm trying to sleep. Give me your toys, and no talking 'up there.' At no point did I specify that she had to go to sleep.

This child is definitely going to law school.

"Okay, smarty, I want you to get up in your bunk bed, lie down, close your eyes, be still, don't talk, don't sing, don't play, and... stay in your bed!" I tell her. "It is time for both of us to go to sleep!"

She stares at my face, mouth open, mind churning. She can see no way out of it.

"Aw, mannn!" she manages to climb her ladder and stomp at the same time. She flops down on her mattress and sighs dramatically.

"And I love you, Doodle."

Her face pokes over the side, and she gives me a wry grin.

"I lub you, too, mama - an' mama?"
"You berry smart."
"So are you, Em."
"I know. Goonight, mama."
"Good night, Doodle."