Sleeping With the Enemy

Morality seems a funny thing to a preschooler. Piper has been sorting, testing, and trying to understand this whole right and wrong thing. The practice comes with a lot of questions and challenges.  You may recall in my post Careless Whispers she wondered if no one hears her say mean things whether they still count. They do. Just so you know.

Piper was having a similar dilemma last night about following rules. It was bedtime and she was knee deep in Barbie drama. She didn’t want to stop playing but she knows the bedtime rule. It’s non negotiable in our house. Kids need sleep. Parents need a break. It’s best for everyone. Thus, the testing began.

“Question! Can I just bring my Barbies to bed with me?” Piper asked.

“You can sleep with them. You can’t play with them, though. It’s time for bed,” I answered.

“But how will you know if I’m playing?”

“Piper, you’ll know you’re breaking a rule. You’ll know it’s not the right thing to do.”

“Question! What happens if I get caught?”

“I will take the Barbies away and I’ll be disappointed that you didn’t follow a rule.”

Piper collected the Barbies and tucked them into bed beside her. She spent a minute rearranging their accessories. Then she rolled away from them.

“Question! Do you check on my at night?”

“Yes, I do. I like to make sure you’re okay.”

“Question! How often do you check on me? And when?”

“Well, I peek in a few minutes after I say good night. Then I look again before I go to bed. And when I wake up early to write, I usually glance in then, too.”

At this point I could see the wheels turning in the Piper mind. She really wanted to play with those Barbies but she really didn’t want to get caught. Would the joy of playing with them outweigh the risk of losing them?

“Ah!” Piper said. “I’ve got it! Can I play with the Barbies in my bed when I wake up?”

“You know the rule. If it’s dark outside, you’re sleeping. Your body needs the rest to be healthy. You can’t wake up in the middle of the night and play. If it’s morning, you can stay in your bed and play with the Barbies.”

That seemed to satisfy the Piper. She said good night to me and to the Barbies. As I was walking out the door, she made her final push toward moral certainty.

“Okay, Mom. But don’t forget to check on me. I’m going to need you to do that.”

Sleeping Beauty (Barbie Golden Book)

Hoarding for Beginners

Please send help.  Call one of those hoarding shows.  We have a problem.  During a perfectly lovely playdate this afternoon my friend’s baby pulled himself up on the ottoman in our living room and moved the lid ever so slightly.  Just enough for me to discover what Piper had been hiding inside:

Yes, those are dirty socks hoarded away in the ottoman.  And a few pairs of underwear for good measure.  The culprit is clear. The rainbow puppy paw prints on the size 4T undies really gave it away. Apparently, when you’re watching TV on the couch in our house and feeling…shall we say…constricted… you strip off the offending clothing and stuff it in our ottoman.  For weeks. You can put your leftover cereal in there, too, rather than walk the ten feet to the kitchen. Do I need to tell you about the smell?  I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask. “Piper, why did you stuff your dirty clothes and leftover food in there?”

“I’m saving it.”

“For what?”

“Later.”

I understand that kids hoard. They collect stuff, like trash. Some even do so for a useful purpose.  Maybe even like this:

This is what Piper’s big sister does with her own hoarding.  She creates sockfits, which is a full line of Barbie clothing made out of mismatched socks. She designs and sews them herself. Somehow, this hobby has moved my response from reproachful disdain to admirable frugality. Our friends now save the orphaned socks from their laundry and bring them over to our house for fashionable recycling. Piper’s hoarding, though, hasn’t yet evolved.  She’s still in the denial phase.  She doesn’t have a problem.  Isn’t it normal to sleep in a bed with 34 stuffed animals? And doesn’t everyone need seven baby blankets to keep warm at night? There’s hardly a spare inch in the bed for the little hoarder.  And that’s exactly as she likes it.