Sleeping Beauty Stalls…Again

Aunt Angela was over for a rousing game of cards last night. Piper did everything she could to get us not to play. Grown ups playing cards means kids going to bed. Everyone knows that. The shuffling of the deck can only mean defeat.

“Want to play Go Fish?” Piper asked. Her voice had that strained cheeriness which means she’s about twenty seconds from a whining fit but knows if she does, it’s all over.

We played Go Fish.

“Want to sing songs?” Piper asked. She shoved the guitar in Daddy’s lap and generously brought him the song book.

We sang Bob Marley’s greatest hits.

“Want to see my rocks?” Piper asked. She dragged out her new gem collection and offered one to every adult on the porch.

We all picked out rocks and appropriately complimented them.

“Want to read books to me?” Piper asked, crawling up in Aunt Angela’s lap. Aunt Angela’s kids are at camp with Sissy. We’re all missing little people crawling up into our laps. Piper can smell our weakness.

Then she whispered in Aunt Angela’s ear, “I like reading books. Lots of them. It’s the best way to get to stay up later. Just ask for more chapters. Works every time.”

And it did.

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)

Even Sleeping Beauty Stalls

Papa is visiting this week and had the honor of tucking Piper into bed last night.  It can be a full contact sport, but Papa wore the appropriate protective gear.

If you’ve been to our home for dinner, you know that every person within a mile radius is required to come to Piper’s bedside and say good night.  We’ve had a few dinner parties where this made our guests uncomfortable.  “Send up the red head that sat next to whats-his-name!” Piper demands from her throne. You probably know what this ritual is actually about: The Great Stall.  Papa said last night went like this:

Piper: “I’m hot.”

Papa: “Let’s take the quilt off. You can sleep with just a sheet.”

Piper: “I’m cold.”

Papa: “Do you want the quilt back?”

Piper: “No. I need the pink blanket from my closet.”

Papa: “There.  Now you should be comfortable. Good night.”

Piper: “I’m still cold.  I need the other blanket, too.”

Papa: “Okay. Now bedtime.”

Piper: “I’m sweating now. Can I take off my pants?”

Papa: “Whatever makes you comfortable. It’s time for bed, Piper.”

After several rounds of stalling Piper finally admitted her agenda. “Papa,” she said. “I think I really just don’t want to go to bed.”