Cradle and all

Yesterday Leta woke up at 6:45 just to let us know that she was in a bad mood and had no one to share it with. We had been out late the night before idiotically participating in activities that would require a lot more than a night’s sleep to recover from and so were ill-prepared for the assault. All morning she repeatedly poked at our bodies like a swarm of hungry vultures and loudly grumbled about her breakfast of chocolate candy. She had asked for chocolate candy, and I had given it to her gladly, but now that it sat before her, now that she could indulge herself without having to earn it, without having to manipulate The Earthlings, it just didn’t taste as good as it should.

Her prickly attitude continued all morning until about thirty minutes before her scheduled nap time when she started to mope wearily in circles around the coffee table. I asked her if she wanted to go play in her room, and she looked up at me and said something completely unintelligible, something like, “Meeep ooooh errrp in.” I said, uh huh, okay, why didn’t you say that in the first place? And then she came over to me and grabbed my hand. I followed her back to her room where she walked over to the crib, gripped two of the white bars with her chubby fists, and started yanking with impatient desperation. She looked like she was calling for the warden to come let her back into her prison cell.

“Night-night,” she said, so I took off her shoes, changed her diaper and lifted her into her crib. She was asleep within a couple minutes. It took me at least ten times as long to figure out what had just happened.

Last night she did the same thing at bedtime. She asked for a bath an hour before the usual time, and after we zipped up her fleecy pink pajamas she walked straight to the crib and once again called for the warden. She didn’t want any stories or group hugs or any of the other ritualistic hubbub that would only get in the way of her head and that mattress. So I gave her a kiss, put her to bed and turned off the light. After I shut her door I stood in the hall for a few seconds to take it in: my two-year-old just asked to go to bed for the second time. In one day.

My satisfaction in that moment was so explosive that it almost blew the roof off the house. Because that? THAT? That is all I ever wanted in a child.