After the meal today, which was usually quick since I am under the weather and was longing to get under my covers and stay there, Princess announced, "Ima and Abba, I want to tell you something."
I shot a quick glance at my husband. "This can't be good," I cracked.
Princess waited for quiet, eyebrows raised. "I am going to watch Turtle and Coco-pop, and you are going to nap."
Oh no no no, I was about to say. I had spent two hours this morning cleaning the house of the general messiness that had settled like a fog during the kids weeks long break from school. Sinus pressure or no, I had had enough, and set grimly to the task. I knew what the house would look like even if Princess managed to watch the other two. Which she wouldn't. Princess didn't watch Turtle very well. She manhandled him. She needed him to conform to exactly the game that she had created, and usually within two minutes of their contact together, Turtle was crying and Princess was sent to her room.
Plus, I needed the nap. I was sick. There was no question that Outdoorsman was going to be the one to stay up while I rested. So I gained nothing.
Except he needed to rest too. And there was Princess, her proud visage already crumbling as she read the lines on my face, all poised for a no.
"Isn't that a wonderful offer!" I gushed instead. Outdoorsman turned to me, lips parted, but I has suddenly realized how badly my little girl ached to show us, on her own terms, how big she could be. "We are going to bed," I said, suiting words with actions, "and keep the door closed, and Outdoorsman can you make the baby a bottle, and look what a very big girl I have!"
Through the 45 minutes that Princess rose to the challenge, I could not sleep. I couldn't get my feet warm, and in my dazed state, it took me that long to realize that I should probably put on a pair of socks. Instead,I lay there as little interactions filtered through the closed door.
Turtle cried, and I tensed, but did not get up. she can handle this, I told myself firmly. And if she can't, two minutes of crying won't hurt him. He's a big boy now. I heard Princess shushing, and his crying slowed, then stopped.
I must have drifted off because the next thing I heard was Coco-pop knocking on the bathroom door. "I need the bathroom so badly!" She called. There was a flushing sound, and the door opened. "Wait! Don't go in yet!" Princess' voice.
"But I need--"
"You need to say amen to my bracha first."
There was some mumbling, and then Coco-pop said, "Amen." That one word held a mixture of gravity and delight.
A while later Turtle started crying in earnest and I got out of bed. Princess sat on the floor with him as he thrashed wildly. She looked up at me, away from the crying baby, her face a sun.
I held out my arms, and she ran into them. "He cried and I stopped him. And I played with Coco-pop and it was for a really long time, right? Did you sleep Ima? Did you sleep?"
I was tired and achy. Her face glowed with accomplishment.
"Yes, sweet big big girl. I slept."