I’m up before anyone else in the house most mornings.
Sometimes, Jenny can’t sleep and she’ll get up in the night…drink a glass of water, watch some television, then try and get back to sleep….but I’m usually up when it’s still quiet in the morning.
It has to be pretty early in the morning for it to be quiet.
The past couple of mornings, Nate (our 4-year-old) has gotten up a couple of hours after I have.
I hear him open the door of his room and pad towards me in the darkness.
I can tell it’s him by the weight of the footsteps.
At this point, he doesn’t weigh a whole lot. It kind of sounds like a two-legged dog when he’s walking towards me in the early morning.
What he does carries a lot of weight in our house…but he steps lightly.
When he gets to me, he’s asked, “WHERE’S MOM!?” the last couple of mornings.
Now that I know how irritating the aftermath of my giving him information about her location is, I probably won’t tell him anymore.
I’ll stop writing and go into the living room to watch cartoons or something with him.
But I have to admit, it’s been kind of nice to be able to say, “She’s in our bedroom…but be really quiet….she’s still sleeping.
Come to find out, he wasn’t just going in and quietly laying down by her to go back to sleep for a while.
Come to find out, it wasn’t like that at all.
I wondered about that.
It turns out that he doesn’t like my memory foam pillow with the strange shape.
He likes Jenny’s more traditional pillow.
When he went in to her, one of the first things he did after laying down was to grab the edge of her pillow and pull most of it out from under her head so that he’d have the bulk of it to lay his own head on.
“WE NEED TO SHARE” he’d tell her.
Really, though, how was I to know that “passing the parental buck” would have such devastating consequences for Jenny?
All I was doing was answering a child’s question.
I was only answering a child in need’s question.
Now I know to catch him before he can get in there…maybe buy Jenny another half hour of sleep before she has to get up.
Jenny taught me that was the right thing to do.
I think that I already knew that it was the right thing to do…it just wasn’t what I did.
That whole “need to share” thing is pretty smart.
I could have a pretty good time out in the world if I could remember to use that line more often.
If I could remember that it’s an instructional phrase and not a request, I could have a heck of a lot more fun.
If I saw something that might make my life nicer…something that someone else owns…I could just sidle up to them, drop the “we need to share” bomb, and go enjoy the spoils of my straight forwardness.
Nate’s some kind of genius.
Forget all these self-help books.
I’m going with what my 4-year-old teaches me from here on out.