"I’m a midnight toker …."
Getting older shows no sign of easing Annabels’ stubborn streak and this is never more apparent than at bedtime.
As always, M and I go our slightly separate ways; me with Joseph and M with Annabel. Joseph reads me his school books, I read him a library book and then it’s lights out. He accepts this without question, usually because he is so tired. I give him a kiss, he enquires if “Mummy is coming to give me a kiss?” to which the answer is always, “of course she is” and that is that; you won’t hear from him again.
And now to Annabel.
She has gotten herself into a little routine which she finds hilarious, M puts up with and I see no humour in it at all (well, maybe a little).
Yeah, yeah, whatever, I’m a grumpy bugger, talk to the hand.
The routine goes something like this;
M reads her a story – usually one Annabel knows well – and, as M gets to the last page but one, Annabel announces that “I don’t like this one” and threatens to cry if she doesn’t get another.
(With me, she waits for the last page and then sticks her forefinger in the air and says, “just one more story, just one more, to which I say no, threat or no threat).
Yeah, yeah, talk to the hand again.
M reads another short story, goes to say goodnight and Missy says she needs the toilet. She gets to the toilet, sits down before announcing that she actually needs a poo, not a wee. This coincides with me coming OUT of Josephs’ bedroom and I walk past the bathroom door and peer in to see her face scrunched up with effort, trying desperately to shift something, anything to prolong her extra time awake.
Well, job done, back to bed and M has kissed her again and calls me, telling me that “Annabel wants her Daddy”. As always, I give her a kiss, asked if she had a nice day and make to leave her room. “Light game”, she says, more of an order than a request and, when this is complete, I say goodnight (again) and leave the room.
Anyway, she allows us both time to get to the bottom of the stairs – the bottom one’s creak – and mentally gives us about a minute before calling out.
And so, one of us (she usually sees who it is that enters her room before saying she wanted the other parent) goes up to see what she wants and it is at this point that she chooses from her ever increasing list of excuses and also exercises her very quick wit.
Her regularly used list reads something like this:
My knee is broken
My nail is ripped
Look, my shin is better (scab fell off two weeks ago)
Is Jou-Jou sleeping?
I’m hot / I’m cold
She actually asks M to “tuck her in”, even when it’s 25 degrees outside, just so that she can later yell out “I’m hot”. I now say to her, “don’t forget, if you get hot, just take your arm out from under the covers and you will get cool”.
This is why she doesn’t often use this excuse anymore.
An absolute corker of an excuse which she only ever used once was when she called out for “Mama”. When M got there she called out for “Dada” too and when I got there, she looked around the room, trying to think of something to say and all she could think of was, “I wanna say goodnight to the toilet”.
This prompted a “you’ve got to be kidding” burst of laughter from me and a stern (but always patient) “that’s enough now” from M.
Missy burst into tears that we had seen right through it and, to her credit, has never bothered with that one again.
Let’s see what excuses tonight brings.