Because there’s still plenty to talk about.
I’m writing this at 9pm at night, next to the wife in bed, with not a single kid in here or even on the same floor, so I will start with our current nighttime ritual. Yes, we were very longstanding hanger-oners when it came to co-sleeping. But last summer we realized that we were married to each other, not the kids. So began a gradual transition that has us here, in the upstairs master bedroom that went unoccupied for almost the first two years of living in this house.
Nashi being six, having long since dropped his nap, and historically quick to fall asleep, has done just fine. Papaya being three, still taking a nap, and historically taking forever to fall asleep, has been a different story. Back when we had the bedroom next door, one of us parents would read them a few stories, turn on sleep music, then turn off the lights. Papaya would then proceed to come out three or four times after that with some excuse to interact. She developed a sequence of go-to’s that would look like this:
- I’m thirsty
- I need to go potty (she doesn’t, but she’s so committed she’ll often go through the entire charade of going to the bathroom, closing the door behind her, and flushing the toilet to make it seem like it was real, not realizing she has to give it a minute to really sell this story – but for a three year old, I’m impressed and also shiver at the thought of how this instinct will evolve over time)
- I need the stuffy (that’s not in her room that she had no previous interest in)
- Let me tell you one more thing, when I wake up in the morning I’m going to give you and Mama a present (she never gives us a present, although I’ve since learned she means a snuggle, and it’s exclusively for Mama and not me, even though she promises it to me too)
Once we moved upstairs, her reemergence after lights out came fast and furious, usually packed in a ten minute sequence. Which would be fine, but she would still come out fifteen and thirty minutes later as well, making the journey up the stairs to our room. As we’ve spent the past couple of months trying to deal with it, it’s gotten a little better. Now she usually pushes her bed next to Nashi’s and gets into bed with him. They both like this plan, and for some reason enjoy doing it after we leave the room. Maybe they think they’re being sneaky. This is their first experience having true alone time together, and I want to know what they are talking about. Modern technology makes this a very easy task, but this is sacred space and damnit it’s actually none of my business what they talk about so out of it I shall stay.
Things change pretty quickly around here these days. Even during this transition of sleeping arrangement, Papaya used to say “I’m stirsty” for what felt like the longest time but has since corrected the word. Some other things that aren’t that old but are already outdated:
- Papaya’s go to joke used to be “what if our house was a banana!” and would crack up each time. She thought it was such a solid mood-lightener that she’d also bust it out anytime a parent was mad at her to try and make us happy again.
- Papaya says to Nashi, “if someone says butt cheek they will go to jail.” Nashi replies, “no but if a grown up says butt cheek in public they will probably go to jail.”
The siblings have random sweet moments, like spontaneous hand holding in the car. Nashi made an origami present for Papaya a few months back and she casually responded “thank you, I love you.” To which Nashi said “I love you too.” For us parents, Papaya reserves a healthy array of responses. Here’s a head scratcher: Once, Mama approached Papaya saying “I need to put sunscreen on your face.” Her response? “Fine then I’m not letting you put sunscreen on my face” and walks away.
Oh, our new Au Pair! Back in January we committed to having an Au Pair start in April because logistics with two working parents were difficult and we didn’t have a reliable long term solution for Papaya getting out of preschool at 1pm when Mama went back to work. Turns out, what we really needed was an Au Pair to help us manage children during a global pandemic. It’s been a blessing for everyone in the family even though there have been some behavioral challenges. Us parents feel terrible every time we see them be little shits to her, so we try to make up for it by providing good food and beer. So far so good, we hope.