The Stall at Bedtime

Sarah will always have one “stall tactic” that will work. Shhh, don’t tell her.

Last night, I came home from a day-trip to Atlanta on business. I had caught a cold and seems Sarah wasn’t feeling too well either. She didn’t even play our routine evening game: “Who gets kisses first?” “DADDY!” she usually screams. “Who gets kisses second?” “Cackie!” she’s taken to calling her sister. “Who gets kisses third?” At this point she usually screams and runs across the floor to a special spot in the kitchen where she giggles and squeals and waits for me to pick her up and cover her in kisses. But last night, she just sat in Brian’s arms and sucked her thumb and held BeBe close (her security blanket) and looked at me like I’d just invented this strange greeting.

I changed clothes, and Sarah decided she wanted to eat. We never want her to go to bed hungry, so Brian fixed chicken nuggets for her. Then she asked for strawberries. Then she told us she was all done. Then she changed her mind and decided she wanted applesauce. She didn’t eat much of any of it, and I realized she was stalling.

When she threw her spoon on the floor, she may as well have screamed “I’m all done here, people! Get me out of this highchair.” So I did. And we proceeded with the rest of our nighttime routine. Brush teeth. Read books. Kiss Daddy (though he had gone to get me medicine for my cold). Off to bed.

As we passed Catherine’s door, she looked in my eyes and said, “Prayers?” We usually say prayers with Catherine each night, but Catherine was in bed already when I got home. “We’re not saying prayers tonight, Sarah. Catherine is already in bed.” And then, the piercing cry, “Caaaackie! Caaaaackie!” while she reached up to the door handle and tried to turn it. How can I deny a sister’s love?

Sarah ran in and asked to be picked up and gave Catherine a kiss and hug and said, “I ov you.” As my heart melted, I decided some stalling is completely worth it. And then she went straight to bed.

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