Two nights ago Sophie helped us make an apple pie, which took an hour to cook. As such, she got to stay up past her bedtime because we decided it would be cruel to have her help make a pie, smell the pie while it’s cooking and then not be allowed to eat it. Because of bedtime. In the summer. Plus, Grandma and Paw Paw were visiting and grandparents always mean a bending of the rules.
By the time the pie cooled and she ate all her vanilla ice cream and didn’t even try the pie and then asked for more vanilla ice cream (we said no) it was 9:30pm. She curled up on the couch and asked for a blanket. I told her there were several nice warm blankets and quilts on her bed. And that it was time for bed.
She was done. It was well past her bedtime. We had visitors. She had been allowed to stay up late for dessert. She was in the mood to argue. We talked with her. Argued with her. Pleaded with her. And then, finally, I scooped her up.
Cradled in my arms, she made a round of quiet goodnights to everyone in the room. She protested once again.
“No.” I said. “It’s bedtime.”
She looked at me then, and in the softest voice said, “Do I have any other options?”
It was the sweetest and funniest thing. And how did she know that would get to me more than screaming, “I don’t want to go to bed!” Of course, I still put her to bed. As she had no other options. Which dismayed her greatly.
“Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed.” —Robert Gallagher