Nighttime Conversations


Recently (the first week of August) mine and Titi’s room was
re-arranged. This was done so that Deirdre can move into our room, and
Deirdre’s old room, the nursery, can be turned into a sewing room for Titi.
Deirdre had a hard time getting used to it; she just couldn’t wrap her mind
around the idea that our rooms were switched around at first. The first couple
of nights were the worst, for both her and us.

Deirdre sat up in bed and said, “Hi, Cadie,” when I came up the first
night. “Hi, Deirdre,” I replied. I had thought she would be asleep by now–Mom
had put her to bed a while ago. I knew I was going to have a hard time
getting used to how the rooms were, but I thought she would be laying there on
the bed, out like a light. Instead she was watching my every move very
carefully, asking me,

“What’re you doing? What’re you, doing, Cadie?”

“Getting undressed.”

“Oh.”

“What are you doing” and “What” were her favorite things to say to me,
and she continued to say them as I sighed and fumbled about for my stuff in the
dark. She wanted to know what I was doing down to the very last little thing. I
had a couple of bug bites on my ankles from a recent trip up in the woods, and
now they were throbbing with itch. So even though I knew I shouldn’t, I started
scratching them. Along with this went many exclamations, like “Oh! Argh! Ouch!”
Deirdre snapped up in her bed.

“What? What?”

“My bug bites are itching me, that’s all. Ooh! Arg!”

She knew just what to do about that. “You need put band-aid on
them, Cadie!” she asserted confidently. Dad had put a bandaid over one of her
bug bites to keep her from scratching it, and now she is convinced this is what
you must do every time you get a bug-bite. She proceeded to tell me very
earnestly about her bug bites, a most fascinating subject. “I got, one on, my
arm, and, one on my foot, and band-aid on bugbite on foot, and band-aid on bug
bite on arm, and tons of bug bites.” I told her I’d just put my sock over my
foot to keep it from itching, and went to bed.

This was not the end of her narrative, though. She tossed and turned,
saying things like “My shoulder hurts” or “My foot hurts” or any other body
part that she could think of. Then, after laying in relative silence for a
while, she piped up, “I wanna sleep in dis room. I wanna sleep in dis room.” I
didn’t get it. Congratulations, you want to sleep in this room. “You want to
sleep in this room?” I asked her. “No, I wanna sleep in dat room,” she
clarified. When I went over to her I realized that she was pointing out the
door–to her old room.

“You can’t sleep in your room, Deirdre,” I explained to her. “You’re
sleeping in this room now.”

“But, I wanna, sleep in dat room,” she insisted.

“I know you do,” I said. “But the rooms got switched
around, and now you sleep in this room. You can’t sleep in your room.”

That didn’t deter her one bit. “But I’m going to,”
she told me confidently, as if to say, “Well, you can have your room
switched around if you want, but I’m going back to my old one!” She
continued earnestly, “I’m going, sleep in my room, probly. Probly, I sleep in
my room–fink so!” (“I think so”.) She was fiddling with something with
her hands and had that faraway look in her eyes, like she does when she’s
thinking hard.

I tried again. I went for a long explanation, hoping this would satisfy
her: “No, Deirdre, I’m sorry. I know you don’t like it. I don’t, either. But
you know what? Rundy and Lach-Lach switched our beds around, so my bed’s over
there, and your bed’s in here, and your room’s going to turn into a sewing room
for Titi. Because it was too hard for Titi to do her sewing in here.”

“Oh,” she said, and there was a silence as she processed that
information. Then she got back to square one again. “But–I want to sleep in my
own room!” she exclaimed.

I gave up arguing and went back to bed. She, on the other hand, sat up
and declared, “I’m going sit up, wait for Titi!”

“Do you want me to go downstairs and tell Titi to hurry up?” I asked
her. She replied, “Yeah!” urging me, “Hurry up, Cadie! Hurry up, quick quick!”
I did my duty, hurrying up “quick quick”, and came back and told her that Titi
said she would be up there in a little bit. When she did come up, Titi asked
her, “Whatsa matter, monkey-face?” Deirdre told her mournfully, “I wanna, sleep
in, my room.”

Now Titi got to argue it with her. She explained it all to her–telling
her that she sleeps with the big girls now, and that her bed isn’t in
her room anymore, it’s in our room now. Deirdre would say “Oh” in a distant
voice and then insist again that she wanted to sleep in her room. When Titi
told her that her bed got moved into our room, Deirdre asked, “But, who’s
sleeping in my room?” Titi laughed and said, “Nobody’s sleeping in your room,
monkey-face! Your room is going to be turned into a sewing room for me!”

“But, I sleep in it anyway!” Deirdre insisted stubbornly. That
made Titi and I laugh.

Deirdre kept tossing and turning and talking for another couple of
hours. “Who’s dat?” she asked when someone came up the stairs. “It’s just one
of the boys, going up to bed in their room,” Titi explained patiently. But then
when the next person came up the stairs, she asked again, “Who’s dat? Who’s
dat, Titi? Somebody coming in my room?”

So Titi said again, “No, it’s just one of the boys going up to bed.”
There was a silence. Then Deirdre whispered, “Where’s Daddy, Titi?”

“In bed, sleeping,” Titi replied. Then Deirdre continued on with
everyone else: “Where’s Mommy? Where’s Temmy? Where’s Caleb?” Each time Titi
would answer her, and then she’d think up another thing to say. It seemed like
she was just trying to think of as many things as possible to say to keep from
going to sleep. “Do you need me to sing you one last song, and then you’ll go
to sleep?” Titi asked her. “Yeah.”

“Okay, what song do you want?”

“John Brown, had little in-yun.”

So Titi sang her “John Brown Had a Little Indian”, under her breath, and
Deirdre sang along, quite pleased. “There, now you got your song. Now you’re
going to lay down and go to sleep, right?” Titi said. But Deirdre said, “Now
you need song, Titi!”

Titi agreed to that. “Okay, how about if me and Cadie pick the same
song, and we sing it together? How about ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness?” Deirdre
loves that hymn, and she can sing along with most if not all of it, even though
she doesn’t really understand it. So Titi and I sang it quietly, with Deirdre
singing along, skipping words to keep up with us: “Gwey, dy, Fa-a-ay-ness, oh
Goh my fah-er–no shaa-ow of tur-ing wif dee…”

“There,” Titi concluded once we were done. “Now we all got our
songs, and now we’re going to lay down and go to sleep,
rightDeirdre?”

“But Cadie needs song!” Deirdre protested.

“Cadie got her song!” Titi argued back. “I sang ‘Great is Thy
Faithfulness’ to Cadie, and she sang ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ to me!”
This time it was my turn to muffle my laughter, at the thought of me and Titi
singing goodnight songs to each other. Deirdre thought for a bit. Then she
caught a loophole. “But, you need, sing, ‘Gwey Thy Fay-ness’, to me!”
she cried. Titi and I laughed. “How ’bout if I just sing you ‘Rock a Bye
Baby’?” she asked. (That’s the last song Mom always sings her before she puts
her to bed.)

After getting her Rock-A-Bye Baby song, Deirdre didn’t ask for any more
songs, but she still didn’t settle down and go to sleep. She kept losing her
pillow, or blanket, every 5 minutes, it seemed. “Can’t find my pillow. Can’t
find my pillow, Titi!” she’d whisper frantically. Then Titi would turn on the
flashlight so she could see where her pillow went. In the midst of her constant
fidgeting, she bonked her her head slightly. She sat up and whispered, “I
bonked my head! Titi, I bonked my head!” When Titi didn’t answer, she cried,
“Where Titi? Where Titi go?!” When Titi said, “I’m right here, Deirdre,”
Deirdre repeated, “I bonked my head, Titi.”

“How ’bout that. Maybe if you stopped fidgeting around and kicking
things, and just laid down and went to sleep, you wouldn’t get your head
bonked!”

“Oh.”

It seemed there was no end to the things she would say. Either her
diaper hurt, or she claimed a spider was crawling on her and “bod’ring”
(bothering) her, or she couldn’t find her pillow for the millionth time, or
something else. Most of all, though, she said things were “boring”. (Titi
thinks she meant something more like “upset” by it.) She said her different
parts of her body were boring, and she moaned, “Titi, I’m boring!” One time
Deirdre coughed and said something that sounded like, “I’m a boring cough, in
my eye.”

We didn’t know what in the world that meant. “Yes, you’re a boring cough
in your eye,” Titi agreed, and we both laughed. Deirdre fell asleep chanting,
“Boring, boring, boring, boring…”

The next night, the situation was the same. In an effort to help her
sleep, Titi got her two little stuffed animals, a little bear and a turtle, to
keep her company, and brought in the clock that used to be in her room. That
way, when she closed her eyes, at least it would still sound like her
old room–“Tik, tok, tik, tok.” I think the stuffed animals did help some–she
certainly liked them, although now she’d keep saying, “Where my bearie go?
Where my turtle go?” I was kind of glum when I went to bed, and I sighed and
told Deirdre I wished my room wasn’t switched around. She was silent for awhile
and then she said, “When I get bigger, Rundy and Lach-Lach, switch rooms, I
sleep in my old room–when I get bigger, Rundy and Lach-lach switch rooms
around.” I realized she was saying that when she got bigger Rundy and Lachlan
would switch the rooms back again, perhaps to comfort me. When Titi turned on
the light sometime after we’d gone to bed, so that Deirdre could find her
turtle or something like that, Deirdre asked me, “What’re you doing, Cadie?”

“Same thing as before. Going to bed!” I said.

Again?!” she cried, sounding shocked. “But I thought you’re
sad, Cadie!”

“Sad” was her favorite word that night. Later on she was telling Titi
that “It’s sad. It’s sa-a-a-a-d,” dragging the word out mournfully.
“What’s sad?” Titi asked her. “When you go, house-cweaning, come home five
o’clock, it’s sad,” she told her. Titi and I had been going housecleaning every
day, and we came home at 5:00 just like she said, although I didn’t know how
she knew that. Titi tried to tell her we were all done going housecleaning
(which was true), but Deirdre kept insisting that we were going to go
housecleaning again and it was sad. (When we actually went, she never minded
too much though!) Titi told her the things she was going to do the next day
instead of going houscleaning; one of the things was going to pick broccoli in
the garden, so we could eat it for supper. Deirdre informed us that, “It’s
sad, eat broccoli for supper.” That made Titi laugh, too.Yesterday
everthing was “boring”, now everything was “sad”!

Eventually she got used to the room and stopped talking so much. It was
exhausting, but amusing as well, those first couple of nights when she wouldn’t
stop talking!