I think it’s fairly normal to expect a few of your quirks to be passed on to your children. Of course you hope it isn’t the inability to send something back to the kitchen despite raw meat and or the presence of bugs or the unrelenting urge to throttle adults who use baby talk in the workplace (or any situation in which they are not addressing babies), but we really have no control. That fact has not deterred me from trying to cultivate my same fresh sheet loving enthusiasm in the girls. I have tried to get them to look forward to the ritual of stripping the beds and satisfaction of drifting off to sleep in a crisp, clean bed.
“Hey! I know, let’s go change the sheets on your bed.”
“You’ll be able to sleep in fresh sheets! Doesn’t that sound wonderful?”
Blink, sidelong glance at Dad. A silent, “Should we be excited about this?”
“Briar! It’s a bath night!”
“Yeah, mama. Briar taking a bath!”
“Yup, and then we’ll put fresh sheets on your bed! What do you think?”
Blink. Blink. Grin.
It’s taken nearly three years, but I finally have someone who shares my delight. After dinner Briar and I changed the sheets on her bed, while Sean and Avery got things set for a bath. Once we were done we made for the bath, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Briar was slightly more excited about the bath than she’d been about the sheets…baby steps. She quickly slithered into the tub and sidled in beside Avery, effectively taking over the coveted spot beneath the rubber duck protected faucet.
The girls splashed and giggled for about 15 minutes before we headed for pjs and stories. I took Avery to her room while Briar took Sean to show off her fresh bed. We’d put on a fitted sheet adorned with faeries in shades of pink and purple. Over that we had arranged a Dora and Boots flat sheet and three pillows bearing the faces of Tinker Bell, Ariel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and then topped it all of with a fleece princess blanket with Belle, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. After listening to her reverent exclamations about her beautiful bed I carried Avery in to see. Briar was standing in her robe, ringlets still dripping with water.
“Briar, do you love your bed? Are you so happy mom changed the sheets with you?”
Briar looked from me to Sean and then to her bed and back. Avery was crawling around on the bed. Briar looked up at us and cocked her head to the side. SHe smiled the most radiant smile, her blue eyes crackling with delight and mischief.
“So you love it?”
“Yes, I do. I love my bed.” She squealed as she flapped her towel at her ankles and smiled again.
“Briar? Briar, are you peeing?” I asked. Sean twisted at the waist and cocked his head as Briar turned those impish blue eyes up at us.
Splatter. Kick. Splatter. Splatter. Splatter. Kick.
As Briar continued her Lord of the Dance urine jig Sean nodded his head and said, “Yup, she is definitely peeing.”
A few more frenetic kicks and wet ringlet head shakes and she laughed, throwing her head back with ecstatic toddler abandon. Sean and I stood rapt, Avery was motionless as a dog on point as she watched. And then, in a blur, Briar’s wet feet, slick from her puddle of joy, flew up from beneath her and she went down. Fast. Putting all the great comedians that have come before her to shame, Briar planted, legs akimbo, in her post bath pool with a dramatic Thwack- Splat.
She waited a beat. Looked up and gave a great satisfied donkey kick, which was met with applause by her affectionate and awestruck audience.