Getting Jonah into bed last night stole any patience I had left after a day that involved our day care provider giving peanut butter to peanut-allergic Jonah, a missed workout, and preparing and serving dinner without Zachary home to help corral the kids.

I put Jonah in his striped, footed pajamas, the ones that make him still look like a baby, even though he’s now two and a half. Kissed him good night and told him to stay in bed.

“Okay, Mama,” he said.

“Don’t open the door, Jonah,” I warned.

“Okay, Mama,” he repeated. So sincere.

I walked out of his room and twenty seconds later I heard his feet on the floor, then his hand turning the doorknob as he peeked out to see if I was watching.

Sighing, I picked him up and carried him back to bed.

“Stay in bed, Jonah,” I said again, a little more firmly.

“But WHY?” Jonah asked.

“Just stay in bed.”

And we repeated this twelve more times. Lights off, door shut, door opened, toddler carried back to bed. Again and again. I kept my voice loving and calm so Jonah would know I wasn’t angry, but inside I was simply tired.

Feeling defeated, I did almost nothing besides watch House Hunters and play on my iPad until falling into bed at midnight. I exhaled and let my body relax. Outside, the wind was picking up, rattling our windows and blowing down the street. Raindrops began to hit the house.

Just as I turned to switch off my lamp, Jonah’s voice called out for me from across the hall. I waited, hoping he’d fall back asleep. I was exhausted, more mentally than physically, and knew when I went to cuddle him he wouldn’t let me go. I looked at Zachary but he was already asleep.

I opened the door to Jonah’s room and he looked up at me with his wide brown eyes and I could see the fear in his small frown.

“It’s raining, Mama,” he said. “Can I sweep in your bed?”

My exhaustion no longer mattered. I knew I was setting myself up for a night of bad sleep (lots of kicking, no doubt) but I also know that in a few years Jonah will be able to pronounce sleep correctly and he’ll grow too brave to ask for such things.

I carried him into bed and laid him between me and Zachary. Every time the wind rushed past he’d look at me with a worried face but I put my arm over him and protected him and we swept.

This post was written to be linked to Just Write, an exercise in free writing.



  1. I could have written this exact post this morning. Except it was my 5 year old twins who wouldn’t stay in bed, and my 7 year old son who came in, afraid of the wind. It was an exhausting night and I’m fighting the crankies today. But I did wake up with my boy beside me, giving me big hugs. I need to remember that part of it.

    • My six year old ended up coming in at some point, too. This is actually something I looked forward to back before I was even married – someday having kids who’d climb into bed with me. Provided it doesn’t happen every night, I’m not nearly that patient!

  2. Those days pass too quickly. The sleep catches up though, finally.

  3. So familiar and so beautiful. thanks.

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