Last night after E fell asleep, not once, but twice, I heard a crash from above. Not the normal sound of a friend or even possibly a book sliding off the edge of the bed. A crash that can not be easily interpreted below, and could very well involve a small body hitting the deck. Both times I raced upstairs to find E safe in her bed, and an enormous stack of books on the hardwood floor beside her.
The first time she slept through it, and I left the books on the floor, making sure that the rest that remained on the bed weren’t in precarious positions. The second time she was sitting up, still half asleep, but awake enough to realize that I was removing all the books from her bed. Oh, the sobbing that ensued. I wasn’t banishing them to the basement, I was just stacking them up on the floor beside the bed so that they would stop crashing there on their own. You would have thought I told her that she could never read again.
I finally relented to letting her have 3 books in her bed. Those would lay in a row at the end, and be less likely to tumble like a huge stack. I gave in because she pleaded “At least let me have my family books…I need my family books…” She was half asleep, half crazed, so I did. I tucked her in, but not without a sigh of utter impatience that this saga was occurring at 10:30 that night, and I did not really appreciate making the 31 stair dash twice to check for concussions. I was not kind, I was not compassionate. I know she knew I was impatient. She lay there silently at last, resigned to her limited book fate, sadness in her sleepy eyes.
Later I went up to check on her, and two of the books remained at the bottom of the bed, but one was grasped firmly in her hand, held so tightly in sleep that I had to pry it out of her fingers.
Of course it was The Mommy Book, because really, with children, there is no starting point for the guilt. They are born with it.