Thursday, December 13, 2007

Laughter, Good Medicine

I've had a pretty rough go the past few days. Tons of deadlines at
work plus catching a bad cold has made an already maxed-out schedule
even more difficult to maintain. I buttoned up my work as fast as I
could this evening and raced home on bike, hoping the time would be
short until I could crawl under the covers and whimper.

Amy watched the kids extra to give me time to transition from work
mode to home mode, and she got Aaron down for bed shortly thereafter
while I grubbed down some dinner. I said I'd do Jada's bedtime
routine, so she headed out for an errand. Jada watched TV while I
slumped down next to her, pinching my pulsating sinuses. At 7, I
ejected the DVD and told Jada it was time to go to bed.

So we tidied up the TV room, went down to the kitchen to get milk, and
headed over to her room for bedtime stories. I knew I had to read
three specific books, always in the same order, and on account of
having a raw throat I silently hoped she wouldn't pile more story
requests after those three. I mumbled through the first two stories
without incident, and then cautiously stepped my way through the
third.

Jada likes me to read this one in a very particular way: instead of
reading the story itself, she wants me to point to each thing on one
set of pages, so she can say what each thing is: moon, telephone, red
blanket, and so on. And then on another set of pages, I'm supposed to
ask her where everything is: "where's the mouse," "where's the red
balloon," and so on.

Apparently, even this isn't particular enough for her. For tonight,
in her mind, on every page I had left something out, or was pointing
to things in the wrong order, or even had asked her about an item but
then failed to ask about it a second time. Each time I tried to turn
the page, she would physically hold the page back and say, "uh oh, uh
oh," forcing me to return to the page until I could figure out what I
had left out.

It got to be so comical that I burst out laughing, the first good
laugh I've had in awhile. Which made her laugh, which only made me
laugh more. Somehow, I finally got to the end of the story, finished
up her bedtime routine, and left her under the covers and headed back
upstairs.

There was another hiccup even after that, involving her distressingly
looking for her stuffed monkey, which just happened to be right next
to her but in her distress she was apparently not able to locate it,
but thankfully I was able to swoop in and retrieve it for her. That
made me laugh, too. Then she had to bring me a book from her room
that she simply could not allow to stay in her room while she was
sleeping. More chuckles from me.

In the end, I didn't feel any better, but at least I got a good laugh
out of it all. It's pretty good medicine, you may have heard.

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