Tonight there was some epic drama in the house of Gashler. When it was bedtime, six-year-old Ariah insisted that she had to sleep in the tent (a little play house we bought them for Christmas). The problem was that there wasn’t enough room in there for three-year-old Aspen, and Aspen didn’t want to sleep in the bed all by herself. I asked her why not, and my heart throbbed as she explained, in her tender three-year-old way, her fear of the darkness. I tried to convince Ariah to sleep in the bed with her sister, but Ariah insisted that she needed a break from Aspen, who followed her everywhere, and who unreasonably insisted that Ariah follow her upstairs or downstairs when no one else was there because of her fear of being alone. After all, Ariah reasoned, she was a growing girl and needed some privacy!
I tried to mediate, to get one party to compromise with the other, but neither would bend. Finally, to my dread, I realized that the only solution was to allow little Aspen to sleep in mommy and daddy’s bed. Nuts. Meanwhile, six-month-year-old Percy squealed with cold indifference toward the whole affair, spouting nonsense and flailing his limbs for no reason whatsoever. How could he be so callous amid this crisis?
I transported a contented Aspen to my bed, where I issued cold orders to sleep and be quiet (bed time often spans hours of delays an diversions, requiring parental militancy), then proceeded to clean the house before Teresa came back from work. My hope was that Aspen would soon fall asleep, and I would be able to secretly transport her back to her own bed (Percy adds enough grief to our sleeping arrangements without an extra body taking up space). About ten minutes later, I heard Ariah calling me from the stairs. I was about to bark my usual, “What are you doing out of bed?” when I noticed the tears in her eyes.
“I miss my sister,” she sobbed.
And so the two of us returned to mommy and daddy’s bedroom, where Aspen, feigning snoring, eagerly threw off her covers. The sisters happily embraced, then returned to their own bedroom. Oh, the drama.