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And When I Dream, I Dream of Play-Doh


I get a nap about as often as I dust under the fishbowl. This is not often. I have a nap or dust under the fishbowl on days when Thing 1 and Thing 2 possess the bodies of my children and I have no choice but to "put them away" Cat-in-the-Hat style.

Tuesday was one of those days. I woke up at 4:45, showered, dressed and headed to an early morning appointment. I got home with just enough time to clean up the breakfast dishes (which I decided to skip in order to have more time to blow raspberries at Magoo) before heading back out to pick up Laylee from her new preschool class.

We then came home just long enough to add more dishes to the pile, smear more "cheece" (how Magoo wails "cheese" as he hangs rigidly from the fridge door) on the wall, pull Laylee's dirty ballerina clothes out of the hamper and head off to dance class. (Can I tell you how relieved I was that the stain was pink? It really did look quite lovely, a misshapen polka dot on her white leotard, just three shades darker than the pink of her tights.)

I chased Magoo around the waiting room, down the hall and out onto the sidewalk. He talked on other people's cell phones, picked things out of the garbage can, raced cars up and down the dainty dressing table and found three crayons and a marker. Laylee learned to tap very loudly with her metal-soled shoes.

It had all the markings of a nap-day. Magoo went down easily. How tame they are when the cage is still an effective deterrent. Don't worry. I've seen the way he slides his feet up the bars and hoists himself like an Olympic gymnast. I have no delusions that this crib-phoric containment will last.


Laylee wanted me to define just how quiet she should be for rest time. "Can I be quiet-loud?" she asked. "Can I talk like this? Lastertime at rest time you let me talk like this."

Me: Okay. You can talk like that but no louder.
Laylee: Okay.
Me: That's too loud. You can play quietly in your room but I'm going to sleep.

2:30:  With the baby gate blocking the stairs, she has access to nothing but my room and her room. This will be sweet.

2:45: Laylee comes in and says she wants to sleep with me. Can she sleep on my bed? Can she be under the covers? Can she borrow Dad's pillow? She can eat Dad's pillow, barf it up and mail the pieces to Grammy for all I care as long as I can get some sleep.


3:00: She re-enters the room. Apparently I was not that fun to sleep with. I don't know what her problem is. I LOVE sleeping with me. She wants me to do up her Ariel dress.

3:10: She shakes me semi-awake so I can put on her veil for the wedding. Good luck. I hope you find someone to give you away. I'd like to for a few hours, but I'm asleep right now.

3:30-4:30: Here's where it gets groggy. For the next hour or so I wake up just enough to do the Velcro closure on a doll dress, adjust her veil, and open several containers of Play-Doh...I think. I'm not quite sure. I'm asleep at the time.

When I finally woke up from my nap, she had been playing with a periodic assist from yours truly for about two hours. Magoo was awake. Bums were changed (Hooray for new bums!), the baby gate was retracted and we all headed downstairs.

Suddenly it occurred to me. There is no Play-Doh upstairs. We keep all the Play-Doh downstairs with the scissors, sharp knives, choking hazards and breakable treasures. I must have dreamt the Play-Doh thing.


Wrong! The Play-Doh toys were scattered all over the table.

Me: Laylee. Did you play with Play-Doh during our nap?
Laylee: [proudly] Yeah.
Me: But the Play-Doh things are downstairs. How did you get down there?
Laylee: Oh, I just squoze under that fabric thing.


Of course! She just squoze under the $110, super-secure, impossible to install, Alcatraz-endorsed childproofing device. Just squoze under it. No big deal.

When you have a 3-year-old who says things like, "Can I have a 'knive' please? I will be really really careful if you let me play with the 'knifes,'" then things like Tuesday's gate breach will keep you up at night...wondering.

"Did she really just come in here and cut Dad's pillow into tiny pieces with a steak knife, while swigging Pine-Sol or am I just pulling DREAM-fluff out of my mouth?" Let's just say our home is undergoing a safety "re-org" and it is possible that I may never sleep again.