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These Things Bear Deliberation

Sunday night Cora came downstairs after bedtime complaining, “Mommy, I can’t get to sleep!”

I was expecting this a bit; after a week off school, Cora’s mornings weren’t starting quite so early any more, and Sunday morning she’d slept until I woke her up at 9 a.m. to go to church. So I wasn’t surprised that at 7:30 p.m., her school-night bedtime, she wasn’t quite sleepy.

“Head on back upstairs and I’ll be up in a minute to give you another snuggle,” I said, sending her on her way. Often the girls will need one last cuddle from me, and when they hear they’ll get it they relax so much in their beds they fall asleep. Cora scampered happily up the stairs and I delayed following her for fifteen minutes while I finished watching my recorded show.

When I finally made it to Cora’s room, she was so silent I felt sure she’d fallen asleep. I slid into her bed and snuggled smugly against her, breathing in her baby-ness that I can still faintly smell.

“Mommy,” Cora’s voice startled me from the darkness, quite alert and clearly far from sleep, “I can’t figure something out, and it’s keeping me awake.”

“Tell me,” I said soothingly, stroking her hair and cozying up.

“Well,” Cora rolled towards me, “I don’t understand why I have five toes, and only four spaces between them!”

Ok, that I was not expecting.

“I’m sorry, what do you mean?” I stammered, trying to catch up.

“Look,” she said with a hint of impatience, “I have five toes on one foot and five on another, and only FOUR SPACES on each foot! How is it possible to have less spaces than toes? Doesn’t each toe need a space?”

So Cora and I slowly talked through the whole more-toes-than-spaces phenomenon, examining our hands, feet, and discussing imaginary rows of candy on a counter (If there are two pieces of candy, there’s only one space! Oh, I get it!) for about fifteen minutes. And I wasn’t frustrated for a moment – truly. I love my girls’ brains, and getting a glimpse into how they work is always fun for me.

But after that it was bedtime.


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