A letter to my sleeping, mischievous baby

Sweet dreams, Sweet Tea.

You look so angelic that I’ll try to forget that earlier today I found you standing in the middle of the dining room table and when I told you to get down you asked “why?” and when I told you that you could get hurt, you laughed at me. Then, when I put you back on the ground, you ran over to Leo and started punching him. For no reason. And he cried! So I sat you in your high chair and made you face a corner. You twirled your hair and squinted your face at me and said, “No!” So, I told you you had to wait there until Daddy got home. You didn’t seem to mind (probably because he works two minutes away), and chattered away to yourself until you heard the keys jingling in the door. When Daddy walked in, you pointed at your cup and screeched, “I want that!” You expected him to get it for you, but he said, “no.” So you turned to me and screeched, “I want that!”

“Please,” I said.

Your reply, of course, was, “I want that!”

“Please,” Daddy said.

You held out for awhile, but eventually you came around and said the magic word. And then we taught you another one, the most important word you’ll ever know — “thanks.”

The thing is, Teagan, we are getting you ready now for getting the things you want for yourself later in life. Don’t climb on furniture. Don’t ask “why?” when a superior gives you an order. Don’t punch people unless you are duking it out in a boxing ring with a consenting opponent. Accept consequences. Don’t twirl your hair. Don’t make a mean face because it might freeze like that. Don’t make demands — make requests. Say “please” and “thank you.”

After enduring all those lessons in under an hour, I’m sure you’re pretty exhausted. (I know I am.) You better rest up because you’ve got the quadratic formula waiting for you first thing in the morning.

Sweet dreams, Sweet Tea!

(And loyal sidekick Millie the Moose.)

Robyn Barberry

Robyn Barberry

Robyn Barberry is married to her high school sweetheart, Patrick. They are raising four imaginative and adventurous children, one of whom has autism.

Robyn teaches English at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore and is a former art and language arts teacher at St. Joan of Arc in Aberdeen, where she worships with her family.

Robyn earned an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in 2011 and she has been blogging for the Catholic Review since 2012. If she could have dinner with any living person, it would be Pope Francis.