Under the Princess Canopy

princess canopy, grandchild, sleepTo my 4-year-old granddaughter, the most exciting part of my visit is that I get to sleep with her in her queen-sized bed.

At 9:30 p.m., Sophie’s constant energy is barely contained, even with the lights out and flannel sheets up to our chins. The bed is crowded with just the two of us, since half a dozen “my little ponies” have joined us on the counterpane, jumping in high spirits at my presence.

The chatter between Sophie and her tiny plastic friends finally turns to whispers, and then soft little snores. I start to fade out myself until I’m poked on one hip by a pony fairy wing, and I feel a plastic tail wiggle in my ear. Quietly, I place all the fantastical toys in the bin on the floor, and sink back into comfortable oblivion.

Until my eyes pop open. Two little-girl feet are propped on my face. I raise my neck a few inches and notice the sleeping child’s head down at the foot of the bed.

Not wanting to wake her (I really do believe in letting sleeping ponies, and little girls, lie) I slowly twist away and gently move the child’s knees off my chest.

An hour later (or is it only minutes?) an arm whaps me on the neck, and then a precious child, now right side up, cuddles into my stomach, finding my body a useful pillow.

I stare at the wispy white princess canopy over my head and demand my brain to stop laughing and GO BACK TO SLEEP.

Which I do, until an errant dolly finds my lower back, and brilliant little Sophie begins talking in her sleep.

Geometric solutions?  my little ponies, grandchild, restless sleep


An arcane language?

Oh. She’s mumbling about “glimmer winged” pony Rainbow Dash chasing  Fluttershy in the magical night air.

5 a.m. and I just lay on the soft bed with my sweet grandchild, pretending that winged ponies are flying in and out of the canopy, dusting us with glitters of grandmotherly love.


Good Morning, Moonshine

 I open one eye and read the yellow-tinted clock – the one I’ve wanted to move away from my night table for years, but never do.

 1:45 a.m.

 I sigh and open the other eye. Really? Because right now my sight is rather blurry. Maybe the clock says 9:05. Ah, that would be bliss, to have slept through the night, an unlikely occurrence for most women over the age of, well, over that age.

 When I think about it (and really, I might as well think now, because it’s unlikely I’ll get back to sleep), we women have a bum rap. Finally, when we’re over that certain age – too old to have babies screaming for a bottle or teenagers breaking a midnight curfew – so we can finally sleep undisturbed, our bodies won’t let us!

Just another example of why God must not be a woman.

I laugh at my idiotic mutterings. However, as I listen to my husband snore softly next to me, having absolutely no problem with sleep, I wonder if I’m not so crazy after all.

I stare out the window and close my eyes. 100  99   98   97

       “Cheep! Cheep cheep!”

My eyes snap open. Birds? At a quarter to two in the morning?

          “Tweet cheep chirp chirp chirp!”

An entire melody. Impossible. Isn’t it? I always thought that birds woke up with the sun. So what’s the singing about?

I rise from the bed as husband rolls over, comfortable as a dog; in fact, I almost stumble over our golden, who is flat on his back on the floor by my side of the bed, legs open wide, eyes closed, mouth in a wide grin. Men! They are blessed, I mumble.

But then I realize that it’s light enough so that I can see the dog’s happy torpor. Maybe the clock is broken, and I’ve slept six full hours to wake with the rising sun. Yippee! I race to the window and gape.

 A spectacularly bright half moon gleams back at me, as pleased as the slumbering dog. Huh, so the moon is male too! And the moon is so bright, the birds got confused and woke up and began to sing their version of “Good Morning Starshine, The Earth is Alive!”

I stumble toward the kitchen and the oven clock. 2:03.  Drat.

I pause, wondering what to do now. Warm up some milk? Munch on a cookie? I open up the cookie tin and pick up a chocolate chip bar made earlier in the day. As I stand on one leg, then the other (working on my yoga balance), I stare at the refrigerator door, full of family pictures made into magnets. Our kids, grandkids, friends, all smiling out at me. Thank goodness we never bought one of those ‘new’ silver steel fridges. If we’d gone modern, we’d never be able to slap our life onto the front of it.

I bite on another chunck of the sweet gooey bar as I peruse the photo of our sweet grandson. There’s a picture of him as an infant. Just a few days ago I’d spent a couple of hours playing with the 1-year-old. As I left to return home, the toddler wrapped his arms around my neck and opened his mouth wide, like a fish, and pressed it against my mouth – his kiss goodbye. God, I’d melted like ice on hot tar.

Now I tiptoe back to the moon-infused bedroom, dog unmoved, husband still in dreamland, bed inviting me to join them in mindless slumber.

What the heck, I’ll try.

Good morning starshine
The earth says hello
You twinkle above us
We twinkle below

Good morning starshine
You lead us along
My love and me as we sing
Our early morning singing song   (by Oliver, in Hair)