The Question

By Juli

It was a little past her bedtime when I tucked in my precious six-year-old for the night, since reading time with Daddy had gone long this evening. She was being extra cute tonight, too, and she knew it. Curly blond locks wild, as usual, and splayed out in all directions on her pillow, while she looked at me with those deep brown eyes — eyes so deep you could lose yourself in them. Then she furrowed her soft brow and pursed her¬†little lips — all signs that I needed to lower my face closer so I could be the recipient of a very wet kiss. I obliged, and she pecked me right on the mouth a few times, while she looked at me, moon-eyed.

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“I love you … Ma-ma …” She said in the sleepy baby voice that I always fall for.

“I love you too, Junebug,” I said, softly, as I leaned over her, fixing my gaze onto hers, noticing that she was just basking in the one-on-one attention and that I should oblige her for the moment, despite the fact that I had a glass of wine and an episode of The Good Wife waiting for me.

Then she grinned at me, her toothless mouth reminding me that she was, indeed, six now, and no longer was she that little, potato-headed baby with the soft brow furrows and the inability to manipulate me.

“Goodnight, sweetie,” I finally said, pulling her blanket up to her chin and kissing her cheeks. I had almost made it out of the room with the door closed behind me, too, but then I heard it:¬†“Mama? Snuggle?”

The words were soft and perfectly delivered to be just enough to make a working mother who always feels like she has missed far too many bedtimes come back in to the bedroom, lay her exhausted body down on a third of a twin bed (one of those thirds was devoted to the child, the other to a large cluster of unappreciative stuffies) and sing the little puff-head her short-form version of “Baby Beluga” (1st verse, last verse, chorus sped up).

And I was almost finished Baby Beluga, too, when the question came. Almost out that door, past the kitchen and on the couch with Cab Sauv and Good Wife.

Almost.

But then it came, just one more question. Fast, and like a hurricane:

“Mommy, what is a ‘Ba-donk-a-donk?'”

Sigh. Well played, kid. Well played.

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