I rolled over in bed. 4:53 a.m. It couldn’t be Isabelle. I must be dreaming.
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”
Nope. Not dreaming. It was Isabelle.
I rolled out of bed two minutes before the alarm went off (and over two hours before her clock was supposed to turn green) to see what was happening.
Once I figured out what was wrong I got her to lay back down. I snuggled her close to me. Sure I needed to jump into the shower, but I could wait a few more minutes.
I held her tight, patted her curls, and kissed her forehead. After a few minutes past I made a move to leave.
“No leave, Mommy!”
“I have to go to school in New York City today. I’ll be home tonight.”
“No Mommy. Stay.”
“I can’t honey. I have to get ready. But I’ll be back to check on you.”
With that, I tucked the covers around her body, gave her one more kiss, and skulked out of the room.
* * * * *
I heard her calling “Bubbe! Bubbe! Bubbe!” when I got out of the shower.
I raced into her room. “Bubbe is sleeping. Can I help you?”
“I want Bubbe,” she said.
“She’s sleeping. I’m the only one who is up right now. And you.” I paused. “It’s still the middle of the night. Let me tuck you back in.”
And so I did.
A few minutes later, I heard her calling my mom again.
I went back into her room. A negotiation took place. She asked me to turn on her light and I agreed to give her a stack of picture books to read if she’d stay in bed. She agreed.
From my childhood bedroom I heard her in the next room saying lines from Madeline and Knuffle Bunny Too aloud. It made me smile as I put on my makeup.
But as I was getting dressed I heard Isabelle call me again.
“Yes, Isabelle?” I said as I opened the door to her room.
She was sitting on her bed pointing to an illustration of Trixie on the plane in Knuffle Bunny Free.
“Same book!” she said.
“What do you mean ‘same book’?”
She pointed with urgency to her copy of an Elephant and Piggie book that was sitting in her pile. Then she pointed back to the book Trixie was reading in Knuffle Bunny Free. It was also an Elephant and Piggie book.
I smiled a great big literacy specialist smile. “That’s right, honey! It’s the same book. Mo Willems writes the Elephant and Piggie books and the Knuffle Bunny books. And you and Trixie read the same books!”
“Yes!” she said with a satisfied smile.
Just as my heart was about to burst my threenager looked at me and said, “You close door now, Mommy.”
She was done with me, but my heart was still full of pride.