On the Importance of Using Our Words

Dec 3 2013

“OK, boys. We need to have a chat.”

I sat my twin 1st graders down last night before bedtime for a serious heart-to-heart.

“I know you like to sleep with me,” I said, “and that’s fine. You know, when we all get to SLEEP. Because, to be clear, that’s my number one main goal at night. To SLEEP as much as possible…”

And that’s as far as I got before the first interrupter interrupted. Which was RAD because I got out, like, three times more words than I usually do before the interruptions begin.

“Wait, Mom, wait,” Cai said, hand raised in the full stop position. “Wait. I thought your number one main goal is to keep us safe.”

“Well, yes,” I said. “That goes without saying. But my POINT is…”

“But Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. I think you should say it because it’s important to use your words, Mom. Like how would you like it if I say sorry without saying sorry? Because I try that sometimes and that is not OK with you.” Cai looked at me with his I’ve Just Made a Seriously Awesome Point Face. 

“OK. Fine. My number one main goal is to keep you safe AND to get as much sleep as possible, but last night…”

And Cael started to cry.

“Cael, honey, you’re not in trouble.” 


“Then why are you crying?”

“Because I thought your number one main goal was to LOVE US.”

Oh, geez. Knife to the gut, man.

“Yes, of COURSE, baby. My number one main goal is to love you. ALWAYS. AND…”

“Well, you should’ve said that with saying, too, Mom.”


“OK. Sorry.”

“Good thing she said that with saying,” Cai mumbled disgruntledly, and he grabbed his brother’s hand in a show of support while they made Significant Eye Contact. The same kind of Significant Eye Contact I expect them to make when they sit me down someday to tell me I’m going to the home. 

“AS I was saying,” I said, “my number one main goal, in addition to loving you and keeping you safe, which goes with saying…”

“Thank you.”

“…is to get as much sleep at night as possible. But when you’ve crawled in bed with me lately, you’re both sleeping AND kicking which isn’t really working for me.”

“We’re kicking?”

“Yes. Kicking.”

IMG_0939Cai and Cael looked at each other incredulously. “Did you know we were kicking?” “No. Did you?” “No.” 

“Mom, are you sure?”

“Um, yes. I’m sure.”

“Hm,” said Cael skeptically, “It’s just… we sleep together every night, Mom. So if we were kicking, probably we would’ve noticed.”

“Yeah, well, you’re going to have to trust me on this one. You’re kicking. And not just putting your feet on me like you’ve been doing since you were two. I mean you’re picking your legs up in the air and flopping them down on me. HARD. And repeatedly. Giant kicking motions, gentlemen.”

They started giggling which turned quickly to guffawing.

“I’m not saying we do that, Mom,” Cael replied, “but if we did, you have to admit it’s pretty funny.”

“No, Cael. No, it’s not. Also, it’s really happening, so we have to come up with a better solution like you guys staying in YOUR bed or sleeping on my floor. Or me sleeping in your bed after you get in mine. I don’t even care. I. JUST. WANT. SOME. SLEEP.” 

“Don’t panic, Mom.” Still Cael. “We can fix this if we work together. But not with your ideas. No offense, but your ideas aren’t very good because we like to sleep with you.” Cai nodded his agreement, the punk.

“OK. I’m all ears.”

“Mom! I’ve got it!” yelled Cael. “A plastic box with air holes, Mom! We just put you in one of those in your bed and then you get protected from us kicking!”

“So… you’re saying you want to put me away in a human sized box at night.”


“Like a coffin.”

“YES! Except more like a bug container ’cause AIR HOLES, Mom. AIR HOLES.”

Cai approved. “Cael, you are a GENIUS. And I’m not just saying that. You really are.” 

“See, Mom? This is why things need to go with saying. So we can work out our problems with words. I think we’ve all learned a very important lesson about that today.” 

Yep. I know I feel better.