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I’m Sierra. I live in the Boston area with my family.

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Can’t Sleep Without A Princess

by Sierra on March 5, 2010 · 10 comments

in humor,parenting

Serena’s been a bit of a bedtime rebel lately. She’s mostly sleeping through the night, waking up only briefly to pee and get a glass of water around 2 a.m.

But she just not falling asleep at bedtime. She goes through the whole bath-book-bed routine with her dad and sister. Rio drops off to sleep like she’s under a fairy spell. Serena, not so much.

While we were in Arizona, I tried a few nights just leaving her in bed with a small lamp and a book. Which, to my very great amazement, worked.

She’d sit in there and “read” to herself for hours. One night I came in at midnight and found her face down asleep on a copy of Rapunzel. Oh, sweet girl. I get it. Books are that good.

Tonight, she came tippy-toeing down the stairs about twenty minutes after her dad had said good-night and turned the lights out. She was wearing stripey pyjamas and a hopeful, determined smile. There was no shooing that kid back upstairs.

“I looking for Princess Belle, Mama,” she said in her Very Cutest Voice.

Yes, little one, you’ve got my number. I will do anything for that smile and that cooing voice. Let’s go find your doll.

Belle was not in any of her usual hang-outs. Not in the dollhouse, not under the craft table, not shelved with the picture books. Martin said he’d seen her in the bathtub earlier this evening, so we went upstairs to look. Serena triumphantly threw the shower curtain open.

“No water! Mama, there no bath here.”

“Yes, well, there was before. Did you have Belle in the tub with you?”

There was a damp Barbie drying off along the edge of the tub. Not Belle. Ariel.

“No, that Ariel. I not looking for Ariel. I looking for Belle.”

I am impressed at her patience, faith and fortitude. Even I’m starting to feel a little anxious that Belle just won’t turn up and it’ll be Tantrum Time, but the kid is just calmly taking it all in stride.

We poke around her bedroom a little bit and find Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Jasmin, Snow White and the other Ariel.

“No. Me no looking for Mulan. Or Mulan’s dress. That my Ariel doll. This my sister Ariel doll. No me looking for Cinderella.”

The girls have exactly eight Princess Barbie dolls, and we have just found seven of them. Only Belle is missing. She meticulously lines them all up at the mirror as she narrates their failings. I start to wonder if I’m being played, but she seems so serious. She doesn’t stop to play with any of the other dolls, and she doesn’t get distracted from her search for even a moment. This is not a simple stall tactic. This is a kid on a mission.

We go back downstairs. She engages her father in earnest conversation while I take another pass through the play area. There. Passed out on the piano like a lush, it’s Belle. Wearing Snow White’s dress. Do I even want to know what those princesses get up to when we’re not looking?

Whatever. I get to be the hero for once. I hand her the doll, and watch her levitate just a little with joy as she wraps both arms around her and clasps her tight to her chest. She beams at me for a moment like I’m The Best Mother In The History Of The Universe.

Then without another word, she turns and walks upstairs with her doll. Her dad and I stand there and watch her go, a little awestruck. We listened to her patter down the hall, into her bedroom, and thump into bed. Then we exchanged the grateful, triumphant high fives of two tired parents who just got handed a get-out-of-bedtime-free card.

It’s been an hour and there’s been no more sound from her room.

I think she really just wanted her doll.


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  • GrammiePoet

    Yay! Such a dramatic story with a happy ending – truly, a fairy tale for adults! Or maybe, just for other parents who can appreaciate the suspense – and cheer at the ending…


  • Megan

    My brother in law used to hide his “poof” all over the place so he could use time looking for him instead of sleeping. His favorite place was in the freezer because then it had to be warmed up in the dryer before he was put back to bed.


  • http://childwild.com Sierra

    That's completely awesome. Please don't teach my kids that trick.


  • Rich Wilson

    Ben saw a 'snapping giraffe head on a stick' at goodwill, and insisted on it. We didn't feel like taking home another piece of junk he'd forget about once home. We kept hiding it back on the shelf, and he kept asking for it. So we bought it. Turns out he really did want it. It's been almost a week, and every morning he feeds it. Every night he kisses it goodnight an tucks it in. And carries it around much of the day.


  • http://twitter.com/bkdelong B.K. DeLong

    Awwww, very cute story.

    I'm lucky as both kids pass out pretty quickly. We haven't yet developed any routine with the 1yr old other than walking up the stairs, climbing into her crib, snuggling with her animals, and then on goes the CD player and the noise machine. Out.

    The boy, well teeth brushing, a few stories then lights out with his CD. Same CD since he was a baby. However if I don't lay down next to him he'll get up right after I leave and climb into our bed. If I stay with him, he passes out in about 10min. Very nice – just wish they both slept in longer.


  • GimliGirl

    I can definitely appreciate the suspense in this story. Gabe has 'blankie', a gift from his babyshower, that absolutely must accompany him to bed at night. It used to be varying shades of light blue and green but it's been loved and washed so much that the colours are mostly faded right off to grey. Bedtime isnt' bedtime with out a story and snuggle and blankie.


  • http://childwild.com Sierra

    Oh that is too crazy cute. I just wrote an article about parents vs.
    clutter that's not published yet, but one of the experts I talked w
    really stressed this point: that we don't know what our kids are
    attached to.


  • http://fastforwardacademy.com/index-page-irs-enrolled-agent-exam-course.htm Ricca

    My nephew has a bedtime ritual, one story before going to bed and then his milk followed by tucking him in inside his favorite blanket. The blanket goes with him every time they have to sleep somewhere else.


  • http://fastforwardacademy.com/ enrolled agent exams

    My nephew has a bedtime ritual, one story before going to bed and then his milk followed by tucking him in inside his favorite blanket. The blanket goes with him every time they have to sleep somewhere else.


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EOJ422OHLXIYXDRTXIXNC46M6A Kat

    Determined girl~
    and adorable story


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