It’s naptime and we’ve just finished peeing, pooping and reading two chapters from a fat library book of Woody and Buzz Lightyear’s adventures in Andy’s room. I turn off the light and switch on the “sleep sheep,” which sounds like waves crashing gently onto a tropical beach. Little r, my three-year-old grandson, loves to chat a bit before sinking into his 2-hour slumber.
“Gooma,” he yawns, having given me this beautiful name, changing my identity forever when he was less than a year old.
“What, darling?” The sleep shade has been drawn over the window out of habit, even though it’s winter and there’s next to no light other than from snow. It’s very dark in my bedroom where r has decided to sleep this afternoon, and I’m getting drowsy.
“My mama is not your mama, too.” r announces, snuggling close, his head on my chest, his small hand fumbling under the comforter for mine.
“You’re right, r. I am your mama’s mama, and also your grandma. You’re your mama’s little boy and your mama is my big girl.”
r cracks up, kicks the covers off his feet, rolls over, snuggles close again. “That’s silly, Gooma! My mama’s not a big girl! She’s a doctor!”
“Oh, that’s right. Sorry, I must’ve forgotten. Thanks for reminding me.” r reaches for the bottle of water on my nightstand, takes a drink and asks, “Who is your mama, Gooma?”
We pull up the covers, get comfortable again, and just as I’m about to answer there is a tap on the door. C, r’s dad, has come to kiss his son good-nap.
r sits up and, now that my eyes have adjusted to the dark, I can see he’s frowning.
“I’m having a nap here today, Daddy, with Gooma. In her bed. Not upstairs. We’re good.”
C , a seasoned, stay-at-home dad, smiles, stifles a giggle. “Oh, so sorry to disturb you, r. I just came to give you a kiss, but if…”
“Oooookay,” r says, reaching out to do his duty. And then, patting his dad on the back adds in the most adult-like voice I’ve ever heard from a toddler, “It’s okay. I’m fine. I don’t need anything.”
Sleeping Child by Bernardo Strozzi (15811644)