Tonight Jeremiah wasn't interested in going to sleep. He much prefers talking, as John and I discovered, so we generally put him to bed in our room and move him after he is finally asleep. If we don't do this, he talks to the other three boys until a fight starts or someone is thrown from a top-bunk. Tonight, I was surprised when I went into my bedroom to check on him. He was wide awake with tears in his eyes.
"You didn't come sweep with me!" He said, "And I was crying!" I told him that I had been saying goodnight prayers with the other boys and it took longer than usual. He snuggled up next to me and insisted I read "The Tooth Book" for the third time in a week. I hurried through the book, but he noticed when I tried to skip pages. After the book was over and we had counted all the teeth in the jack-o-lantern's faces, he finally seemed like he would drift off. I kissed his head and told him: "I love you." "I yove you, too." He whispered. I closed my eyes thinking I would hear his little muffled snore in just a moment. Instead, he was fighting sleep with conversation.
"Meyissa?" He asked.
"Do you yike monkeys?"
"Yes, monkeys are nice. Now it's time for sleeping."
"Do John yike monkeys?"
"Yes, John likes monkeys."
"Because monkeys are very nice. Now go to sleep."
A few more seconds of silence.
"Do Samuel and Mitchell yike monkeys?"
"Yes. They all like monkeys. Because monkeys are nice."
"Why you always say that? Monkeys are nice..."
"Because that's the reason most people like them. Monkeys are nice and funny. Now, it's time to stop talking and go to sleep."
After a few minutes of steady breathing, I thought we were finally getting somewhere. But I was wrong.
"Meyissa? Do Cody and Daniel yike monkeys?"
"And Garrett? Do Garrett yike monkeys?"
"Yes, they all like monkeys. Now no more talking."
Silence followed for two or three minutes. His eyes fluttered and he turned to me again:
"Do Nana yike monkeys?"
"Yes, Nana likes monkeys. She likes all animals."
Silence. Sweet, peaceful breathing.
"Even yions? Do Nana even yike yions?"