Conversation With A 3-year-old At Midnight

Ella has been getting in and out of her bed and monkeying around since bedtime 3 1/2 hours ago. I walk into her room (for the 50th time) and find her on the floor with a new diaper in her hands.

"Ella, you need to go to sleep."

"Me change my diaper. My jammas wet."

And yes, she has been known to change her own diaper. Every so often she will disappear into her room in the middle of the day. Just when I start to wonder what the heck she's doing in there, she'll emerge with a naked fanny and walk over to the trash with a wet diaper and a used wipe in her hand. My son never did anything like this, so it's quite amusing. You would think this means that she is ready to be potty trained. You would be wrong. I was. Anyway...

"Did your diaper leak?"

"No, from water."

I feel around her pajamas and find they have exactly one small drop of water on them. As we're changing her diaper anyway:

"Ella, you need to stay in your bed."

"Me got your nose!" (Pretends to grab my nose and eat it.)

"Ella, if you get out of your bed again, I'm going to turn off your Tinkerbell Light." (Which is actually a light-up TinkerBell Christmas tree topper that somehow migrated into her room when the holiday decorations were put away.)

"Okay!" (Big smile.) "Try get your nose back!"

"Ella," (serious Mommy voice) "You need to stay in your bed or I will turn off your light."

"Okay! Try get my nose!"

"No, it's not playtime."

"You try take my tongue!"

"No, Ella, I'm not going to take you tongue."

(Squeals with laughter) "That's funny!"

(Wraps her arms around my neck, pulls me to her and lands a huge wet kiss on my forehead.)
"Look at your forehead!"

"Honey, I can't see my forehead."

"Look at forehead!" (Pushes my face up with her sweet little hand so that I can see my own forehead.)

(Me, giving up a little.) "Oh, I see, it's all wet."


I put Ella back in her bed.

"Stay in your bed and go to sleep."

(Wraps her tiny arms around my neck and pulls me to her.) "You know I love you, right Mama?"

An hour later Ella pretends to walk like a penguin as she enters the living room.

"Me have fuzzy in my mouth, me need my water. See?" (Opens her mouth as wide as possible so I can see invisible fuzzy.)

"Your water is by your bed."

"Mommy! Want to tell you secret!" (Penguin-walks over to me and whispers loudly in my ear,) "Me walk like penguin. See?" (Penguin-walks back to her room and goes to sleep.)

Sometimes 3-year-old cuteness can be overwhelming. I need to remember this night the next time she's in her bed screaming, "YOU COME HERE RIGHT NOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!"

It all evens out.