Sunday, May 6, 2012

Beyond Bedtime

 Alexa Bradley was five years old. She loved rainbows and flowers and ice cream cones. Most of all, she loved her Mom and Dad and her baby sister, Ally. She hated spinach and rainy days and scary movies. Most of all she hated to go to bed.

Every night, she would come up with a million excuses to avoid going to bed. Her tummy hurt. Her head hurt. She was hungry. She was thirsty. She was hot. She was cold. She needed another glass of water. She needed another story. She needed another kiss. She wasn't tucked in just right. It was always something.

"Alexa, honey," sighed her mother tiredly while putting her to bed one night. "Why can't you go to sleep? It's not as if Daddy and I are up having parties after you go to sleep."

But all Alexa heard was parties. 'Aha!' she thought. 'I knew they have parties when I am in bed. I knew it!'

After that she wanted to go to sleep even less than before. After Mommy and Daddy put her to bed, she would scramble out of bed and try to listen to what was going on in Mommy and Daddy's room. Sometimes, it was really quiet, but sometimes she heard loud voices and laughter.  She knew they were having a party without her! She felt left out. She didn't know why Mommy and Daddy would want to have parties without her anyway. She was a fun girl.

Sometimes, when Alexa was good her mother would give her a special treat. Usually, she got to pick out a book or watch an extra TV show or something. One day, Alexa was especially good. Not only did she help Mommy with Ally, but she even cleaned up her room without being asked. "I was good today, mommy. Wasn't I?" she asked.

Her mother nodded. "Yes. I'm proud of you." replied her mother.

"I think I deserve a special treat,"

"Okay." agreed her mother. "Would you like to get a book at the bookstore?" Alexa shook her head no. "Would you like to watch an extra hour of TV?" Alexa shook her head no. "Would you like an ice cream from the ice cream man?" Once again, Alexa shook her head no. "Then, what would you like?" asked Mommy.

"I want to stay up after my bedtime!" stated Alexa excitedly.

"Oh." replied Mommy quietly. "Are you sure that is what you want? I think you will be disappointed."

Alexa didn't think so. "Yes! Yes! I'm sure." she said jumping up and down eagerly. She was finally going to get to one of Mommy and Daddy's bedtime parties. She could hardly wait.

The day dragged by slowly. Finally, it was night time. Alexa helped Mommy put Ally to bed. Then, she followed Mommy and Daddy into their bedroom and sat down on the bed. Daddy turned on the TV. It was one of those boring mystery shows that Alexa hated but Mommy and Daddy liked. When was the party? Where were the guests? Where was the food? Where was the fun?' They must be waiting for the guests to come' thought Alexa.  She waited and waited, but no guests came and there wasn't any food or fun. Alexa almost fell asleep, but she didn't. "Mommy," she said finally forcing her eyes to say open. "When is the party?"

"When is what party?" asked her mother.

"The after my bedtime party." replied Alexa.

Mommy smiled. "Oh, Alexa," she said. "Is that why you wanted to stay up because you thought we have parties when you to go to bed?"

Alexa nodded. "I always hear voices, and it sounds like fun."

"That is the TV." replied Mommy pointing to it. Alexa had to admit it was pretty loud and now the mystery show was over and some comedy was on. There was a lot of laughter coming from the screen. It did sound like a party.  Alexa sighed with disappointment.

Mommy kissed her on the forehead. "My sweet silly girl." she said. "By the time Dad has worked all day, and I have taken care of you and your sister and the house, and we have eaten dinner and given you and Ally baths and put you to bed, we are too tired to have a party. We usually just relax and watch TV."

Alexa frowned and got up off of Mommy and Daddy's bed and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" asked Mommy.

"Back to my room."

"Why? Isn't this what you wanted? Aren't you having fun staying up after bedtime?"

"No! I'm not having fun. You and Daddy are boring. I'm going back to my room. " Mommy and Daddy laughed as Alexa hurried back to her own room. She never wanted to stay up after bedtime again at least not in Mommy and Daddy's room.

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