Lynn Kirkle with daughter Kate

Lynn Kirkle with daughter Kate.

Dear daughter,

I see you. I know what you’re doing. You may be cute — and I love you with all of my heart — but you are a sneaky little weasel.

The first time you came in our room after we put you to bed, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps your sodium intake was elevated enough to warrant a need for more water, so I fetched your Paw Patrol cup and filled it with water.

The next time you came in, you said you couldn’t sleep. You said it, but you literally hadn’t laid in your bed for more than three minutes at a time. You dangled upside down off the side of your mattress, played with Barbies, sang the “Annie” soundtrack at the top of your lungs and repeated the word "bueno" around 15 times in a row.

A lot was happening in your room, but sleep was not a part of that fiesta.

That’s right, kid. I peek into your room when you aren’t watching. It was quiet for a few minutes after I put you back in your bed and I foolishly thought you might’ve been settling in. But when I glanced up from my book and saw you on your hands and knees in the hallway, crawling toward my room, I cursed my own naïveté. When confronted, you didn’t even have an excuse! You just strung together a few words about how much you loved the color pink, and then you asked me if I liked pink.

Seriously, kid, that’s the best you could do?

I ushered your pink-loving booty back to your room, kissed you (again), said goodnight (again) and read “Goodnight Moon” (again).

But you bounced back in a big way, baby girl.

The next time you got up, you said it was because you were so hungry. You were so hungry that it made your tummy hurt so you couldn’t sleep. You said it in the sweetest, most adorable little voice — sad, weepy and oh-so-cute. I’m certain I would’ve been moved to act if it weren’t for the fact that I’d seen you eat two pieces of pizza for dinner, as well as an apple, two bananas, a pickle, a bowl of vanilla ice cream, some Goldfish crackers and a piece of bread. Spoiler alert: You were not hungry.

Your father, however, didn’t know. He’s a soft-hearted marshmallow when faced with your cutesy wiles and he was unable to resist. He said things like "How do we know she isn’t hungry?" and "She’ll probably sleep if her tummy is full" until I ultimately caved and gave you a handful of carrots.

But I saw the smile you gave me as your chubby little fists fed carrots into your mouth, and I knew in that moment you understand all.

So perhaps it’s time for us to bargain. All mommy wants to do is sleep when she goes to bed at night. I’m so tired after a long day, and walking back and forth between your room and mine 10 times a night is starting to make the bags under my eyes get bags. So tell me, what’s it going to take, kid?

You want a pony? You got it. Perhaps an early visit from Santa? Done. Name your price, you wide-awake little maniac, because I’m too tired not to make a deal.

I can’t use Red Bull as a sleep replacement forever.


Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.

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