The amount of time and attention Gracie is devoting to the arrangement of blankets on her bed has been elevated recently from “particular” to ”nearly neurotic.” On one hand, I feel like I don’t have any room to chastise Gracie for her strange insistence: it’s something I was also quite particular about when I was her age. I remember quite clearly being annoyed when my blankets were not straight and smooth and tucked neatly around me; I can remember dozens of specific times in my childhood straightening and neatening; but I don’t quite remember why. Was it to create a sense of control over nighttime routines since I had trouble falling asleep and was visited by nightmare after nightmare when I did sleep? Was it because I hated making my bed in the morning, something my mother insisted upon? Was it to create the illusion of a barrier between me and all things scary that lurked in the darkness, and therefore the barrier needed to be as perfect as possible? Who knows. But now Gracie is developing the same habits – to a point.
My blankets needed to be perfectly arranged at all times. If I woke during the night and my blankets were tangled or askew in the slightest, my bed needed to be remade. When I was older, I would even go so far as to put on my reading lamp and get out of bed, pulling down all the blankets and actually remaking my bed. Before bed, during the night, or during the day while I was sitting on my bed – at all times, (near) perfection was necessary. Gracie, on the other hand, only requires perfect blanket arrangement when she first gets into bed. During the night – well, she’s barely conscious and wakes up for nothing, so who cares? When she wakes up, all blankets are thrown aside violently and without a backwards glance. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen her bed made during the day this past year. Nope, she only cares when she’s getting settled. But boy, when she does care, she really cares.
Every night, Gracie will climb the ladder onto her top bunk and say, without fail, “Oh, I forgot to make my bed.” She will then make sure her pillows (one Tiger
pillow mattress pet, one pillow pet, one actual pillow) are properly layered to give her a throne-like repose, and then no matter how close to perfect her blankets are (which, okay, honestly, they usually aren’t), she will gather them up and try to hand them to me. Because The Insane One only works with a blank canvas, you understand. Before, I would take the blankets whenever she handed them to me. It seemed quicker to just give in. But lately, as I’m trying, foolishly maybe, to make Gracie see how unnecessarily complicated she’s making this process, I’ve been trying to get her to just leave the blankets at the foot of the bed until she’s ready to smooth out another layer. Instead she’ll try to drape them over her footboard where, more often than not, they’ll slide to the ground. And then I have to pick them up. And hold them. (See: Square One, Back to.) She’ll lay out her fuzzy green blanket. And then her afghan that Grandma made her. If she’s been cold lately and her sister hasn’t noticed, she’ll also layer a second fuzzy green blanket and afghan stolen from her sister. She used to have a quilt, but about a month ago – when the Even Crazier Fastidiousness started – Gracie decided the quilt was too bulky. I could kind of understand because with all of those blankets and the fact that both girls are hot-blooded and kick all blankets off during the night, the foot of Gracie’s bed did get awfully crowded, and that’s where the ladder is. It’s hard to climb in and out over all of the blankets she’s kicked off.
What kills me, though, besides the lack of caring about the State of the Blankets during any other time, is that it’s not like the rest of Gracie’s bed has any sort of order to it. She has about a dozen stuffed animals tossed all about. Her tissue box is sometimes wedged between the safety railing and her pillows, and sometimes floating on top of…something, somewhere. There’s usually a book under the covers or inside a pillow case. Sometimes a flashlight. She doesn’t even see the rest of it. It’s just…there.
And I wouldn’t care, really. As a single mom, I only have so much time and so much willpower to care about a limited number of battles. The making of the beds is not one I care to wage (obviously). But the straightening of the blankets routine is one that holds me up for a goodish bit of time at the point of my day when I am just done. I get that because I was needed in the beginning to shut the light off after the girls were tucked in. But then I bought an extension cord so Gracie’s reading lamp was attached to her headboard near her pillow instead of at the foot of her bed over her desk. So she could – theoretically – turn her reading lamp on, arrange her blankets, snuggle into her pillow, give a sigh of contentment, and shut the light off and go to sleep. But nooooo. Her Highness insists I stand there and watch her and only then am I allowed to give her a goodnight hug and kiss. And I do it, too, because one more hug and kiss is a mama’s kryptonite, world without end, Amen.
I get the blanket neurosis, I really do. But I’m thinking maybe it’s time to curb it back just a leeeetle.
Tags: bedtime routine