Laura on Life

Treasure in a bed          Send a link to a friend

[October 11, 2007]  Living with a 5-year-old is an adventure every day. Something as simple as changing his bedding can turn into a treasure hunt. Well, the treasure is his, but the wonder of it all is something that I get to share.

Yesterday was "Changing of the Sheets" day. I say that like I actually schedule a day for this. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like every other facet of my life with a family of seven people, this chore is as random as a roulette wheel. It gets done when several things happen at the same time: when I think about doing it, when I have the time to do it, when no other major crisis is happening, and when the sheets need to be washed so badly that it's hard to tell what color they used to be. So basically, the stars have to be aligned just right, and I never know when that will be. Random.

The Changing of the Sheets usually involves yanking off the blankets and searching for the top sheet which, for most of my family, that means it's somewhere tucked under the foot or side of the bed. For some reason, they cannot sleep with a sheet on top of them. I only bother to put a sheet on the beds because I'm hoping that they will magically feel the need to use a sheet like normal people someday.

The next step is wrestling with a stubborn fitted sheet. I cannot seem to keep that fitted sheet wrapped around the mattress at any other time, but just try to change the sheets and suddenly it becomes permanently attached to the underside of the mattress.

When I got to my 5-year-old's bed, it was obvious that it had been a while since the sheets had been washed. I found many objects that had taken up permanent residence in his bed (luckily nothing that was alive), and I couldn't believe that he could actually sleep in it. I found a capless purple marker, which explained why he had all those little purple marks all over his back one morning. We thought he had particularly odd strain of the chickenpox, even though he'd been immunized against them. I don't know why I never thought that he might have been rolling around on a capless marker all night.

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I found 81 cents in assorted change. He'd been trying to find a way to get money for yet another Hot Wheels car. If he'd only checked his bed, he would've been more than halfway there already. He was certainly thrilled when I found that 81 cents, but I couldn't help but think that I was the one wrestling with his sheets -- why did he get to keep the money?

I found an empty crayon box. I've never understood why, if they come in a box, they need to be taken out of the box and spread hither and yon. Crayons are a set, right? They should be kept together. But even if the box is no longer being used to keep the set together, why would he keep it in his bed? He said he was "collectin'" it.

I found half of a paper clip. OK, now that had to be uncomfortable to sleep on. Not to mention, where was the other half?

I also found a six-inch piece of an erector set with screws still attached, the inside of an ink pen, a broken rubber band, three beads from my daughter's bead set, a roll of Scotch tape, a spent Estes rocket, three socks (none matched, of course), a piece of half-eaten fireball candy that was stuck to the sheet under his pillow, and a sandal that we've been looking for since May.

Lastly, I found an eight-inch iron railroad spike. He was "collectin'" that too, he said. I think perhaps he'll sleep better tonight now that I've changed the sheets.

[Text from file received from Laura Snyder]

You can reach the author at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com. Or visit www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her new book.

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