Somebody Help the Boy!
This is one of many Riley stories. Short and sturdy, with a huge punkin head, a mop of sandy hair and hazel eyes, Riley's winsome smile and frank charm and screwball logic could charm the most cynical among us. Riley had been put to bed. Being two and a half and a Big Boy, he no longer slept in a crib, but on my youngest's bed, with his own little pillow and quilt. A few minutes into naptime, I heard muffled talking coming from within the room, decide to peek in. At first I don't see him in the bed. Another step into the room tells me why. From the waist down, Riley is in bed. From the waist up, though, he's hanging over the edge. His palms press into the floor, his big head hanging between his elbows. He is struggling desperately to lift himself back into the bed, but his head is just too heavy. His neck quivers, his shoulders tense, his feet kick, but he's well and truly stuck. He's afraid to let himself drop forward, he can't go back. He talks to himself. "Oh, Riley. Oh, Riley, what you did. Oh, help! Riley is stuck!" You know the adage: "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime?" It applies. I know this boy. Were I simply to lift him back into bed, that would rescue him only until the next time he tried to wriggle out of bed hands first, probably five minutes from now. Far better to show him how to complete the manoeuvre safely. However, I know this boy. If I do that too readily, he'll be slipping and sliding out of bed five times a nap. I sit on the floor beside him. With warmth and concern, I observe: "You're sure stuck, aren't you, Riley?" "Yeah. I stuck." "It doesn't look very fun. Bet you'd be more comfortable in bed, wouldn't you?" "Yeah. Bed." "Okay, buddy. I'll show you how to get down, but then you're going to get right back in that bed." "Yeah. Bed." "And stay there." A cautionary tone. "Yeah. Bed." A little hand-over-hand, and Riley is sitting on the floor beside me. A snuggle to soothe, and then up he scrambles into bed. I tuck him in and kiss that punkin head. "Have a good snooze, Riley. And Riley?" "It's okay, Mary. My head likes to be in bed now."