Making beds is a daily chore around here. The kids grumble about it almost every morning, but by the time they leave for school, their beds are made. Mostly. Some days they make their beds quickly, other days they make their beds almost painfully slowly, but the beds usually get made. Grudgingly, grumblingly, and sometimes with a whine or two or three.
I make a point of never going back in to their rooms to fix their beds after they have made them. I don’t straighten crooked comforters or rearrange piles of pillows. I don’t criticize or critique their performance. I merely model what I want, talking through my process as I make their bed for them once in a while — as a treat, of course, because I love them. I even tell them so.
“I’m going to make your bed for you this morning because I love you soooooooooo much!”
And then I do, talking the whole time about first clearing stuffed animals out of the way, then straightening the sheet and tucking it in solidly at the bottom so they don’t kick it free at night, then the comforter goes on, nice and straight and flat so there aren’t any wrinkles to bother you at night. Next, the pillows, fluffed up so high and fluffy. Finally, it’s time to decorate – stuffed animals galore, arranged just so, keeping the bed warm and cozy until bedtime tonight.
Today, as sometimes happens, B asked for help making her bed. She had stayed up late last night as we visited with friends and was too tired to do it all by herself. It was too hard. In fact, it was impossible to do itall by herself, don’t you know.
(I am sure you can picture the sad little voice and the puppy-dog eyes and the droopy lower lip. She is, after all, very, very talented at dramatic facial expressions.)
What was this Mama to do with a look like that other than say “Of course, darling girl” while doing her best to smother her laughter?
The sad little face persisted in being sad, however, and I realized that there was an actual element of truth in her claim of being too tired. So tired, in fact, that shehad lost her smile. It was time for an injection of silliness.
So we made her bed. The silly way.
First, we undecorated her bed. While I cowered in the corner hiding behind the lid of the Rubbermaid bin, she flung teddies off her bed willy nilly. Some came close to my head. Some, I was able to successfully bat away using my impromptu Rubbermaid lid-shield-bat. One, a perfect home run of flung teddy bear goodness, flew off the bed, was struck by the Rubbermaid lid-shield-bat, and made its way back on to the bed before you could blink.
Needless to say, much laughter ensued.
Next, we pulled off all the covers and dumped them in a puddle on the ground and I pronounced the bed to be perfectly made.
So I threw B into the bed to try it out. Comfy, flat, no wrinkes… perfect.
“But Mama, you need a sheet!”
Right. Of course. So I flapped the sheet a few times and tucked in the edges, with B still in the bed.
After straightening out the fact that you don’t put the sheet on with the kid under it, we tucked the sheet in and made it flat and announced it perfect, at which point I threw B back into the bed so I could put on the blankets. The pink fleece blanket was first, with much smoothing and pressing and tugging on the great big giggly lump that I just couldn’t get out of the middle. The not-so-turquoise turquoise quilt was next, with more bump smoothing and squashing and giggling, and finally the top quilt for warmth, with more smoothing and squishing and puzzled frustration and lots and lots and lots of giggling.
B threw back the quilts with a dramatic flourish, pronounced me to be the silliest Mama ever, and then remade her bed all by herself, wearing an enormous grin the entire time. Bed made, it was time to decorate again, with stuffed animals and dolls and extra little pillows until her bed looked just the way she wanted it.
A corner of the sheet was sticking out at the bottom and the top quilt is not what I would consider straight, exactly, but it is fairly neat and rather enthusiastically decorated with about a billion bears and dolls and things, so it will do.
Most importantly, B is a happy girl again, and that, in my books, makes the way her bed was made absolutely perfect.