I’m awoken by a little shake of the bed.
Rolling over, a cascading rainbow of plush friends greets me: Eeyore, with his dead eyes. Super Bunny, his mask all askew. Baby Pooh Bear, with his stumpy, useless limbs. And of course, Monkey. Always Monkey. Joining them comes Blanket, draping them all in all his threadbare, velvety glory. Then Coltrane himself arrives at the summit of the mountain he has created beside me, grunting through his pacifier.
“Light gween, Dada. Time up.”
I lay back and sigh. Morning always seems to come too quickly. I’ve been sick, but despite still only being half-awake I can feel that on this morning I am better than the one before. Still, I don’t really want to get up yet.
“Is big brother awake?” I ask.
“No. Tuck-Ew sweeeeping.”
“Okay. Good,” I say, hoping that’s the truth. I wonder if I can buy some more horizontal time before I have to actually get vertical. “Do you want to snuggle with Dada for a few minutes?”
He plops down beside me on his back, stealing my wife’s pillow, and we lay for a moment in silence. The morning sun and a light, blessedly cooling breeze drift in from the window above us. Coltrane closes his eyes, and for a moment I get a glimmer of hope that I might actually get a little more sleep. But the closed eyes are soon accompanied by the familiar sly smile that tells me he is simply already into a game that Dada has yet to join. I rectify that.
“Shhhh,” I whisper to the gathered gang of toys. “Cole is sleeping. Everyone be veeeery quiet.”
Eyes pop open with delight. “I wake up!”
“Ohmigoodness. So you did!” I pick up Eeyore. “Eeyore, did you wake him up?” I drop into my best Eeyore voice. “‘Nooo, I didn’t. But as usual, Eeyore gets blaaamed for eeeverything…'”
“Not Eeyore did it. Monkey did it!” Coltrane says, beaming. He’s holding up the chocolate brown culprit, who is giving nothing away with his far-off stare.
“Monkey! Why did you wake up Coltrane? That wasn’t very nice.” I scold.
I roll onto my stomach and fold my arms under my head. The sun is now glowing through Cole’s hair, giving him a bright halo. It makes the smile even more enchanting.
“Monkey, I’m going to go back to sleep now. You’d better not wake me up!” I declare, with feigned indignance, and I close my eyes in a fictional huff.
In seconds, I feel the velvety soft tap-tap-tap of a certain plushy primate, as he bounces along my back. I add some wheezy snoring to sleep, and he takes up residence on top of my head. He seems to be doing some sort of dance.
“Monkey!” I say, opening my eyes, “Are you waking me up again?”
“No waking Dada up. Monkey pooping Dada head.”
I love this kid.