It had been 30 minutes.
PLAY NICELY, I had told them.
Cracked the door, TIME IS UP. With incredulity and utter shock, Ruby drew her stuffed chipmunk to her chest and exclaimed:
But we're almost to the part where she finds out that he is really her long lost BROTHERRRRR!
I mean, the amount of furrow in her brow was insurmountable.
So I popped up five tired mom fingers, as if to signal five more minutes. Excited chatter as I shut the door.
Swung on my heels to the neighboring room, taking a bracing breath and blowing it out as, OKAYYYYYY TIME FOR BED, hoping for success with the younger set.
These two babies, with toddler skin and animal figurines clutched as dearly and tightly as their own children, looked up at me with varying degrees of hazel eyes and wordless, asked for a million dollars and a few extra minutes to play and I said no in a puddle of yes.
Which means, I said yes. So bedtime was late tonight.
And Lillie sleeps in a gymnastics leotard and tights.
And Ruby is 8 now, and she looks different and seems different.
And Grace is like 27 and is my little girlfriend.
And Tada is laughter, a breeze and chocolate cake in human form.