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Friday, August 04, 2006

Bedtime Vocabulary

As I helped Lizzy get ready for bed one night recently, she began probing my vast vocabulary for a particular word.

“What do you say in the morning when you wake up?” she asked.

Not understanding, I asked what she meant. She obviously was having hard time defining the term herself. “After you sleep, when you’re not tired, what do you say?”

“Um, I guess you say, ‘I feel well rested,’” I said.

She wasn’t satisfied, and even after multiple attempts, my spontaneous vocabulary quiz ended with me failing and Lizzy being somewhat frustrated at my inability to provide the word she was after.

Several days later, I completed the bedtime routine and left Lizzy in her room to read with the light on. When I returned some time later and turned out the light, Lizzy protested that she was not ready for sleep. “But I’m not tired,” she said, then edited herself and declared, “I’m so untired . . . I’m so well rested.”

At last I understood the term she was seeking. I have yet to tell her that alert, wired, restless, or bright-eyed-and-busy-tailed might be suitable terms, and she continues to use “well rested” regularly. I probably should give her some alternatives, but it makes me smile whenever she seeks to avoid bedtime by saying, “But I’m so well-rested.”

Another fun example of her desire not to go to sleep at night: The other day I went in to turn out her light and she was asleep with the Friend magazine crumpled between her hands. I gently removed the magazine, trying not to wake her, and she stirred and protested weakly (without opening her eyes), “But I’m still not tired.” Then she promptly fell back asleep.

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