Click here to read Chapter 25 from the beginning.
I set Paige in her crib and toss in her blankie. “Okay, girls, no playing today. You both need a nap.” I kiss Paige’s forehead and turn to kneel on the floor. “Especially you, Payton. I know how much you like to sing and talk.” Payton wraps her limp arms around me when I hug her. Closing the door. I keep my fingers crossed.
“Paige, let’s do that thing where we throw our stuffed animals.”
I finish folding a towel and listen. They giggle and whisper. I tip-toe to their bedroom door and peer inside through the crack.
Payton is standing at the end of her bed and Paige faces her. Payton picks up a stuffed animal and shoots it into Paige’s crib.
“Stop playing, it’s nap time!” I’m glad they’re getting along – they argue more often than note – but why can’t they get along after nap time?! I lean against the hall and sigh. This has been a daily struggle since Payton moved in. They both need naps, especially Paige, but there isn’t a different option because we don’t have a spare room.
Paige smiles at me from behind her pacifier, drool leaking out the sides. She’s teething and has little control over her salivation. I give her my mother stink eye and she bounces down onto the mattress, giggling.
Payton crawls under the covers, lays her head on Big Dog, and buries her face. “I don’t want to hear another peep. If you play with the stuffed animals again, I’m taking them away.”
I regret the words immediately after they leave my lips. Andrew and I don’t make empty threats and I will do it if necessary. I hope they understand I mean business.
A few minutes later, I hear the pitter-patter of feet, followed by a clunk. I peer inside their room again. Payton is out of bed, grabbing stuffed animals from their toy bin. The floor is littered with stuffed animals. The noise I heard was a baby doll with a plastic head that hitting the crib. Paige’s fingers stretch through the crib slats to grab it from the floor.
I burst into the room.“Okay, that’s it!” Payton dives into her bed and under the covers. Paige pulls her arm back into the crib, her eyes open wide. I gather the stuffed animals and toss them into the hallway. “You had your chance and you blew it.” It reminds me of the movie, Mommy Dearest – No wire hangers!
“I suggest you go to sleep!”I clench my teeth, seething at Payton’s disregard for the rules and indifference to the consequences. I bang the door closed on my way out.
Taking a clean garbage bag and pushing the stuffed animals inside, I tie it and toss it into the garage. I decide to sneak them back in one at a time.