A whole menagerie of guests has shown up in Harper’s room on recent nights. Most are the garden variety monsters and big bad wolves, but last night, when we were all peacefully asleep, a lion appeared.

Now, I should note that she regularly sleeps with a large social group of “friends.” There’s her beloved elephant, of course, and then a teddy bear, a puppy, a baby or two, and some combination of kangaroo, bunny, moose, and lion. It gets awfully crowded in her bed sometimes.

I think her lion-friend must have let in the uninvited (and apparently much larger) lion, who showed up at 2:30 in the morning and woke her up. She sought refuge in our room – what is it about those little feet padding across the hall from her room to ours that jolts me instantly awake?

“Mommy,” she said. “There’s a lion in my room.”

“A lion?”

“Yeah. A big lion.”

“Oh,” I said. “Is your little lion there, too?”


“Ask your little lion to tell the big lion to go away.”

“Okay,” she said, and went back to her room.

I rolled over and looked at Rob, who was awake by then, too. “‘Okay?’” I whispered, astonished. “Did that really work?”

It was quiet for a minute, but then the little feet padded back. “The lion’s still there.”

So I got up and we walked back to her room. “Where’s the lion now?” I asked.

“Over there.” She pointed to her bed.

“Hmm. Do you want to just sleep on the floor?” She nodded, so I handed her the pillow and several of her friends, and wrapped a blanket around her. She was instantly asleep.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, it’s best to just let the lion have the bed.

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