When William was a toddler, he mastered using manners to get what he wanted. He’d wander over, raise both of his hands like a referee signaling touchdown, and say, “May I please have some pick-me-up?”
This phrase has become part of our family lore, one of those stories that our twins love hearing over and over.
When William was four, we were at a dinner party with family friends, enjoying conversation with them and their worldly teen daughters.
“I want to go home,” William said, ignoring social conventions that adults know too well.
“William, that’s rude,” I said and smiled apologetically at our hosts while helping myself to more wine.
William paused and tried again. “May I please have some go-home-now?”
Fast forward two more years. William, now 6, stays awake long after his sister falls asleep. He reads, sings, and sighs, twisting in his blankets to find that magical comfy spot. Lately, he’s added escape artist to this nightly ritual. He grabs his duvet, commando crawls past our bedroom to avoid detection by my husband, tip toes down the stairs, and hides around the corner from where I sit under lamplight. I usually see his bare toes first.
“William?” I say.
“Hi Mom,” he says, stepping forward with his head down, pulling his duvet. “I can’t sleep.”
I look at him, trying to decide if I should send him back to his room or invite him to stay.
Usually, he makes the decision for me.
“May I please have a cuddle?” he asks. He knows that I can turn down neither good manners nor a cuddle.
I close my laptop, place it on the footstool, and make room for my boy, his blanket, and the finite number of cuddles I’m afraid lie ahead.
May I please have some comments?