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No Hand-Holding Required

I'm sitting at the dining room table pouring over staffing grids. It's nearly midnight, but this is my favorite time to work. I love the quiet of night, and I am at my most productive when the rest of the world (namely my three children) is sleeping. Startled by the pitter patter of little feet, I look up from my laptop to see my two-year-old daughter standing in the doorway. "What are you doing up?", I ask. "I'm not tired," she says. Well, I guess we know whose genes she got. "You have to go back to bed, Sabrina. It's very late," I say. My husband appears in the doorway and reaches out to take her hand. "Come," he says, "I'll tuck you back in." She looks up at him, then looks at me, then bursts into tears. She is literally hysterical as she tries to get out her next sentence, but all that she manages between sobs is, "hand... don't... street... cross." My husband looks at me, clearly confused. I, on the other hand, know exactly what she's trying to say, and I can't help but laugh at what I find to be brilliant logic coming from the mouth of my overtired toddler at this late-night hour. I help them both out by filling in the blanks. "You only have to hold hands to cross the street," I say. Shaking his head back and forth in defeat, my husband is laughing now too. Satisfied at having made her point, Sabrina stops crying as quickly as she began and repeats her declaration, this time forming a complete sentence. "I don't have to hold your hand," she tells her father. "You only have to hold hands to cross the street." It's still funny and we are all laughing. I say, "Okay, Sabrina, you can walk all by yourself back to bed. You don't have to hold hands." I am half expecting a fight, but instead she says, "Goodnight!", blows us both a kiss, and runs off down the hall to put herself back to bed, no hand-holding required.

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