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The first thing I did last night after work was to put on a pot of brown rice for dinner. Pa had made potato curry the night before, we just needed some rice to go with it. I set the timer for 50 minutes just as Pa was getting home. Rio asked for some snuggle time so we got on my bed. He brought his new favorite toy along too – Furby. Not the hi-tech talking Furby that was all the rage a few years back, but a deaf-mute plush version. Rio is enchanted by the silly creature. The only problem is that it’s not his Furby, it’s his stepbrother’s. Rio still has some Christmas money left, so I told him we could get him a Furby of his own. At first, he objected:

"No, I don’t want another Furby! I want this Furby!"

Eventually I persuaded him that if he picked out the Furby himself, he could select the very best Furby of all. At this point I was laying on the bed with one leg crossed over my knee, holding one corner of a blanket above the bed. Rio had constructed a tent for Furby and I was acting as a tentpost. Pa was nearby on his computer, and we were all relaxed and playful. I was kinda sorry when I had to get up and tend to the rice. But I did, and we had a yummy dinner. Afterward, I was planning on uploading some photos before I prepared Rio for bed. Oddly enough, however, he was begging to go to bed already, and it was only 6:30. On a school night I would happily indulge him in such an uncommon but healthy request. But it was Friday night, and I wanted to get some sleep in the morning, at least until sunrise. If I put Rio to bed before seven I knew he’d be up before the sun.

I persuaded him to amuse himself for a while until I was finished with my pictures. I told him it was his last chance to play before bedtime, but he just asked to go to bed now. I managed to accomplish my task, after a lot of shooing him away every few minutes. He was more clingy than usual last night, and it’s a little pet peeve of mine that I’ve got to work on. Because it makes me feel guilty at the same time, and guilt is a sure sign of bad thought patterns. But when he follows me to the bathroom and clings to me while I’m fixing him dinner, after I’ve just had a good hearty snuggle session with him in the big bed – I get worn out by him. His idea of attention requires direct physical contact. He’s a very physical kid. He can be pretty intimidating to smaller, frail folk. He moves like a bull-dozer, and even his displays of affection are forceful. Hell, I had a boyfriend who cringed everytime Rio came near him, and Rio was only two. My point is, I’m having some personal space issues with Rio, and last night I became intensely aware of it.

After a while Rio crawled into bed and began reading (reciting, really) his favorite book to himself: Castle Under Attack. He actually fell asleep before I was done with my work. I tried talking to him to rouse him, but he didn’t respond. Finally I got up and got him ready for bed, giving him the extra cuddles I promised him after my work was done. We read the next chapter in The Silver Chair, but before we started he informed me that he would let me know if he was ready to sleep before the chapter was over. Fortunately, he was absorbed enough in the story that he made it all the way through.

That was yesterday. Today we have a house full of kids. We just returned from a sledding expedition, and now we're revelling in our favorite apres-sled delicacy: hot chocolate. We'll see what ensues next:)

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