Faust Makes a Deal With a Toddler

Faust Makes a Deal With a Toddler

Tis sleep, tis sleep that I wish for. Oh, if only I had sleep.

The mysterious toddler appears with a promise of wishes but with mischief in his eyes.

“My dear Faust,” my toddler says. Somewhere Dora has stopped exploring. “I can grant your wish. But, it comes at a price.”

A bargain is offered, and a bargain is accepted. My will is weak as my banking account. It falls into the negative but so does the number of hours my kid lets me sleep. Even on the weekends, I’m up before the red glow of sunrise. Sleep. I must have sleep.

“Name thou price,” I say to my toddler. Playdates, laundry, and cooking the hateful chicken nugget has robbed me of my peace. I will make the deal.

“A glass of water,” my toddler says. “Just a glass of water.” He makes it sound so simple. Liquid refreshment to help him get to bed and thus, I take the deal. I am doomed. I give him a glass of water and he disappears as suddenly as he came. Quietly. Soft feet scampering away. I fall asleep on the couch as I do not have the energy to find my bedroom. I slept.

The vroom vroom a Hot Wheels Monster Jam truck jolts me away. My nose has been turned into an epic ramp, and the truck ascends to the heavens as my sleep is snatched away by those two foot beings that live alone.

“Are you awake?” my toddler says.

“I am. I am,” I say. “Please, please. Please let me sleep.” I beg because there comes a time when begging is all that a parent has left.

“Of course, Faust,” my toddler says. “For a price.”

“Name your price,” I say “And I will gladly play.”

“A snack,” my toddler says. “Just a simple snack.”

In my delirium, I deliver the snack. A piece of peanut butter toast. My toddler takes his offering, looks at it, and drops it on the floor. Once again he vanishes. The little pitter-patter of feet echoed down the hall. I can take no more and collapse to the cool tiles of the kitchen floor. Sleep takes me.

I wake up when I smell the red raspberry Crayola marker. Its chemical scent stings my nose, makes my eyes water, and I open them. On my chest, my toddler Van Gough has highlighted my nipples. Briefly, I wonder if this means something or if its purpose is to make me question if it means something. The toddler mind games consume me.

“I made art, Faust,” my toddler says.

“Yes,” I agree because to do so frightens me.

“I want to make a deal,” he says.

“But I have already made a deal,” I reply. “I gave you water. I gave you a snack. Now please go back to bed so that I can go to sleep.”

“You made one deal. It’s time for another.”

This is not a question but a statement by one that controls me.

“I want another snack.”

I do not argue. I make him another piece of peanut butter toast.

“Cut the crust off this time,” he says and alas, I know the mistake that I made the first time. I do as I’m told. He leaves and at last, I make it to my bed. I fall.

I dream of down comforters as big as cornfields, and pillows as fluffy as squish mellows. The sky is perfectly black with pulsating faraway stars that remind me of music. It’s the beat of my contentment. The sound of the toilet flushing washes away my dream.

I run to the bathroom. There is my toddler flushing Legos, my cellphone, and what looks like the deed to my house.

“How did you get my important paperwork?” I ask.

“Faust has a terrible filing system.” His words cut me, and then he adds, “And you have brown spots in your yard!” Oh, what did I do to deserve such torment! If only I could rest, then I could actually file away all of my paperwork instead of leaving it on the living room table for the last six months. If I was invigorated with just one night’s sleep, I could rise early in the morning and do the yard work. I could, I could, I could!

I take the last stand of a desperate man. I offer my toddler everything. Any toy he could ever want. A pony that comes with another pony. The sun, and the moon, and the stars if only he would grant me the one thing I desire most. Sleep.

“Excellent,” he says. “We are finally ready to talk.” He laughs. It’s disarming because it’s so cute. High-pitched and joyful. The kind of laugh that reminds me of my youth.

“What do you want,” I ask.

“Your soul,” he says. Outside, in the dead of night, thunder booms.

“Wait, what?” I ask.

“Um, your soul. You know. That’s how this usually goes.”

I smile because he does not know. He is clueless as he is cute. In his innocent ignorance, he does not realize what he asks.

“My dear boy,” I said. “I cannot give you my soul for I have already presented it to someone.”

“To who! Or is it whom? I’m not really sure, I’m only a toddler.”

“To you, the day you were born,” I say. “I cannot give again what I have already given away.

And with that, my toddler and I fall snuggle ourselves to sleep, and dream of dinosaurs and cellphones being flushed down the toilet.




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