It was one of those evenings that was going slowly, mainly because MrsDarwin and I were trying to have conversation as if the children were already in bed before they were and this distraction was preventing us from giving the bedtime routine sufficient attention to achieve our objective.
I had seen four children safely into beds, but miss five-year-old was elusive and so in keeping with the desultory mood of the evening I headed downstairs with thoughts of an evening cup of coffee. As I reached the landing I saw a form lying on the bottom step, a form exactly as long as the step itself and clad in a brown fleece footed sleeper that would have blended into the wood of the stair had it (the sleeper) not been covered in pink hearts.
We regarded each other for a moment.
"Are you waiting for a piggy-back ride?" I asked.
She nodded quietly.
I sat down on the bottom step and she climbed onto my back to be carried upstairs. In her bedroom, I drew back the covers, laid her down, and tucked the blanked up to her chin.
She stretched and I heard a strange rustling sound.
"What's that?" I asked.
"Oh." She smiled and reached inside her sleeper. "I forgot and left my deck of cards in there."
Always something up her sleeve.