At four a.m. the toddler…

At four a.m. the toddler wakes
and calls for mama.

I go in to her
and she says
I want to use the potty.

In the bathroom
she is so sleepy
she leans on my shoulder
as I crouch in front of her
holding her up.

Afterwards
I sing her back to sleep
with her favorite song
her song

Kaviarasi, Kaviarasi
Nithiraiyo?, nithiraiyo?

Afterwards
I lie beside her
under a pink and gold canopy

listening to cricket chirps
and early birds
watching her even breaths.


My family's original Tamil version of "Are You Sleeping", as sung to me by my dad:

Chinna thambi, chinna thambi
Nithiraiyo?, nithiraiyo?
Manihadi aiyo! Manihadi aiyo!
Ding ding dong. Ding ding dong.

And researching this, I found this version, which I must now memorize so I can sing it to her:

I hear thunder, I hear thunder,
Oh don't you? Oh don't you?
Pit-a-patter raindrops, Pit-a-patter raindrops,
I'm wet through. So are you.

I love that last line.

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