“What’s wrong with the CD player Daddy?” my two big boys asked in unison as they sat up in their bunk beds. Part of their bedtime routine is we let them listen to quiet music on the small CD player on their dresser as they go to sleep at night. Tonight my boys stayed up later than usual, and by the time both were dressed for bed and under the covers, all three of us were bushed. On my way out the door, I pressed the CD player play button to turn on their music, but nothing happened.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. “I’m working on it, stay in bed.” I checked for a CD, pushed some different buttons, tried the radio, everything was right but nothing was working. I pulled the plug out from the back and it kicked on with battery power (it efficiently operates on whopping 8 “C” batteries). I plugged the cord back in but it went dead again. So after a minute of frustration I announced that regretfully, they would have to go without music tonight.
“No, we need our music!” they shouted, a hint of panic in their voices. I could sense things were fading quickly – these types of problems only seem to happen on the nights when it’s late and everyone is exhausted. I heard Matthew start whimpering from his top bunk, mumbling about how much he loves the music. “I just really wanted to sleep with the m-m-music…ahhhhh….” Clearly this was the final straw on a big day that had already included a school Halloween parade and afternoon party followed by an evening school program.
This was really the last thing I felt like doing. “Fine!” I grumbled, and turned the light back on to more closely inspect the wretched machine. I took the cord out of the extension it’s plugged into, moved the dresser to make sure the plug was in the wall properly – everything seemed fine. I braced for the total meltdown that lurked around the corner.
“You know, Daddy,” my 4 ½-year-old calmly said from his bed, “the music won’t work when the light is turned off.”
I turned my head toward him. “What did you say?”
“The light has to be on for the CD player to work,” he repeated.
It dawned on me that he was right, and I’d forgotten that the player is plugged into an outlet controlled by the wall switch, which was off. I didn’t know what to do other than look at him with a goofy face and smile.
“Well aren’t you the little genius!” I answered him.
He grinned but waited for the punch line, naturally assuming that his all knowing Daddy would have already deduced this fact and that he couldn’t have been the one to figure it out. But I let him bask in his newfound technical prowess and walked over to the doorway and flipped on the switch. The player lit up and the music rang out, just as he’d predicted.
I turned out the light, leaned over his bed and kissed his forehead. “I guess you’re smarter than Daddy tonight aren’t you? Good night.”
He hugged me with a smile and turned over onto his pillow to go to sleep. I walked out of the room laughing, happy that disaster was averted and feeling a bit put in my place.