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With help from her mother and brother, six-year-old Lily begins to tackle her bed-wetting problem so that she can go to a sleepover party.
We get out our snacks while Ms. Marshall is still trying to line everyone up. I have peanut butter graham crackers today, and LaVon has a biscuit with some ham in the middle. My mouth gets watery when I look at it.
Poor Daisy has carrots, and they aren't nice skinny strips, either. Just plain, bare carrots, not even peeled, with a white carrot whisker on the end of each one. Yick.
Daisy's mom believes in food that is a little too healthy. Even Daisy thinks so. She doesn't say anything, but you can tell. LaVon and I bring extra snacks, though, so Daisy doesn't starve. She is our friend!
"Want some carrot?" Daisy asks when we reach the yard, which is full of wind and yelling kids. LaVon has already started skipping, but she will come back to us pretty soon. Her skirt looks like a little green kite blowing across the playground.
"No, thank you," I say. "But here, have a graham cracker sandwich."
"Oh, okay," Daisy says, like it is no big deal -- like she is not practically starving. She starts chomping away. We walk over to the bench.
"I want to ask you a question," I say. "Do you know a way to stop having bad dreams?"
Daisy licks graham cracker crumbs from her lips and hugs her jacket tight around her. She frowns, thinking hard. "I used to get them all the time when I was little," she says. "I used to dream there was this terrible-"
"Don't tell me!" I say, covering up my ears fast. "That's all I need, another scary thing to dream about!"
Daisy giggles, and her yellow bangs blow in the wind. "Sorry," she says.
"But how did you stop having the dreams?" I ask. "That's what I want to know."
Daisy thinks for aminute. "Well, I was sleeping on my stomach whenever a nightmare woke me up," she says, like that's the answer.
"So that's the thing," Daisy says, as if she is on a TV show and has just explained what is behind curtain number three. "You have to sleep on your back!"
"All night long?" I ask her. I am trying to figure out how you could do that. How can you be the boss of your nighttime self?
Daisy nods, and her bangs bounce. "Yup," she says. "It's easy." She looks at the little plastic bag I am holding.
I hand her another graham cracker sandwich. "Okay, how?" I ask.
Crunch, crunch, crunch. "Well," she finally says, "you lie on your back when it's time to go to bed, and then you do two things. First you cross your ankles, and then you put your hands under your head. That way, you can't roll over onto your stomach -- even in your sleep."
I frown. This is confusing! "I don't get it," I say. "My hands go under my head?"
Daisy clasps her fingers together and puts them behind her head. Her elbows come up like wings. "You know," she says, "kind of like you do on the Fourth of July? When you are lying on the grass at Fairmount Park, watching fireworks?"
She forgets that I just moved to Philadelphia, but I am excited now. "On the Fourth of July, I am blowing out birthday candles!" I tell Daisy.
"Lucky!" Daisy says, just as LaVon comes skipping up to us.
"Who's lucky?" LaVon asks.
"Lily is. She gets to have a birthday on the Fourth of July," Daisy says.
LaVon smiles big. "Well, my birthday's November first," she says, and then she waits, like she is expecting us to congratulate her.
I am thinking, November first? What's so great about that?
"You know," LaVon says with a laugh, "the day after Halloween! And that's not all," she says, wiggling onto the bench in between me and Daisy. "Guess what?" she asks. She hands Daisy a hunk of her ham biscuit, and my stomach gurgles again, just from the idea of it. My stomach has a good imagination.
"Mmm," Daisy says, biting into the biscuit. "What?"
"Halloween is on a Saturday this year," LaVon says. "That hardly ever happens. It means that I get to go trick-or-treating with friends, and then have a sleep-over party, if I want!"
My heart starts to go ka-thunk inside my jacket. This sounds like the most fun party I have ever heard about! Trick-or-treating, and then -- hey, wait a minute, I think. A sleep-over? I have never been to one of those.
"And guess who I'm inviting?" LaVon asks, her voice all teasy.
"Me!" Daisy yells, jumping up from the bench. Her bag of hairy carrots bounces to the ground.
"And me, too?" I ask LaVon, getting up more slowly. Ms. Marshall got a whistle last week, and now she is blowing it, hard. That means we have had enough nutrition. It is time to go back to class and work on our words.
"Of course you are invited, too," LaVon says, giving me a little shove. Her lime-green barrettes twinkle in the sunlight. "It'll be so much fun," she says. "We can eat our trick-or-treat candy and talk real late. Who knows when we'll fall asleep?"
Ka-thunk! goes my heart again as we are lining up.
In somebody else's house?
In somebody else's room?
In somebody else's bed?
Which I will probably wet?
This will be the best party invitation I have ever gotten in my whole life so far, and I will have to just say no.
Unless Daisy's goofy plan works, that is.