I’ve always felt bad – stingy and petty – for introducing the one-minute back-rub to our boys’ bedtime.
I used to just rub backs ad lib. But then – Micah must have been two and Lysle four – I started receiving complaints.
Multiple complaints. Nightly.
“More!” “Little longer!” “You rubbed Micah’s back more than mine! Unfair!” “Aw, don’t stop already.” “Not done, not done!” “More!”
They kept coming.
So to be fair – to both Lysle and Micah and my own tired self who still had dishes to do – I started saying: “One minute!”
I wouldn’t go so far as to actually time myself. I just counted to sixty. Sometimes at a leisurely, lollygagging pace. Sometimes in a rush. Those were very variable minutes, though I tried to keep it consistent from one back to the next.
The one-minute back-rub has stood the test of time. It’s been around for over five years.
But one evening last week Micah thought it was time for an amendment.
“How do you count?” he asked me when I kissed his hair to signal I was done.
“I count to sixty.”
“One, two, three – like this?”
“Yes,” I drawled suspiciously, “but not as fast as that.”
“You have to count one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi to sixty.”
“Or it’s not a minute!”
Since then I’ve been counting Mississippis and my minute has become much less variable. Not to say longer. I can’t rush through Mississippis. I can barely spell them, even get tongue-tied in my mind. Now I regularly lose count thanks to all those riverinely meandering syllables.
Introducing: The Micah-minute back-rub! New and improved! Two minutes for the price of one!
The kid has no clue who or what a Mississippi is, but he knows his business.