“No, baby, remember you’re a big girl now, big girls sleep in their own beds,” I tell my baby girl as I tuck the covers in around her, silently praying this is the time.

“I don’t want to be a big girl.”

“You want to wear nail polish and only big girls get to wear nail polish,” I remind her, watching her bottom lip pop out making her look just like her mom.

“Can I have some water?”

“You already had water,” I remind her, since we just got back from getting water three minutes ago.

“Can I go potty?” Jesus, this kid doesn’t stop.

“Do you really have to potty?” I ask and she shrugs.

“I think so.”

“Okay, come on.” I help her up and lead her across the hall to the bathroom. “All done.” She grins at me mischievously after washing her hands four times.

Jesus, I love my girl. I love her with everything I have in me. But there are times, like right now when I know her mom is in bed awake and waiting for me, that I wish I could send her away for a night or three.

“Are you ready?”

“Can I have water?”

“Sorry, no more water tonight. Tomorrow you can have more.”

“Okay, Daddy.” She holds her arms out toward me and I pick her up, feeling her heavy weight against my chest as I carry her back to bed. Tucking her back in for the tenth time since putting her to bed over an hour ago, I kiss her forehead then stand.

“Night, baby.” I head for the door then stop when her soft, sweet voice asks quietly,

“Can you read me another story?” Turning to look at her, I watch her give me the puppy dog eyes that are my kryptonite.

Sighing, I pick up a book off her desk and head back toward her, watching her smile.

It’s going to be a long damn night.

Waking with my body aching, I carefully climb out of Destiny’s tiny toddler bed, making sure not to wake her then head down the hall to mine and Ashlyn’s room. As soon as I walk through the door, I smile. The TV’s still on and Ashlyn is asleep on her side with a box of cookies against her round stomach, her hand still in the box where it obviously was when she fell asleep. Shaking my head, I carefully dislodge her hand and set the box on the bedside table before settling into bed next to her. “Wake up baby.” I kiss her ear and run my hand over her breast and stomach, then freeze as her nails run over my abs and our daughter asks,

“Daddy, can I sleep with you and Mama?” from the doorway.

“Christ,” I groan in frustration as Ashlyn carefully turns and sits up, giving me an apologetic smile before looking at our daughter.

“Come on up, baby.” She pats the bed, and Destiny grins then runs across the room and climbs up next to her. Watching her tuck our daughter into her side, I pull both my girls close and rest my hand over my son, who will be here in a few months. Holding everything that is important, I close my eyes and fall asleep.

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