“…amen,” I said, finishing my nightly prayer with the children, and opening my eyes. I found Lydia staring up at me with a very sour look on her face. The room was dark except for the glow of the red Christmas lights that are strung around the upper frame of the bunk bed that Gideon and Lydia share. They were both sleeping on the bottom bunk tonight. I pulled the blanket up and tucked it in around their chins. Lydia continued to stare at me like I was covered in earthworms and she couldn’t believe that I wasn’t doing anything about it.
“Okay, what?” I said.
“Why would you say that?” she asked quietly as if she were still in shock.
“I have no idea what you are talking about, and I almost definitely do not have time.”
“But, why would you ask for us to be ‘Renewed’?”
I squinted in the strange light and tried to remember what I had said. “Oh. Um. Okay, that’s a weird way of saying it maybe, but I… I was just asking God to give the two of you a good night’s sleep, so you can wake up and do fun things tomorrow.”
She looked away for a second and then looked back, “But what does ‘Renewed’ even mean though?”
I thought for a moment, “Well. It’s like. ‘re’ meaning to do something again, and then ‘newed’ which is like to be new again.”
She very quickly shook her head as if I had just missed a very important point. “And NAKED. It also means naked, Dad. It means we are going to get re-naked!”
I recoiled and knocked my head on the frame of the top bunk. “Ouch! What? What are you talking about?”
“Nude means to be naked, Dad. Why would you pray for us to be renude?”
Before I could gather my thoughts and clarify, Gideon was already jumping to my aid with an explanation. “Lydia, Lydia… It’s not NUDE.” he closed his eyes and shook his head, “That would be ridiculous. It’s Nood. Nood is like a Noodle.” the little boy in the soft red darkness turned to look me right in the eyes. “Dad is praying that we will both wake up as noodles,” he said this with an accusative tone in his voice that I honestly found a bit hurtful.
“I do not want you to turn into noodles,” I said firmly.
Lydia came at me again, “Then why did you ask God to turn us into naked noodles while we are asleep? How am I supposed to not have bad dreams when you are saying things like that before I go to bed?”
“Okay okay, Yes…” I glanced around in the dark but there was nothing there to help me out of this. “This is on me. I will choose better words next time. Just remember, God knows not to turn you into… um… noodles. And he’s not going to get confused and accidentally steal your pajamas while you are sleeping. It’s only your dad that makes mistakes like that.”
The two of them held the covers up by their chins and stared at me. “Okay?”
They looked at each other, very seriously, for a few seconds, and then looked back at me. “Okay, deal,” Lydia said finally as if we had just agreed on a price for a used car.
“Alright. Well…” I started to stand up.
“Wait, it’s my turn,” Lydia said.
“Oh, sorry. Right.” I sat back down on the edge of their bunk bed. “Go ahead, Lydia.”
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The little boy beside her pressed his eyes shut tightly and balled his hands together into a fist in front of a very earnest mouth and waited.
“Dear God,” she said sweetly into the night, “please don’t turn us nude while we are sleeping like Daddy asked. Daddy was confused and said the wrong thing.”
“And the noodles,” her brother whispered loudly, his eyes still held shut.
“Oh, and don’t let us turn into noodles, either please.”
The little boy silently nodded his approval.
I sighed and leaned my head back against the corner post of their bed, quietly entertaining a prayer of my own. If my children were to wake up the next morning as noodles, it wouldn’t be the worst thing. And it would almost make as much sense as whatever it is they have been waking up as every day so far. In fact, I think I could understand noodles a bit more.