Wednesday April 2, 2003 11:34 PM

"What time is it, Isaiah?" I asked as I turned off TVLand when "I Love Lucy" was over.


I gave him the 'You know what I mean and quit fooling around' look.


"Yup, get on up there."

He scampered upstairs and into his room. I called to Ruth, who was in the tub, about the location of some PJs for the boy.

"In the middle drawer of his dresser with the bookcase."

"Do the dachshund ones still fit him? Cause they're the biggest ones in there."

"They are getting a little short, but they're fine."

I got out the pyjamas and sat on Isaiah's bed.

"OK, Bub, take your clothes off and put'em in the basket."

Isaiah learns pretty quickly. Especially when I require him to at least try something on his own before I'll help. Over the past couple of months we've been working on getting undressed and now he does a fine job. He's even mastered pulling his pants off from the bottoms of the cuffs instead of pushing them down from the top, which I think is fairly advanced thinking for a just-turned-4 year old. Shirts were the final challenge mainly because I had to think about just how I take a t-shirt off so I could explain it to him. He's quickly become and old pro.

He still needs some help getting his jammies on, but he can get his own (for bedtime and naps only) pull-up on. Sometimes when I'm tired or cranky, it's a trial of my patience to watch him trying semi-seriously and fooling around when he's getting ready for bed, but usually it's fun for me to watch as each night he gets the routine down a little better and when I'm in a good mood I don't mind the fooling around. He's a fun kid.

A new thing he's come up with is the desire to wrestle "on your bed". I think this desire stems from a bedtime a several weeks back when we were all three in Ruth and my room after Isaiah had gotten his jammies on. He climbed onto me and I grabbed him and we wrestled- as much as a 4 year old and a 35 year old can actually wrestle. It was more me tickling and grabbing him as he tried to squirm away.

One time we were wrestling on the bed and I grabbed him tight and held him as I began to snore, pretending to be asleep. "Daddo," he shouted "Let GO! How can I wrestle you if you keep holding on to me!" We don't wrestle very often because frequently Ruth is either getting in bed, or already in bed and also because Isaiah is usually up late enough that when bedtime comes around it is time for bed. Despite these facts, he asks to wrestle at least every other night- just like he did tonight.

"Go take your clothes off, and let's get ready for bed, Son."

"Can we wrestle tonight? In your bed?"

"How about you take your clothes off and get your PJ's on and we'll talk about it then."

"OK, then can we wrestle?"

"Dude, let's get your PJ's on and then we'll see."

This satisfied him and we got his green dachshund pyjamas on him.

"Let's wrestle now!"

"I don't know about that," I said as I stood up.

He ran into my room ahead of me and climbed up on the bed.

"Sit down and let's have a talk, Daddo."

"About what?"

"About wrestling!"

"No, I don't think we're going to wrestle tonight." I replied as I grabbed him and squeezed and let go only to grab him again. "No, no wrestling tonight," I proclaimed as I very specifically wrestled him.

"But this is wrestling!" he squirmed and wriggled around and I held him and let him go and grabbed him again and tickled him.

"No, this isn't wrestling."

"Yes it is- we're wrestling!"

I grabbed his foot and tickled, "No, this isn't wrestling. This is tickling!"

Of course, he shrieked as only a 4 year old whose foot is being tickled can do.

"Hey, don't squeal like a pig, Little Piggy. You're making Kroger nervous." The last was an exaggeration. Kroger has lived with Isaiah for 4 years now. It takes more than squealing to make the dog actually nervous, though she did leave the room.

"OK, then I'll be the Isaiah piggy and you be the Daddo piggy."

"Alright, but who will be the big bad wolf?" I asked as we resumed wrestling. "Here comes Mommy- is she the big bad wolf?"

"What are you guys doing in the bed and what's that about a big bad wolf," she asked coming in the room.

"No, Daddo Pig, she's the Mommy Pig. Kroger is the wolf and you, being the Daddo Pig will protect me."

"OK, all you pigs need to get out of my bed and get in your own bed. You have preschool in the morning, Isaiah. Go on."

"Good night Mommy Pig," Isaiah called as we went back to his room.

Then, as luck would have it, the library book I pulled out of his bag was about a pig. After we read the book it was lights-out and one prayer and one hug later I shut his door for the night.