When we asked our 3-year-old why she drew all over her arms and legs with a blue marker, she smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

When we asked our 3-year-old why she used a blue marker to draw all over her arms and legs, she smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

"I don't know," she said innocently.

And when I found her stirring in bed one night hiding a book and a play broom under her covers, she gave me the same answer before dramatically throwing the covers over her head. I was too flummoxed to be mad and assured her that was I wasn't. But she still buried her head in the pillow and acted as if she was sleeping. 

"I know you're not sleeping," I said, pointing out that she had just talked to me. She made heavy breathing sounds to prove, in fact, she was in a deep stage of sleep and would be unable to answer any further questions.

What I really wanted to know was why she had the broom. Around our house, this little yellow and red broom plays many roles. It's mostly a magic wand, sometimes it's a baton for dance routines, sometimes it's ridden around the house. Sometimes it is a broom. Occasionally, it's a pointer for when she is teaching class. This last option, I assumed, was the answer.

But she was deep asleep.

"These are not things for bed," I told her as I filed the book and leaned the broom against the bookshelf. Then I kissed her on the head and pulled a play laptop computer from under her pillow. "I love you," I said.

"I love you, too," she replied.

"Aha!" I said while pretending to send out email alerts to everyone on her fake computer. 

"Shh!" she said, snuggling up, "I'm sleeping."

This is the joy and frustration of having a child this age. They are adorable and bizarre. It's like seeing a baby panda robbing a bank. It's an age of independence, which means she wants to do everything for herself, like getting dressed and reading bedtime stories. You'd think not being able to read would hinder one at story time, but not in her case.

I walked into her room one morning, and she was sitting on top of a dresser that recently was a diaper-changing table. Why, I asked, was she sitting on top of the dresser?

"To get my brush," she replied.

"I'm pretty sure you can reach the brush from the floor," I replied.

She dismissed me. "I needed to look at the other stuff."

"Did you find anything good?" I asked.

"Well, I found this brush," she replied.

The next night when I went to tuck her in, I asked if there were any computers or brooms or books under the covers.

"No," she replied, "those are not things we should have in bed."

Wait, what? I thought. Did she listen to me? That's fantastic. And I told her so. Then I asked: "Out of curiosity, what was the broom for?"

"I was sweeping up," she said.

"Is the bed all clean?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," she replied.

David Manley is an editor at The Canton Repository. Share your stories with him at david.manley@cantonrep.com. On Twitter: @DaveManley.