“Dean, I’m going to be back in a couple minutes to help pat backs, okay?"
"Wheh yah goen, Jo'ey?” Dean asked around his mouthful of food.
“I have to talk to Missouri for a minute, but I need you to help Teacher Andy clean up and then put out all the mats. Can you do that?"
Dean smiled and nodded his head vigorously. He took a drink of his milk and scooted his plate closer to his chest, loading his spoon and shoving more food into his mouth.
"What about me?” Meg asked, standing up from her stool.
Jody looked at her and quirked an eyebrow. Meg sat back down. “You were my helper this morning, Meg. It’s Dean’s turn now. You get to help with the mats on Friday, remember?”
“Is tomorrow Friday?” Lisa asked.
“Today is Wednesday. So what’s tomorrow?”
Lisa counted on her fingers, singing the days of the week song softly, “Thursday!” she exclaimed.
“That’s correct,” Jody said.
“If Friday a home day for Bela?” Gabriel asked.
“It is,” Jody nodded.
“Yeah, and it’s a home day for Charlie too,” Lisa said. “Hey Dean, guess what? I got a baby in my tummy. Hers name is Sammy."
Dean swallowed and shook his head. "Nuh-uh! My brother is Sammy. Your baby is not my brother. Only I gots a Sammy!"
"Hey, kiddo,” Andy spoke up. “Lots of people have the same names, you know. I used to know a girl named Sammy, just like Lisa’s baby."
"But her baby can’t be a Sammy. Only my baby is Sammy!” Dean squeezed his tiny fist around the end of his spoon and scrunched up his face.
Andy opened his mouth to try and counter whatever argument was forming in Dean’s mind, but just before the words came out Castiel rested his hand on Dean’s arm. “It’s okay, Dean,” he said quietly. “Lisa’s baby is a girl Sammy. Your brother is a boy."
Dean smiled, suddenly, as if Cas had said some kind of magic word. "Yeah, my Sammy is a boy and he’s gonna get big and come to school with me and then your Sammy is gonna be little forever."
"Hey!” Lisa shouted.
“Dean,” Jody said. “We always talk kindly to our friends. Remember?"
"Good. Now I have to go and I’ll be back really soon, okay?"
A chorus of okays and byes rang out and Jody couldn’t help but laugh.
"THAT’S NOT WHERE IT GOES!” Dean screamed.
“It is too!” Meg shouted back.
“Hey, guys. Why don’t we –” Andy tried.
“HE NEVER SLEEPS NEXT TO YOU, MEG! CAS ALWAYS SLEEPS NEXT TO ME! ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS! SINCE EVER!”
“I WANT HIM TO SLEEP NEXT TO ME!”
Jody saw Meg’s tiny fist fly out toward Dean before Andy had a chance to stop her. Dean was even quicker; he tackled her to the ground and clawed his fingers into her cheek, growling with unadulterated rage only a three year old could muster.
Jody moved in and pulled Dean away. Andy held Meg.
Dean shook in Jody’s arms and then began to wail, tears falling fast.
“It sounds to me like you really don’t want Meg to have her mat where your mat goes next to Castiel. Is that right?” Jody said calmly, keeping her arms wrapped around Dean’s tiny frame.
“She doesn’t go there,” Dean cried.
“I hear you,” Jody acknowledged. “That spot is for your mat and you don’t want to move, do you?"
"Did you think that maybe Meg forgot where he mat is supposed to go?"
"No. Sh-she’s just m-mean and wants to steal Cas.”
“I don’t think she’s mean. Meg is one of my very nice friends, did you know that?” Jody looked at Meg and smiled. “Just this morning Meg helped me to put all the books away when you and Castiel were playing with trucks. Do mean people do that?"
Dean shook his head. "But she can’t sleep next to Cas. Only I can."
"That is correct,” Jody agreed. “But you can remind her of that using gentle words instead of yelling at her, right?"
"No.” Dean huffed.
“Would you like me to help you?”
Dean grumbled and squirmed, crossing his arms over his chest. “Meg, you can’t sleep next to Cas, cause that’s where I sleep. Your mat goes over by Charlie and Bela."
"I don’t want to sleep there. I want to sleep next to Castiel,” Meg argued.
“I understand that you want to sleep next to Castiel, but your mat always goes between Bela and Charlie. But maybe when you wake up from your nap you can sit next to Castiel during snack. Does that sound okay?"
Meg smiled. "Okay."
"Good. Now let’s finish getting your blankets.” Jody and Andy let go of the two of them and watched them walk to their cubbies. Dean made quick work of getting his blanket and heading over to Castiel who was waiting for him patiently. Dean rested his head on Castiel’s shoulder while Andy switched Meg and Dean’s mats back to their rightful places.
When everything was back in order (and Jody was sure neither Dean or Meg left any lasting mark on each other), Jody turned on the lullaby CD, covered everyone, and then sat between Gabriel and Lisa to rub their backs, while Andy sat between Meg and Bela.
Ten minutes later, like clockwork, Dean and Cas were sound asleep, curled around each other across both of their mats.