Ahhhh bedtime, sweet sweet bedtime… after a long hard day there is nothing better. Of course the bedtime I am referring to my daughter’s not my own. This time of the evening is something I look forward to all day. Between all the stresses of work and fixing meals and diffusing tantrums, you need to have a little peace in your day. When that clock hits 8 oclock, mommy’s face lights up like a Christmas tree on Christmas morning. The thing is it is not for the reasons that you probably suspect. Sure, I admit that putting her to bed gives me some much needed mommy time. Time to catch up on projects or with friends, to clean the house(if I ever decide too), to work on my blog, to watch tv or to just plain unwind. It is utterly divine. All of those thing are great, but they are not the reason I love putting my daughter to sleep.
I work full time, so I am away from my home and my family more often than I see them. When I get home, I try to squeeze in as much quality time as I can with them. This is not always easy with dinner time meltdowns, picking up toys, pulling Mai off of the dog. “Mai, Dukey is not a horse.” & Mai perfecting the drama that is the terrible 2s.
But when it comes time to roll out our nighttime routine, my hyper little monster changes. We all do. Every mood lightens in the house, even the dog seems calmer. My husband & I take every opportunity that we have to put her to bed together. I think it is important. She splashes around playfully in her bath & tells us about how she is a mermaid. She calls me “Mama Sea Witch” & daddy “Tritan”. Little Mermaid fans, I am sure get the reference. She splashes about happily giggling and telling us all about her bath time adventures.
When she is ready to get out, she asks Tritan to get her a warm towel. Yes, a warm one. We have to warm her towel in the dryer during her bath before she gets out. Our daughter is a Diva. My husband will wrap her up snugly in her towel and she will make a content sigh “Mmmmmmmm”. I will wrap my arms around this sweet picture in front of me and we will all look in the bathroom mirror together & smile as we embrace our little mermaid.
Usually at this point Mai asks for Mama Sea Witch to dry her off and put her jammies on. We will do so with daddy at her side. Then the three of us will make our way to the rocking chair for story time. One of us will sit on the rocking chair with our sleepy little girl on their lap and the other will sit in front on the ottoman. “What book do you want to read, baby?” “Steam Train Dream Train”, she says. It is a great choice. As she snuggles in with her thumb in her mouth and her favorite owl blanket draped over her legs, we all rock and read stories. She points out pictures and asks questions. If I am the one reading and rocking her on the chair, I will hold her tight & read to her while I press my cheek up against her chubby little face. I take in breaths of her freshly cleaned hair and offer her hairline soft kisses in between words. Periodically, she will look up and reciprocate with a soft tender kiss. When I am not reading I simply stare. I take in every curve on her face. I watch the interaction between her & my my husband and smile as I can feel the love just radiating off of both of them. I try to memorize every sigh, every little smile. I make a mental sketch that I hope preserves well in my mind. When she has reached her story telling limit she will tell us “Sleep”. We lay our precious angel in her crib, kiss her goodnight and then I walk out of her room overcome with a feeling of pure love & serenity.
These are the moments, the moments we need to drink in and savor because before we know it our little girl will no longer be sitting on our lap and cuddling with us on the rocking chair. In a blink she will be grown. So before she becomes a surly teenager, who has no regard for her dorky parents, I will cherish every beautiful minute of our time with our quickly growing girl. Remember, that even when you get older and start a family of your own, you still will always be my baby. “Goodnight sweet angel, mommy & daddy love you.”