If I complete a post tonight it will be a miracle because my son has been up three times already and we put him to bed over an hour ago. He was never a good sleeper even as an infant, and I can remember rocking him endlessly hoping he would drift off, but I soon realized that would never happen. My daughter was the opposite, and I enjoyed holding her sleeping body, my nose nestled in her hair, as I continued to rock, not wanting to end the special moment.
Now I love my children equally, but I noticed early on that there was a special connection between my husband and my daughter, and this is why the bedtime ritual was so important to me. Since daddy got more attention from my daughter during the day, I wanted her nights. When my son came along, I became the special parent, and my very needy little baby boy was not too crazy about parting with me at night, and this continues to some degree even now.
First attemptMy husband and I each take turns kissing and tucking both children in. I go to my daughter’s room first, kiss her goodnight, and rub her back, while my husband is tucking my son in, then switch, I go into my son’s room and my husband wishes my daughter a good night. Except my son doesn’t let me go away so easily, and suddenly there is something vital he must tell me at that very instant, and it usually comes with a very lengthy oration. After many “I sees,” and “Is that right?” I can finally shut the door, but every time that door goes shut, my son repeats the same three phrases he has been saying to me since he was two, and our little repartee goes like this: “Goodnight mommy.” “Goodnight dear.” “I love you.” “I love you too.” I’ll see you in the morning.” “See you in the morning.”
Second attemptI then busy myself with getting ready for bed, then I jump on the computer or watch TV thinking, very foolishly of course, that my son is settling down for the night, but this is when he tries attempt number two. He starts to call me so I open his door and he reports that he has to go to the bathroom. Now, my husband and I have caught on to this one, and the last thing he does before bounding into bed is to try going to the bathroom, so I can now reply that he did this already. The response is the usual “Oh, that’s right, I forgot,” so I tell him goodnight, and our little ritual starts all over again.
Three's the charmNow once again I am free, so I go back to whatever activity had been interrupted prior to attempt number two, and it’s not long before I am engrossed in what I am doing, and this is when attempt number three is tried. Silent as the night my son appears next to me (this always freaks the stuffing out of me), and he is usually sweating, his hair sticking to his forehead, because he is wearing his Spiderman pajamas and the shirt is too warm when he pulls all his covers up… The fix is for him to remove the top-I think he now wants to go to bed like his father- and once again I lead him back to bed with a stern “this-is-the-last-time” warning, but even though I am more than a little miffed, the bedtime ritual is repeated, and my heart melts.
I don’t know how much longer my son will say this to me, but I hope that day is a long time in coming. You see, I too am a person who likes rituals, and I don’t know how I could sleep without my, “Goodnight mommy. I love you. See you tomorrow.” Goodnight everyone. I'll talk to you tomorrow.