Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sweet Dreams, Little Man

Bedtime with Tyson has always been a pretty pleasant experience. Sometime around four months of age, Kyle and I really began to focus on creating a routine and a set schedule for him. A large part of that focus was on bedtime or more specifically, getting him to the point where he could soothe himself to sleep. It wasn't always easy. Not going to your child after he has cried for nearly an hour was harder than pregnancy, labor and delivery put together! But, alas, we were successful and to this day and for this reason (although not the only one, I can assure you), bedtime is a welcomed event.

But the fact that it has always been blissfully easy doesn't mean that it isn't often, um... timely. I try not to complain about this part simply because I have learned that the longer something takes when it comes to my children, the better (except, of course, for things like illness, surgery, graduation, or jail). Because time is all we have, and in the grand scheme of things, sadly, we do not have a lot of it.

Over the last couple of years, schedule has quietly taken a backseat to routine and now our little OCD angel has a few requirements before he commits to slumber. It is quite a tedious process. It's a ritual of this and a certain way of that. I am probably to blame for most if it but I get it. I get the need to have things in a particular order. It's comfortable and he is his mother's child.

So tonight, as I finally closed the door to our little man's room, I had a fleeting moment of "Geez, I'm glad that's over." Then this realization pummeled me- like a swift little kick in the heart. And then my moment turned into "I'm really going to miss this one day." Consequently, a huge lump begins to form in my throat- very similar to what's happening to me right now- and I knew that I must write this down. Gratefully, I ackowledge that have been blessed with alot of wonderful attributes but a reliable memory is not one of them. For when the day comes that I no longer have a child to tuck in... (lump getting bigger....), I need to have something to help me remember.

After his mandatory "5 more minutes of play", we begin the process of picking out his bedtime stories. It used to be "story", but somewhere along the way, one more was added as standard protocol and I'm still not sure how he managed that one. I choose to remain involved in this process so that I can enforce my self-imposed rule of 3 vetos. For example- I rule out anything that is Christmasy because reading a Christmas story in any other month besides December kind of freaks me out and is just totally unnatural. Once a decision has been made, we make our way into my bedroom where I take an additional 15 minutes to fold the permanent pile of clothes on our bed. Wait, no. I've probably only done that once. Most of the time I just throw them in the closet. But I digress... We crawl into bed where Tyson has to decide what book he wants to hear first. The bigger one usually wins out and off we go. The second book is typically smaller and shorter in text. For this book, he prefers for me to "do silly"- which is code for substituting the original words for crazy, sometimes questionable, less appropriate words. For this book, I have found it increasingly difficult to stay creative and I'm losing my audience! His tolerance for silly has doubled and now "penis breath" or "boogernoodle" just doesn't turn the giggle box over anymore. As a result, the second book takes about as long as the first which completly nullifies the "one long story, one short one" rule I implemented sometime ago. This has lead me to believe that my son is officially smarter than me and he knows it.
From here, he asks to play a game he refers to as "the game where we talk about what we love about", which is us taking turns saying what we love most about the other. I tell him that I love when he is a sweet boy and doesn't fuss. Or I love when he helps take care of his sister. He responds with things like, "I love it when you take me fun places..." or "I love it when you make good snacks for me to eat..." 99% of the time, I have to stop him mid-sentence because I think my heart will just explode.

Once he has had his fill of this, we head to the bathroom. Here I tell him he must pee and he does so by very carefully unrolling his pajama pants and underwear down to his ankles and sitting on the toilet like a girl. This baffles me and goes against everything that is beneficial about having a penis in the bathroom. So even peeing takes forever! Then we wash his hands and brush his teeth. Then he has to have a drink of water- then one more, oh and then "just one more, mommy...", he says. "I've never been this thirsty in my whole big life".

Next, he has to go give his Daddy "one more hug"- so all the way downstairs he goes. He slowly maneuvers each step as if it's the first time he's ever set foot on a staircase. He hugs his daddy and eventually finds his way back up the stairs at a speed that can only be explained as sloth-like. If I allow myself to watch this, I feel impatience boiling up from deep dark places. So I choose to take this moment to knock out a few of my own bedtime rituals. Once I hear him fumbling around in his room again, I head back to find that undoubtedly he has built something that he is insanely proud of and must not only explain, but also show me how it works. Of course, this explanation is on the fly so the amount of "um's" sandwiched in between every other word is nothing short of mind blowing. Knowing that these are the moments that can render future issues if not handled with proper attention, I smile politely and listen as if he were explaining the cure for cancer. Who knows, maybe one day he'll do just that...

Eventually, I am forced to cut in and restart the bedtime engine. Now I turn out the light, always being sure that the fan remains on, and his next move is to "kiss Lightening". For this, he climbs on top of his table and kisses a framed picture of Lightening McQueen from Cars. Now he must show me how far he can jump. He prepares me for what he calls "the best jump ever" and sails through the air like the little monkey he is. I clap, give him a high five and say appeasingly, "that WAS the best one ever"... The pride is almost pouring from his ears. Next he must plug in his Thomas humidifier/nightlight and he reminds me every night that this is something I am not allowed to do.

Now we are at the point where his skin begins to actually touch linen and what a glorious moment it is. If I have not already put socks on him, he will remind me to do this here. Now I am searching for socks because they are never where they should be. Once socks are located and placed on his sweet little feet, I tuck him in. We turn on his music (this is from the mobile that used to hang over his crib) and find his baby. This baby (a stuffed lamb) has also been with him from infancy and is still totally irreplaceable. Many times, the damn thing is lost in the madness that is his room and I have to go on a baby hunt. Once the search and rescue is over, he proceeds to ask for a lullaby. This is a new one he has added only recently. But I oblige and sing a short little ditty. With this, he appears somewhat satisfied and I can now begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then he says "Mommy, we're gonna have a great day tomorrow!" He gives me a thumbs up and the cuteness is utterly blinding. "We ARE going to have a great day tomorrow!" I assure him. Then lots of kisses, lots of "good nights" and "I love you's". I begin to walk towards the door. He sits up and I take my usual place under the frame.

"Yes, Tyson."
"What is it sweetie"
"Tyson, what do you need, it's late"
"One more hug and kiss"

He smiles brightly and holds his arms wide open. Admittedly, I am a little frustrated but how can I not give in? I walk over and squeeze him tight, all the while reminding myself that all too soon there will come a time where I will be the one begging for one more... So I squeeze him tighter.

I head back to the door.

"I love you buddy. Sweet dreams", I say.
"You have sweet dreams too, Mommy", he whispers back.

He pulls the covers closer and rolls over to his right side. Victory! I close the door, listen for a few more seconds to be sure that he will not call me again before I make it downstairs. I hear nothing but that sweet, soothing, familiar music that I have heard for almost five years now. Then, silence. My little warrior has given in and all is right with the world.


Sandra said...

BEAUTIFUL. Large Lump in my throat for those moments with my little girl and my little boy, passed so long ago. Love you!

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