The 'last baby' tends to make you cherish babyhood to an extent you never quite did before. Sweet moments become all the sweeter, steeped in a preemptive nostalgia, aware as you are of how fleeting and precious these crazy days really are.
Hence, the bed time routine with my littlest one, Miles, has tended to linger a little longer and feel a little more delightful each night... especially as he gets all the closer to a big boy bed, when I can realistically no longer pretend he is my little baby, heehee! (Just kidding, he is my baby foreverrrrrrrrr, right?!)
I've never been one to drag out bed time too much, but how can I not with this little cherub? Putting him to bed is one of the most tender moments of the day. After bed time preparations are done, books are read and wrestles with Daddy have occurred, I pop him into his sleeping bag (putting it on backwards so he can't take it off overnight and freeze!!) so the snuggles can commence.
Miles is a stickler for routine and loves to remind me of every step. This kid does not forget.
Firstly, he reminds me to switch off the lights. I tote him over so he can flick the switch, then we say 'goodnight' to the little wooden airplane that swings from the ceiling, giving it a little push to send it soaring.
Now, this boy. Simply put, he just gets a kick out of seeing how far he can push things! Yet, it's not in a truly rebellious or stubborn kind of way, he doesn't even seem to really care about the outcome - it's just for his own amusement. As soon as I clearly and firmly lay down the boundary, he accepts it, basically just shrugs and moves on (with a twinkle in his eye that showed he was just testing for his own entertainment anyway!). Perhaps because he knows that a boundary once set is not movable goal, so there is no point getting too upset about it?? But being a little scientist, he just likes to test it over and over again, just in case!? ;)
Case in point, the 'snuggle blanket' for our song time. First, he asked for one blanket to snuggle with while I sang our special song. Sure thing, sweet child! (Trying not to take offence at my clearly too-bony shoulders, haha!). Then a few nights later, he asked for two blankies to snuggle. Ok, ok, sure, why not? I went with it. The next night he decided to step it up a notch, and request three blankies!! Seeing where this is going (and not wanting to collapse under a mountain of blankies), I said 'No Miles, two blankies are enough now'. He responds 'Awwwwww, want three blankies!!!', pretending to whine when really he is simply teasing (I suspect he discovered this whiny tone from older siblings *ahem* and likes to try it on for size). I repeat that two blankets is enough, and he cheerfully just replies 'Ok!' and snuggles in. I mean, really!!This must be a third child thing, haha. This little guy has such a sense of humour, our whole routine is full of little jokes, teasing and 'playacting'. I never knew a two year old could have such a sense of comedic timing :) He also likes to try to add an ever increasing number of steps to the routine, just to see how elaborate he can make it before I pull in the reins. Cheeky... give 'em an inch and they take a mile, right?! ;)
Ahhh, parenting. One day you stop and realise both parent and child are kinda just experimenting on each other, right?!
Anyway! The Blankie issue decided, he lays it on my shoulder, getting it perfectly cosy for nestling. As I begin to sing 'our song', he wraps one arm around my neck and uses the other hand to gently pat my hair - and sometimes even requests that I take it out of its topknot, lol!! Snuggled in, I sing the song that's been his since birth, 'You are my Sunshine'. If I attempt to skip the second verse, he starts to sing it as a prompt, especially the high section that is his favourite, 'I dreamt I held you in my arms'. I swoop him down into bed, blanket smoothed on top and tucked in tightly, rolling it under his arms so he looks like a baby burrito. I coo goodnight as I stroke his forehead and brush his hair to the side in that unrequired but oh-so-satisfying maternal gesture. We exchange smiles and grins and looks that say 'This is our special time, isn't it? We love it.'
'Goodnight, sweet Miles. Mummy loves you, Daddy loves you, God loves you.'
'Love looooo!!' he grins.
He then likes to follow up with 'What you doing? Cuppa tea??'
'Yes, Miles, I'm having a cuppa tea and a rest now. Goodnight, my lovely boy'
'Night, Mummy! See yaaaaaaa'
Grinning and giggling, he watches me as I leave the room, calling farewells. Every night I am aware that it's one more night of this precious routine, and one less night to go. So many moments to cherish in motherhood, surely one could not possibly 'cherish' them all while still functioning as an actual adult! We kinda have to pick and choose. And so, this one? Oh, cherish. Cherish I have and I will.
Goodnight, Baby Boy. Thank you for being so delightfully you, for precious memories and a night time ritual to treasure xx