It’s late afternoon and my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline are becoming sprinkled with cries of “Is it bedtime yet?” “Someone’s cruising for an early bedtime” and the like. Quite frequently I’m clogging up your feed with my own pleas for bedtime to HURRY THE FUCK UP ALREADY.
Oh Bedtime. I love that no matter how insane the day, no matter how many timeouts we see for biting or throwing toys at the cat’s head, no matter what nonsense happened…bedtime will restore sanity. We run a bath and little Buddy gets to play with his boats and bucket and that empty shampoo bottle he adores. He calms down (generally) and when the water drains he makes a break for the living room, streaking naked and giggling through the apartment. It’s flat out adorable.
Wrestled into a clean diaper and pajamas we cuddle on the floor of his room for stories. We let him pick the books now and some nights we’ll have to read “Knuffle Bunny” three times in a row. He points out the kitty in “Each Peach Pear Plum” and wraps me around his little finger by mimicking my shrug of “what a silly page!” for “Goodnight Nobody” in “Goodnight Moon”. I’m a total sucker for story time and let it drag on far too long some nights before we nurse in the rocking chair holding blankie and Teddy and suddenly it’s my favorite time of day.
Those last ten minutes are mine to hold my baby boy and to whisper a short prayer of thanks for the day, peace for the night and safety for us all. It’s my timeout then; my time to think about the day be it bad or good (Why was there a train engine in the laundry hamper? God he had fun in the sprinkler today. Wow those other moms stared at me like bitches when he bit my hand…).
Sweet kisses goodnight and a fierce hug from my little peanut and it’s lights out. When I step outside his door the return to the real world is abrupt: the cat is always sitting there ready to be tripped over, wailing loud protestations that her dinner was kept waiting. My husband is waiting too – it’s the land of adults now. The clutter of toys may still be staring at us, but we can relax and talk and watch television unsuitable for small children. I can have a tasty adult beverage and put my feet up. Post bedtime is pretty sweet, I’ve gotta say, but what I never knew-what I never expected was how sweet those minutes before bedtime are.
From the time your child is born you’re met with a barrage of information on how to get them sleep, how important bedtime routines are – you’d think parents are planning D-Day part two for all the attention given to THE ROUTINE. Nowhere in all those articles, books and lectures from the pediatrician or other parents did anyone mention to me just how sweet the whole thing really is. Maybe I’m getting sappy in my old age, but some nights my gratitude for that child just overwhelms me at bedtime. The day was hard, the day was long, but there we are – we made it. We are sitting there reading and cuddling and hugging and loving each other and life is extra good for those few minutes at the end of the day.
It’s not just the promise of some rest for us adults (as we were so desperately pleading for on Twitter and Facebook just a few hours ago); it’s the promise of the slowing down of time and the purposefulness of that brief moment in the day. It’s the best moment of the day quite often and for reasons I never imagined it would be.