Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The New Night-time Routine

Three weeks ago when Hayden started sleeping upstairs in her own room, I pictured it being a huge mess that would leave us all exhausted and would surely become a battle of the wills – but I have been pleasantly surprised.  She has only woke up in the middle of the night and required her big fat pregnant Mama to waddle upstairs twice in the last three weeks.
That’s right, my child, the terrible sleeper, sleeps through the night.  She has even been taking 2 hour naps during the day.  She hasn’t done that since she was new.  It is amazing.  In 17 months, this family has not slept all night for three nights in row, much less three weeks.  And the added bonus of two hours in the middle of the day?  Like I said, AMAZING.
I am enjoying my sleep and a little bit of time to take a nap or sit idle do housework (haha) but there is something about all of this that I am enjoying even more.
Hoots has made the cutest little bedtime routine for herself.
At around 8:30 or so, she starts losing her patience and getting a little sleepy.  We give her a glass of milk and a graham cracker or a banana as a little snack before bed and when that is gone, she is ready.
She gathers up “Mow” (a grey stuffed kitten), “Baby” (the little soft princess dolly that we brought her from Italy), and her “bopby” (one of her white muslin swaddling blankets from her babyhood) – these three items always travel together at all times.  Like a little Bedtime Trifecta.
She toddles over to her daddy and says, “Nigh-night, Dada.” And the do a regular kiss, eskimo kisses, and “beeps” (pressing noses together and saying, in the cutest little squeaky voice Hootie says, “BeeEEEeeep!”  I love this part!!) 
Next she says nigh-night to each dog, showering them with as many kisses as each will sit still for, and then she hands me the Bedtime Trifecta, one at a time, carefully saying each of their names in her tiny, squeaky little voice: “Mowwww. Bay-beee. Bopby…. Nigh-night!” and toddles off up the stairs. I follow.
We sit in the rocking chair together and we snuggle.  Since she moved to her own room, she has become very interested  in the concept of nigh-night and the fact that everyone goes nigh-night.  And every kid needs a stall tactic at bedtime, right? 
Our conversation goes like this:
Me: Nigh-night, tiny angel. I love you.
Her: Yub yoo.  (pause) Mama?
Me: Yes, baby?
Her: Nigh-night?
Me: Yes.  Close your eyes and go night-night.
Her: Dada?  Nigh-night?
Me: Yes, he is downstairs.  He will go night-night soon.  Now close your eyes.
Her: Pampa nigh-night?
Me: Yes, Grampa is night-night at his house.
Her:  And Amma?
Me: Yes, Gramma, too.
Her: Gunkle?
Me: Uncle is also night-night. At his house.  Close your eyes.
(At this point I think she is getting sleepy because there is a long pause.  Suddenly, and a little too loudly, she is talking again.)
Her: MAMA!?
Me: Hayden.
Her: Piper nigh-night?
Me: Yes. Shhh. (Good thing it is dark, because it makes me smile.)
Her: And Yoy-ya?
Me: Sawyer too.
Her: Ry-ree? (Riley is my brother’s dog, she lives at my parents’ house – not even our dog. LOL)
Me: She is night-night, too.  Everyone is night-night except Haydie.
(This is where she goes through all of my parents’ dogs, our friends’ dogs, and usually repeats Piper and Sawyer, too.  And now, even though her eyes are heavy and hard for her to keep open, things get silly.)
Her: And Elmo nigh-night?
Me: Yes.
Her: (in a monster voice) COOKIE!!?
Me: Cookie Monster is nigh-night on Sesame Street.
Her: BidBir?
Me: Big Bird sleeps in a nest.
Her: Nur-neeee, no no. No no, Nur-Neee!
Me: Yeah, you are right. (After all, Ernie never sleeps.  He is too busy bothering Burt.)
Her: Bur?
(I do not answer, thinking that maybe ignoring her will make stop.  Again, good thing it is dark or she would see that I actually think it is cute and funny.)
Her: Mama? Bur?
Me: (Still ignoring.)
Her: MAMA!! BUR?!
Me: (sigh) Yes, Burt is sleeping. Night-night Burt.  Night-night, Hayden.
This goes on through every man, woman, child, dog, and muppet she can think of.  It is so cute and funny, and she doesn’t realize it, but it actually makes her sleepy to lie in my arms and talk about all of the people (and animals and monsters and whatever else) that are important to my little girl and she dozes off.
I kiss her little head and whisper some mama-love into her ear and lay her down for the night.  I arrange the Mow/Baby/Bopby Trifecta just so on the pillow next to her sleepy head.  She looks like a tiny little angel, sleeping there. 
And as I walk down the stairs, smiling to myself about her bedtime routine, I count my blessings again.  Man, I am lucky to have such a sweet, smart, funny little girl to call mine.

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