So that I can tell them in 20+ years

By Mir
November 11, 2005

Tonight the pre-bedtime routine went smoothly, because I bribed the kids into their pajamas before dinner. That’s easy to do when dinner = cereal + movies. I really go all out for those kids, don’t I?

Friday nights have the advantage of being less frenzied than school nights. There is no scramble to pick out the next day’s clothes, no constant checking the clock and mentally calculating exactly how cranky everyone is going to be in the morning if I don’t manage to make lights out happen in the next ten minutes.

And it’s amazing how just an extra half hour of television buys such increased cooperation.

Chickadee finished brushing her teeth while I folded back Monkey’s blankets and turned on his nightlight. Monkey’s “help” was to stand up on his bed and yell “TIMBER!” while flinging himself in my general direction. After I caught him, he smiled up at me. “Rock?”

I don’t know; is nearly 6 too old to want to spend a few minutes in the rocking chair with your mama at bedtime? Don’t answer that.

We sat in the glider and swayed back and forth in the darkness. Monkey squiggled around, tucking his legs up underneath him in a variety of ways–trying to make himself small enough to fit entirely on my lap. Finally he settled himself, warm fuzzy head snuggled in the nook between my chin and collarbone. He sighed. “I will always be your baby, no matter how big I get,” he intoned. (I agreed.) “And when I am bigger maybe I will move away, but I will come back and see you lots,” he continued. (I thanked him.) “And actually, I think I’ll buy the house next door. So you won’t miss me too much,” he decided, as I walked back across the room and started tucking him into bed. “Is that a good idea, Mama?”

“That’s a great idea. Then I can still give you lots of KISS ATTACKS!” I dotted noisy kisses all over his face and ears while he giggled and flailed, trying to escape but not wanting me to stop. Finally I ended with the trademark tip-of-the-nose kiss and tight hug. He repeats everything I say as I leave; a perfect echo trailing me until he starts to snicker.
“Night night, baby.” “Night night, baby.”
“I love you.” “I love you!”
“Have a good sleep.” “Have a good sleep!”
“You’re the greatest Mama ever!” “You’re the… HEY!”

Chickadee was crosswise on her bed, giggling to have me discover her. (“You told me to get into bed. I got into bed! You didn’t say which WAY I had to get into bed!”) I made a great show of rearranging her, the bedclothes, the attendant stuffies and dolls. She tried to play dead, but couldn’t help trying to stifle laughter as I turned EVERYTHING this way and that. Once I rotated the pillow her tolerance was exceeded: “MaMAAAAAAAAAAA!”

“Oops! Silly me!” I told her to take off her glasses while I turned off the light. When I returned to sit on the edge of the bed, she’d thrown the blankets over her head, obscuring everything except the single arm which waved her glasses at me. I put them away and pulled the waving arm until her entire body folded up to give me a hug.

At the same moment, as I started to say, “Careful hon, my arm hurts,” she said, “My arm still hurts from my shot, careful.” (Wondertwin flu shot powers, ACTIVATE!) We both loosened our grip and chuckled a bit. I planted a kiss on the top of her head and eased her back down under the covers.

“Mama, what were you doing that made Monkey laugh?”

“Oh, that? That was a kiss attack. Do you need one?” She nodded, already holding her breath against the coming onslaught. I kissed and kissed her laughing face as her feet kicked behind me. I stopped and smoothed her hair away from her face, in preparation for the final kiss.

“Mama! Wait, do it again. I wasn’t ready.”

“What? Ready HOW?”

“Please! Please, just do it again. I’m ready now.” I heaved a dramatic sigh, then leaned in to smother her in kisses again. In one moment I discovered her definition of “ready”… she’d stuck her tongue out as far as possible, coating me in saliva and chortling at my disgust. I feigned horror as I wiped my face on her quilt. She laughed harder.

“YOU are a wretched child,” I informed her as I started tucking blankets. “Hmph!”

“I am NOT a wretched child,” she giggled. “But I DO have a wet tongue.”

“That you do,” I agreed. “Good night, I love you…”

“I love you too, Mama!”

“… wretched child.” She was still laughing as I pulled the door shut behind me.

Maybe they won’t remember. I hope I always, always do.


  1. Chookooloonks

    Two comments:

    1. Are bedtime rituals NOT the best? Ours ends with my 20-month-old proclaiming “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” {long dramatic pause} “MEN!!!”

    2. You are an AMAZING mother. Fear not: your children will TOTALLY remember.


  2. buffi- now with blog!!

    I LOVE when bedtime is so fun and happy and relaxed like that. Helps me remember why I put up with the BS sometimes!

    And, if six is too old to be rocked at bedtime, then SugarPlum is in big trouble. I cherish spending cozy, giggly, snuggly times with my kids like that. And yes, they will remember it.

  3. buffi

    Oh, geez. Sorry about that name up there. Damn autofill. Type something once, regret it forever.

  4. Patricia

    Sniffle. It always amazes me that your kids will bring tears to my eyes. You have a special world there and I love peeking into it.

    And when I was a child, my parents made up an “elephant walk” to get me to go bed — there was a song and everything. To this day, I think about the elephants marching through the house when I take my son off to bed — when he’s older, I’ll introduce him to it.

  5. LB

    Don’t you wish you could bottle these moments up with your kids to keep them for later?

  6. alektra

    If they don’t remember, they will when you read this to them. I know you know, but you are a fantastic writer. That was so warm and fuzzy, especially right now, when all I want is my grandma and grandpa to tuck me in because I’m sick.

  7. DebR

    Reading that made me miss having my mommy tuck me in and I’m many, many, MANY years gone from being a child. Chickadee and Monkey are lucky, not only to have you as a mom now, but because they’ll be able to read what you wrote about it years and years from now.

  8. Lisa

    What a wonderful bedtime routine! It made me smile! What a wonderful Mom you are! And they will remember, eventually I’m sure!

  9. Amy-GO

    *Sniffle* Who me, crying? Nah.

  10. Heather

    My 10 yr old guy still enjoys a good snuggle, to my delight. I think boys stay little longer, bless them. My 12 yr old girl stopped a long time ago. :(

    Yes, they will remember. Arguments soon fade but kiss attacks are forever.

  11. Dawn

    They will remember and what’s more important, have absorbed a feeling of truly being loved and cherished and they’ll pass that along to their children.

    That was such a sweet story. It took me back to when my children were small. Thank you!

  12. carson

    Wow, that’s one of those nights that will carry you through lots of rough times. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Zuska

    They’ll remember. Mine will remember, too. If not, we’ll help them!

    But seriously, I still remember the marching song my parents sang to get me to go to bed, and the patience with which my mom tolerated my “monster checks” all around my room. That’s a good sign…right?

  14. Jules

    At this moment I’m almost glad to not have any eyelashes which would have been coated in mascara because ohh the mess that would have made *sniffle*

  15. Heather

    That was very sweet :)

  16. Theresa

    Oh, they’ll remember. And they’ll do the same with their own children. :)

  17. Steve S

    The moment has now been recorded for digital enternity so it can be remembered for them.

    Now, treasure the moment!

  18. Jenrigg

    Fab journaling! What memories to treasure. Wish I’d thought to do that when my teen was little… memories fade :( Love catching up with your blog from across the sea.

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