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.