Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The long kiss goodnight

the first darlin' calming down for bed back in 2004...

Last night we turned out the lights and read books with a flashlight. I am amused at how this gets little wiggly ones to sit still and listen to a book. Darlin' #1 can sound out and read words. He calls it breaking it down. Darlin' #2 can sight read and likes to count out the syllables for you-especially in the big words. Darlin' #3 likes to point out the details on the page that no one else seems to be fully appreciating. Darlin' #4 likes to turn the page and drool. This joint reading is a rarity most of the time. Our darlin's are spoiled rotten and used to getting a stack of books and some private time with a parent until they are all read, favorite lullabyes have been sung (a mama exclusive), nite prayers have been said and a 10-point tuck in checklist has been gone through. Did I forget the part, where they are all rounded up out of bed for one last trip to the potty? And the hour or so later when I go back in there to make sure they are all actually sleeping? Yes, I like to refer to this little routine as "the long kiss goodnight". Naturally all this back and forth, in and out, drives me a bit nuts, but part of it is actually a joy to me. I love to read to my children. I love the security it brings to say a goodnight prayer with each child. I can see the peace that comes over them with feeling that they are a child of God and nothing in the night can harm them. We talk about their special Guardian Angel. We talk about what they will dream about once they close their eyes. I hear everything from the "mushroom house", to tea parties with lollipops, and pterosaur island (that's a flying dinosaur). I usually slip in at least one big question "what was your best part of the day?" and this is really what I have waited for all day long. They are too young to journal what they are grateful for, so we have started it in this way. I have always read that even in the most reserved child the truth slips out at bedtime. It's true. I have also heard the addage never believe that a child doesn't want to talk. That's true too. It's just about the timing. At night, the truth comes out and so do all the celebrations and anxieties of the day. It's a bit difficult for a mother of four to put her hands on each child during a bustling day filled with nursing, dishes, laundry, cooking, and the like but this long kiss goodnight is at least an assurance that I will get to hold each child alone. Alone. While we enjoy being together as a family and the synergy that it brings, this time I can spend with each of them alone is precious. It feels like a camera taking a snapshot that I get to keep long after they don't want to be tucked in anymore. I feel honored to be the one on this side of the lens.