Posts Tagged ‘Bedtime’


Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I was tucking Tiller in tonight and she called out to me. “Mama! Come close my closet door!”
I sighed, went back in, like every other night I tuck her in, and closed the closet door.
“Why do you want me to close the closet door?”
“It scares me.”
“Why does it scare you? You know there is nothing in your closet that will hurt you, baby.”
On second thought: Mentally picturing closet in Poltergeist, momentarily considering telling her, “well, there might be something in there,” thinking of my closet in Roswell, the one that I did not leave open at night until . . . ever.
“Okay, baby, it’s closed. But there’s nothing to worry about.”
“Will you close my books, too?”
Her bookshelf has doors, and three shelves. The top two shelves hold books. The bottom shelf is where we fold and store her PJs and nightgowns.
“Sure baby. You know there is nothing in there either, though.”
“I know, Mama. Just sometimes it looks like people are in the clothes.”


Bedtime Cheer: Discussions of Aging and Death

Friday, February 12th, 2010

I tucked Tiller in the other night, then went into tuck Rollie in. He was reading a book, with it propped on his legs, and with a pillow behind his head.
“Night baby,” i said.
“Night, mama.”
I kissed him on the head and got a little choked up, thinking about putting him down as a baby, and how much he has grown. Rollie noticed my tears.
“Mama, why are you crying?”
“Because I am so proud of the wonderful little boy you are growing up to be. They are happy tears.”
Rollie made a face that told me that he was a bit skeptical about “happy tears.”
“Mama,” he said, “Don’t worry. I am not going to die for a long time.”

There is something about hearing my child talk about his own death that just chills me to the bone, but I don’t let them see that.
“I know that baby. Most children end up living long lives.” I’m not going to totally shield them from the harsh realities of life, either.
I kissed him again, and gave him a hug an walked towards his door.
“Yes, Rollie. . .” I turned towards him, expecting the usual, “i need a glass of water/potty/medicine” stalling tactics.
“Mama, one day i will have kids and you will be a grandma.”

Boy, kid, you really know how to cheer a girl up at bedtime.

Dogwood Girl and The Black Hearts

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Rollie and Tiller were acting up in the bathtub tonight. I got them out immediately (they usually get to play for a while) and Rollie stood shivering in his towel, lower lip quivering, and told me, “You don’t love me at all! You never loved me! You don’t have a red heart, you have a black heart!”

“Baby, where did you come up with that?”

“I don’t know, red is love and black is hate!” he yelled.

“I love you no matter what you do, and no matter how much i don’t love your behavior, Rollie,” i said, pulling the towel over his head like a hood and looking into his eyes. “Now go put on your PJs.”

Later, in his room, when he found out that he lost his bedtime story due to his behavior, he threw a tantrum. I told him to get into his bed. I said, “Night night, baby. I love you very much.”

Still angry with me, he pulled away from my kiss on his head and sputtered, “You have a . . a thousand, thousand black hearts!”

I struggled not to laugh or smile. Laughing at bad behavior is a parenting no-no. But in my blackest heart of hearts, I was so very bewitched by the poetry of my son telling me off.

Apple Book

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

We started reading “The Giving Tree” to Rollie when he was around two. It was a staple in our evening story time for over a year, was the book that he most loved (so far) and is probably in the top three books that I will forever associate with reading to him as a baby.

There were nights when I was exhausted, and I would think, “Please, God, anything but the Giving Damn Tree.” Sure enough, he would toddle over with it in his hands, would always ask for it, the book that he called “Apple book.” For months on end, we read it every single night. Todd and I could both recite whole sections in our sleep.

And then one day, just like The Boy in the story stopped visiting the Giving Tree, Rollie started to pick The Giving Tree less and less; His tastes changed, and he wanted to read about trains or cars or Curious George.

Tonight, I asked him to pick out a book to read, and that is the book he picked out. I was pleasantly surprised – I no longer think of it as a monotonous chore, as I once did – and told him I would be in when I finished tucking Tiller in. When I went into his room, he was sitting up, reading aloud the page he was on.

I asked if he was ready to read the book. He said yes, and I laid down next to him and went to take them book from him.

“No, Mama. I’m gonna read it to you.”

And he did. And it was pretty damn special.

Meowing Love

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Rollie saw the cats meowing Jingle Bells. So, the other night, when Todd went to Trivia, and I was putting the kids down, we did our usual night-nights, which include a range of oddities created over the last four years: Goodnight Moon turned into Goodnight Everyone we know and Every Object we have Ever Touched. Then when Tiller was little, I started singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to her, and then she started making requests, so that now she gets three songs every night. Then Rollie realized we were singing with Tiller and he decided he wanted to sing at bedtime, too. The last month or so, it has been Christmas carols at bedtime. Usually Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. But when I lay down in the bed with Rollie on Thursday night, he said, “Let’s do Meow Song,” nodding as he said it.


“Meow Santa Claus.”

And I thought, “Todd, you fucker. A little warning would be nice when you teach him to meow Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

Kids are a great leveller, though, a fantastic humbling experiment. So, I took a deep breath, and began to meow. There are times when you are alone in the dark, meowing with your child, and it feels like perfection, and you know that it will be a moment that will bring tears to your eyes 20 years later. But right then, you just feel really, really silly. And you love him so much you just don’t care.

This Little Guy

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Has grown into a little boy who can sound out words. I almost cried last night, I was so proud of him. He sounded out “Volcano” and “Valley” and almost got “Village” in our Caribbean Alphabet book. (Thanks, Lissa and Addie!) He would have gotten “Village” right, but that whole hard G/soft G (oooh, sounds dirty!) thing threw him off, so he thought it was pronounced “villagh.” I never realized how difficult and screwy English was until trying to explain the pronunciation of certain words to Rollie.

None of this would have been possible without the Best Bedtime-Story-Reading Daddy in the Whole Wide World, a Daddy who consistently reads to the kids almost every night, and does it with the most wonderful, sweet, indulgent temperament, when I am just ready to have the day be over, throw their asses in the bed fully clothed, and pour myself a glass of wine.

Parenting is a thankless job, but every once in a while, they throw you a bone. It is a nice day as a parent when you can say to yourself, “At least I know we are doing at least one thing right.”

Bitsy Bitsy Fighter

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Tiller thinks the words to “Itsy Bitsy Spider” are “Bitsy Bitsy Fighter.” Cute as all get-out. When we put her to bed, she likes to be held and sung to for a minute. When she was tiny, I started singing “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” to her. We still do that one, but she has started requesting other songs, and now we have three regular ones. I hold her in the dark of her room, and whisper, “You want a a song?” She says, “Bitsy,” which is what she calls “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” When I finish it, she says, “Sunshine.” (“You Are My Sunshine.”) Finally, we do “Twinkle.”

I love all three of the songs so very much now. They are the soundtrack to a little girl laying her head on my shoulder, her heart beating fast next to my own, totally at peace with her world, and secure in my love for her.