My bedtime ritual

The last thing that I do before going to bed at night is check on the kids. After I brush my teeth and take out my contact lenses, I always look in on my munchkins one last time.

I usually check Tad first. He’s a funny sleeper. Ever since he could roll over, he’s preferred to sleep on his tummy. And ever since he could crawl, he sleeps with his legs tucked underneath him, knees bent as if he could pop up at any minute. He can sit on his knees and play for the longest time – it must be the Japanese blood coming out in him. So, he sleeps in that same position, and it is only when he is exhausted that he lies stretched out in the crib.

He’s usually curled up with a stuffed animal friend, or sleeping among the few in his crib. He might be clutching his bunny while his head is pillowed on his lion, or with one arm wrapped around Roo while his head is in Pooh Bear’s lap. He loves them all. I toss his blue gingham-and-striped flannel blanket on top of him, knowing that he rolls around and it will be all wadded up on one end of the crib by morning, blow him a kiss as his long lashes lay on his baby-round face in sound sleep, and close the door, leaving it cracked just slightly.

The Munchkin, in her big girl daybed, has usually kicked off all of her covers, or her “blankelys” (blankets), as she calls them. While her brother sleeps in a compact little ball, she sleeps all sprawled out, with her safety rail firmly in place. The Webmaster tried to stop using it a few months ago, and she fell out of bed in her sleep. He went in when we heard the thud, and she was standing in the middle of the room, with the most confused expression on her face, as if she was trying to figure out, “How did I get here?”

She has many stuffed animal friends – her froggy blankie, her teddy bear, Corduroy, Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, Snoopy, Lilo, Stitch, her floppy bunny with the military police T-shirt, her kitty – but while she loves them all, she’s not dependent on any one of them. She doesn’t have a designated “lovey”, and not for lack of options. These are her favorites, and she loves them all equally. They all sit next to her pillow, keeping watch and, every so often, getting a turn at night to snuggle with her. She also keeps a very old throw pillow that I had as a little girl, which is soft and snuggly, with her. This pillow is so old that there are traces of my bloody noses on it. But she thinks it is great, and when I read to her, it is the pillow I get to use.

She usually has fallen off her pillow and into her nest of stuffed animals, so I move her back onto her pillow and brush her hair back from her face, which has already left sleepy marks all over her cheek. Sometimes she will rouse slightly, and I will give her an extra kiss and tell her to go back to sleep. Other times, she is sound out and moves like a sack of rocks. I pull the covers up, give her one last kiss, and then slip out the door, leaving it open just the tiniest crack. She hates having her door shut while she’s sleeping.

Then I turn off the hallway light, which means that the kids are asleep, and this shift of Mommy duty is over for now. It all starts again in the morning when they wake up.

One Response to “My bedtime ritual”

  1. Domestic Chicky
    September 29th, 2006 08:51

    Sounds a lot like me. I have to go in, fuss, cover, touch, and marvel. Oh, and resist the urge to lay down and sleep next to them…