Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Good Night

Bedtime around here is a family affair. For a kid as fun-loving as Abby, settling down to go to sleep is not her favorite activity, so we try to make as fun as possible. Usually, Dada heads up first while I gather things like a cup of water and a book to read. Then, I herd her up the stairs to "find" where Dada went. Once we've  "discovered" he's in Abby's room we head to the bathroom to get all our bathroom business done. By this point I've turned on the night music and nightlight, and gotten the covers straightened. Everything is ready - so we all pile in. Now, before you start imagining us all crammed into a toddler bed, I will tell you that Abby sleeps in a double bed, so that fact that we are all in it at once isn't quite as comical as it might sound.

Here is where it varies from night to night. Sometimes we read stories on the iPad, sometimes we read stories out of actual books (gasp!), and sometimes Mama and Dada are the storytellers. Tonight though, we tried something a bit different before the stories, we played telephone. Abby has always liked secrets and she has a favorite secret she likes to share. If you ask Abby to tell you a secret she'll draw close, cup her hands around your ear and whisper, "Pst, pst, pst, open my presents!" For some reason she thinks every secret is about her opening presents, it's actually pretty funny. So tonight when Jason was trying to get her to lay down he told her he had a secret, and she wanted to share hers - about opening her presents. This gave me the idea to play telephone. Here's how it went:

Game #1
Mama whispers to Abby: I love you!
Abby whispers to Dada: Pst, pst, pst, open my presents!

Game #2
Mama whispers to Abby: Mama is great!
Abby whispers to Dada: Pst, pst, pst (Okay, we're getting better)

Game #2 (second try)
Mama whispers to Abby: Mama is great!
Abby whispers to Dada: Mama is so sweet (Gave her points on this one since she got the spirit of the message)

Game #3
Mama whispers to Abby: Mom's the best!
Abby whispers to Dada: blah, blah, woo, lu, woo, lu (or something similar)

By this point Abby had gotten us laughing, so she was in entertainment mode. She sat up and proceeded to do a shimmy dance that got us both laughing against our better judgement and that was that. Dad tried to help by suggesting it was story time. Abby once again snuggled in and ordered Dada to begin.

Jason began some story about Princess Abby wandering the grounds of the Pink Castle and finding an enchanted banana that turned her into a fish. Abby wasn't really down with that so she commanded him to stop and start a new story. This time, feeling that he'd already gone the route of originality, he decided to plagiarize. Abby was stranded on an island with only a volleyball named Wilson for a friend. Now, I knew what he was doing, this had now become a contest between the two of us to see who could hold their laughter in. Not to be outdone I took over the tale and had her rescued by her friends in a helicopter and flown above the tree line, away from the hunters. There though they encountered a crazy Scottish squirrel who threw nuts at them and beavers who made fun of the fact that Abby had a teddy bear backpack (Open Season for those of you without kids), this morphed into "Abby-locks and the Three Bears", and by this point Abby had caught on to our game and our giggles. It was time for Mom to reign it in, or we would be there all night.

So, Mom got stern, Abby got stubborn, and Dada became the referee. After a trip to the bathroom, a change of clothes (just because), and some other stalling measures, it was decided that Mom needed to go downstairs and Dad and Abby would hang out and watch a video on the iPad - a chance for all of us to decompress. In a few minutes I will head back up to "close the deal" as we call it, because when the sleepiness finally does take hold of Abby she wants Mama. Dada will tell Abby that he has to head into work (he doesn't, but for some reason it's the only excuse she'll accept for him to leave), and I will commence the singing of the Winnie the Pooh song. Abby will fall asleep and bedtime will be over - whew!

I have to admit there are many nights when I wish I could just tuck her in, give a kiss goodnight and close the door. It would be easier. It would be faster. It would be a lot less hassle. But, I've come to realize that this ritual has become important family time. Our life gets so crazy sometimes, I like the fact that we end our day together telling stories, being silly, and sharing cuddles. No matter what has gone on that day, the sight of her beautiful face, peaceful in sleep, is balm enough for any hurts or aggravations that have occurred. Is guaranteed to make any night a good night.
Abby actually let me change her bandage today.
The other one was almost off, and even though she cried
she didn't fight - that was huge!

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