I have been a parent long enough now to learn to recognize a “phase” when I see one. Almost everything that they do is a phase when they’re this small really. Some phases I fear, some I despise, some I really really love. He’ll be an eating machine for two weeks and then suddenly, and with no warning he’ll become a fasting Buddhist monk…although a lot less of the “monk” and much more of the “fasting” usually. He’ll protest naps for a month, and then one day he’ll remember how awesome they are, and spend a few weeks in a heavy slumber mode. Those weeks rule. They are typically the shortest-lived. Of course. His tiny toddler mind and body are growing and changing faster than I can possibly keep up. I just do my best to roll with the punches…try to keep food in his little Buddha belly…and drink heavily to keep from being driven completely insane by the infinite schedule and lifestyle changes.
I spend a lot of my time complaining about the phases. Some can be pretty difficult. Especially the ones that involve him abusing the word, “no”. But, right now, we’re actually in a phase that I completely adore. I wanted to write about it just so that I never ever forget how utterly wonderful he makes the ends of my very long days.
I never know how long he will actually sleep for on any given night, or exactly what time he’ll be ready for bed because of his kooky naps…but once our nighttime rituals begin, a cool little calm falls over our house. Once we’ve finished struggling to put our jammies on, (think wrestling a greased pig,) drank our last sip of milk, and had our final diaper change, our beautiful boy snuggles into bed between my husband and I...and this is where the awesome begins to really set in.
He knows that it’s finally “quiet time”. We’ve put the “Goodnight Show” on the television in our room…which is hosted by a beautiful brunette named, Nina, and a star-shaped puppet named, well, Star, who help him wind down with songs about not-wetting the bed, picking up his toys and brushing his teeth. He snuggles in between us in this magical little nook that feels as if the universe probably designed just for him. He pulls the covers up, leans back on the cushiony pillow, and looks at the both of us with the most heavenly smile on his face. He wiggles back and forth, equally distributing cuddles and snuggles. He gets silly sometimes and tries to make us laugh. It always works. Every ounce of him seems…happy and content. I look over at my husband with an equally enormous grin. I always find that he’s wearing one too. We are just as happy, just as content. I’m so proud of the job that we have done in those moments. My little boy is sensitive, and gentle, and loving. I find myself almost overtaken with gratitude.
I’ll ask him if he’s ready for bed. He’ll usually tell me “no”…and I’ll always happily give him five more minutes…because secretly I want them too. His warm little body is right where it should be. There’s nothing more intoxicating than these moments with him. This is my favorite place in the world, and this is, by far, the very best “phase” of all…so far.
Eventually his eyes get heavy and begin to droop. He can no longer disguise his yawns. The Sandman is calling out to him. I’ll gently tell him that it’s really time for bed now. I’ll pick him up and carry him to the dark of his room. He’ll smile and wave goodnight to his Daddy. I’ll hug him for a few more minutes…humming and rocking until he tells me that he’s ready for sleep. He never nods off right away. He rolls around for a little while. Often he sings or hums to himself. Sometimes he needs one more hug and calls to me over the baby monitor…to which I always oblige. I almost never have to get serious with him about falling asleep. He’s comfortable and ready for it.
I walk from his room on almost a high of sorts these days. It’s such a far cry from the last eighteen or so months. Those moments are probably as close to perfect as they come in this parenting gig. I revel in the rewarding essence of it all.
I know that this too, is a phase. I know that the big boy bed will come and upheaval will ensue. I know that potty training will derail our current state of bedtime bliss. I get it. This is temporary.
I don’t care. Those last thirty minutes are the best part of every day right now. I will relish every one of these heart-burstingly happy moments until they run out and change is once again, afoot.
My wish for all of you is that you’re able to find a few really magical moments like these in your day too. Moments that remind you why the Lego that just impaled your foot, or that gazillionth sleepless night is so very very worth it. If these giddy sort of feelings are few and far between in your house these days, I get it…I’ve been there…recently…and I’ll probably be there again tomorrow…but in the mean time, I’ll still wish upon my lucky star that your next joyful “phase” is right around the corner.
Sweet dreams to us all tonight!