Every night when it's time for bed, Baby M* and I have an evening ritual.
It starts like this:
Me: M, it's time for bed.
Baby M: No!
Me: Would you like to say good night to everyone?
Baby M: No!
Me: It's time to read a book and go to bed.
Baby M: Night night!
Then she runs up to her room, leaps onto a chair and catapults into her crib. Usually I hold up books until she chooses one, but tonight she started with a book she had been looking at earlier in the day and left beside the bed.... Dora the Explorer. When that was done I asked her what she wanted and she started chanting, "LION! LION! LION!"
She was referring, of course, to Herbert the Lion, the charming story of a young girl named Sally who gets a lion as a gift from her mother.
She made me laugh tonight, because she made a lot of commentary during the story, which is usually her pointing out things in the pictures. You know, like, "Bowl" while pointing at a bowl. But tonight she waited until the saddest part of the story, when Sally's friends, family and all of the workers (postmen and butchers and grocery delivery people) all stop coming to her house because they are afraid of the lion, and Sally is sitting, sad and dejected and crying, and Herbert the Lion looks sad, too, and then M said, "The End." It made me laugh pretty hard, and she was proud of herself.
Then it's lights out, and usually I sing "Eidelweiss" to her, a tradition that started with the older girls and went on f o r e v e r and has been passed down to M. But tonight she told me not to sing. She wanted her blanket on. She wanted me to pray for her (she prayed along tonight, which was cute). Then she wanted me to go sit in the chair in the hallway, which is a new addition to our ritual. I wait here until she's mostly asleep. This part of the ritual got added because she can get out of the crib now. It started as guard duty and now it's a comforting tradition. We'll wean out of that one soon, I think.
Aw. This isn't going to last much longer, is it?
*Krista says that at some point I will have to stop calling her "the baby"... I told her that once Baby M hits the age of 30 I will consider any request she has concerning what I call her.