We moved about two weeks ago (hence the silence on the blog – packing, unpacking, and dealing with leaks at the new house has kept me pretty busy!), and while the kids have settled in fairly well, bedtime is – as always – the time of day when their feelings of anxiety and discomfort seem to rise to the surface.
So we have the music and night light just like we did at the old house, but I’ve started lying in the room with the boys until they fall asleep, either with Aubade on the floor or with Limerick in his bed, which he much prefers. Limerick saw part of Monsters, Inc and, while he plays silly games about monsters with Rondel all day long and has a great time doing so, is now concerned that monsters will come out of his closet in the night. I’ve been shutting his closet doors and stacking toy boxes in front of them and that seems to help.
Another thing I added to the bedtime routine, to try to lighten everyone’s mood and end the day with laughter and snuggles, was “silly kisses” – essentially, the goodnight routine from Sandra Boynton’s book Night-Night, Little Pookie.
I use her words almost verbatim, but I replace the little pig’s name, Pookie, with whichever child’s name I’m tucking in at the moment.
“Good night, Rondel ears,” I say, for instance, as I kiss his ears.
“Good night, Rondel nose,” I say, as I kiss his nose.
“Good night, Rondel eyes that are ready to close,” I say, as I (attempt to) kiss his eyes. At this point there is inevitably much giggling.
“There are gentle winds blowing, and stars all above you. Night-night, little Rondel, I love you and love you, and love you and love you, and love you and love you,” I say, as I give him final hugs and snuggles.
Tonight, after I tucked them both in, Rondel said he wanted to give me silly kisses good night also, so I stood up and leaned in next to his bunk bed as he went through the whole ritual:
“Good night, Mommy ears. Good night, Mommy eyes that are ready to close. Good night, Mommy nose.” He kissed my glasses instead of my eyes since they were in the way, but made sure that he got both ears.
“There’s a gentle wind blowing and stars all above you – night-night, little Mommy, I love you and love you.”
I tucked him back in under his blankets and whispered in his ear how much I loved him, and as he snuggled down in his pillows he murmured, “I love you, Mommy.” And he was asleep in fifteen minutes, tired, cozy, and secure in his mommy’s presence and love.
The house may be different, but the family that surrounds him is the same, and that constancy gives him peace in the midst of transition. What a privilege it is to be able to provide that foundation and assurance to people who are still so small and vulnerable! I really don’t mind sleeping on the floor at all, if it is a tangible gift of my love to my children that meets them where they need me to be.