Friday, February 9, 2007

What I Hold Tightly

Sarah made a comment on the last post, "Hold tight to this Christy, ... these are the things worth remembering." She's right, of course. And one day, I will be sad because Jake no longer sticks his head up the back of my shirt. That day is not today. What is today, what is almost every day, is bedtime. Sometime around seven, Claire gives me a look. It's quick. I could miss it if I weren't paying close attention to her. She stops where she stands, says nothing, and looks at me for a beat. Her eyes turn down at the corners and the shadow underneath her eyes deepens to a purple-gray (which, incidentally, is the color you get when you put yellow, blue, red, and green food coloring into a glass of milk). I say, "Let's go change your diaper." She takes off for the bedroom as if she's been waiting all night for that very invitation. There are a lot of little routines that happen next. Binkie selection, the opening of the diaper, a kiss on the belly, turning off the light, heating the bottle, etc. It's a well-choreographed pas de deux, but the exact choreography matters little to me. If I err, Claire sets me straight again. Then we head to the big chair. I sit down while Claire sits on my lap and drinks her bottle. Her head goes in the crook of my left arm and my right arm rests on her lap. This is what I hold tightly - the weight and warmth of a girl on my lap. I hold her there for as long as I can, until she's relieved when I finally suggest (finally! It's usually ten minutes.) that it's time for bed. Once Claire is securely tucked into her bed, it's Jacob's turn. He fights it. He always has too much to do and never enough time to do it. "But Mom! I didn't get to play with my CARS! I didn't get to play a game! I didn't get to watch a show! Just ten more minutes, please!" I eventually manage to cajole or coerce him into the chair with me and a few books. Lately, he's been reading to me. I prefer that. It gives me time to covertly study his features. This is what I hold tightly - the sound of a boy's voice, the way his hair grows all crazy on his sideburn and neck, the shrug of a small shoulder when he doesn't recognize a word. I rarely help him on the first shrug. I wait until he turns his green eyes toward me, until he raises his eyebrows in exasperation. There are the days when I am too tired, too stressed, too busy for bedtime and Nick handles it. I am Jacob's mother after all. I didn't get to do the dishes. I didn't get to mop the floor. I didn't get to read my magazine. I need ten more minutes, please! Most of the time, though, I hold very tightly to bedtime.

8 comments:

Katie said...

Oh, how sweet, Christy!

I know it's not the same, but Winston does the same thing Claire does. When his bedtime rolls around, he stares at me and then lies down in the middle of the room (to remind me how uncomfortable the floor is and can we please go to bed already?). He's like me -- not a night owl, LOL.

Christy said...

Eh, it's probably pretty darn similar.

cheribear said...

See, this is what I missed out on having two kids close together, and then a baby. Bedtime is necessarily quick and efficient. Sometimes I wish it was otherwise, and included a snuggle in a chair or whatever - but one break in routine and I'm terrified that the whole thing will rush downhill and we'll cower in our upstairs hallway with tired, lost expressions, waiting for Supernanny to come and rescue us from the 4 hour bedtime.

So, 10 minutes from 'its bedime' to 'goodnight, love you, see you in the morning' is sorely lacking in the fond memories department. Darn it all!! Surely we can work *something* in!

Geri said...

Aw... that really is sweet. Bedtime is such an ordeal here (and usually not a good one) that I don't really cherish it like I should....I will have to work on that!

justkc said...

I am so glad you are blogging. What a beautiful reminder.

Heatherly said...

Oh, I miss the Big Chair. Major allows me to sit next to his racecar bed, stroking his hair a little and listening to his music with him. But that's all now. :(

(And that's after a Jake-type begging festival. LOL)

ella6599 said...

Very sweet- and a good reminder to not take all the little things so for granted, as I'm often guilty of doing!

Lisa said...

Bedtime is an ordeal here, too, as J will fight sleep with every fiber of his being. But once in a while he'll ask to rock. I'm sure we look a sight, little short me with this ginormous boy who's so big his feet almost touch the ground when we sit in the rocking chair. But I'll rock my baby as long as he'll let me, and those are the things I remind myself to cherish when I've been trying for an hour to get him to just SLEEP already.