Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ritual Reconsidered

Nearly a year ago, I was reading a book called The Happiest Baby on the Block. I came across a section suggesting a nightly bedtime routine that involved low lighting, soft music, massages, and more. I wrote a post about it, decrying what I considered an itinerary akin to a nightly spa treatment – and not one of those quickie, in and out numbers. I’m talking an expensive one – the kind that involves nudity. But as I type this post, it’s a little before , and my wife and I just finished putting Violet to bed. We started about an hour ago, with the changing of the diaper and the brushing of the teeth. The teeth brushing used to go faster, but Violet has assumed that duty, and she’s a big believer in the you-should-brush-for-at-least-two minutes ethic, except she goes more for five. Then, it’s time to put on the pajamas and pick out a few books to read. We can never tell how story time will go. Sometimes, she sits calmly in my lap on the bed, looking at the pictures, helping me turn the pages, and (mostly) listening to the story. Other times, it’s like trying to read to a drunken Tasmanian devil – lots of twisting and turning of the body accompanied by lots of noise. Then, we dim the lights, and I leave the bedroom while my wife feeds Violet. I listen to them on the baby monitor as I do dishes or start the night’s post. My wife talks to her softly, and after ten minutes or so, she calls to me over the monitor, letting me know that Violet’s ready. I come in and my wife hands Violet off to me. I prop up the pillows and lean back, Violet – usually close to sleep - on my chest. I talk to her and eventually sing “Twinkle Twinkle” a few times, and then I tell her “Daddy loves Violet” three times (Why not, “I love you”? I read somewhere that you should avoid using pronouns with babies). Nice, right? And somehow, it all takes about an hour – a bedtime ritual length that a year ago seemed unfathomable.

346 days old

No comments:

Post a Comment