Kate and I take turns putting Simon down for bed at night. The system isn’t perfect, and there are often consecutive nights where one or the other of us will have to pick up the slack for the other due to athletic events, meetings, or other commitments. I often grumble about putting Simon to bed. And it is absolutely uncalled for, because most of the time I LOVE putting him down for the night.
We’ve been reading to Simon for a long time. It’s only within the past 2 or 3 months that I think he has started to put together the images on the page with the sounds coming out of our mouths. But recently he showed both of us that he has definitely made the connection.
Simon has a series of books that we read every night. If you try to introduce a new book into the routine, he is fidgety and generally unpleasant. But if we stick to what we know, he sits quiet and attentive and once we’re done he’s ready to go to sleep. God bless Sandra Boyton. I’ve read three of her books so often I can recite them word for word.
Simon has recently added a new fun trick to our bedtime routine. He’s turning pages. I can ask him to turn the page, and he will! Even better, in Boynton’s Belly Button Book there is a page on which a little ditty is sung. When we get to that page, I sing the little ditty that the hippopotami in the book sing, to a tune that I made up. Several nights ago, as I got to that page, Simon turned his head and looked up expectantly at me with his big blue eyes. I sang the song, and he grinned like a fool.
It’s what happened next that really floored me. I flipped the page to read the last page of the book, and he REACHED OUT AND FLIPPED IT BACK. And then looked at me with those expectant puppy dog eyes. Part of me realized that this could eventually transform into bedtime procrastination. A simple request for a song could next be a “glass of water,” or “another story,” and then “5 MORE MINUTES!!!” Right now he’s not procrastinating as much as he is just wanting to enjoy his book.
So really, what else could I do but sing?