For most of my daughter’s first year, I dreaded putting her to bed because I never knew what I was going to get. I’m sure some of you mom’s know the feeling… some nights can be a true battle! Then, all that changed a few months ago (sometime after her 11-month mark). I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but bedtimes with her have consistently become my favorite time of day (along with waking her up first thing in the morning).
We start her bedtime routine with a bath, then we give her the bottle (it’s her only bottle of the day… I don’t have the heart to take it away yet!). Once she sucks that dry, we’ll take her to the bathroom to brush her teeth. We then zip her up in her sleepsack and I pull her into my lap to read a couple books (Goodnight Moon is always on the agenda – she loves pointing out the little details in that book… the red balloon, the green curtains, the fireplace, etc). This all sounds like a lot, but it takes no more than 10 minutes (minus the bath).
Then comes my favorite favorite part… I turn off the lights and turn on this music/projector thing our friend gifted us. Both of us lay down on the floor while she lies in the crook of my arm. We’ll stare at the rotating projector on the ceiling while listening to “Hush Little Baby”.
We point and wave “bye bye” to the projections. I always whisper, “Noelle.. say goodnight moon, goodnight stars, goodnight cow…. goodnight…” as the images go round and round. She even points to the tiny green light from the smoke detector and waves bye bye to that too (she thinks it’s a star, haha). I love being in the quiet with her. I love snuggling with my soft, milky, delicious baby. I look over at her, and she looks at me – I know we have a special bond. I can see her smiles in the dark.
She gets drowsy within minutes, so I’ll pick her up and put her in her crib. However, in the last week or two something new/different happened – she’s been wanting to be held just a little while longer before we put her down. We know she’s tired, but what she wants is a longer cuddle session. So I bring her back to the glider with me. She lays on my chest and I’ll sing her lullabies while she drifts off.
She hasn’t fallen asleep on our chests since her newborn days, and we missed it a lot… so we couldn’t be happier to oblige now that she wants it again. Tonight, both of us fell asleep and I woke up not realizing how long I’d been in the darkness with her. I put her in her crib, and walked out with a big puddle of baby drool on my right shoulder and an even bigger smile on my face. THESE are the moments.
Goodnight Noelle, mama loves you… daddy loves you. Goodnight sweet girl.
Every night, the same words… and my ever-expanding heart.