Oh, my Leah
It’s an hour before bedtime. Your sister is exhausted. You’re making me tea in your play kitchen.
“Do you want to read some books?”, I ask.
“Yeah!”, you say.
My intention is to exploit your toddler attention span. I’ll sneak in diapers, jammies, and a toothbrush before we actually read as many books as it takes for you to be tired.
“Great, let’s clean up. Then we’ll go upstairs and read.”
We put away the play dishes. We pick up the crayons and paper. We replace the books we’ve already read. I wonder if it will be so easy to get your sister to participate in cleanup someday.
“Wanna read book?”, you ask.
“Yep! Let’s get Cecily to sleep first”, I say.
We go upstairs. I change your sister’s diaper and put her in jammies. You line up your doggie and Jennifer and Moana.
“Wanna read this book, mama?”
I consider the remaining items on the bedtime checklist. Your calm excitement is so cute. I decide the to do list can wait 2 minutes while we read a book. “Sure, Leah. We’ll read one now, and more after you have jammies.”
We read a book. We go brush teeth. “Wanna read this book, mama?” I notice that you grabbed a book somewhere between toothbrush and jammies.
“Sure, Leah.” We read that book back in the baby’s room where all the stuffed animals are lined up to listen. I quickly feed the little one and put her in the crib to fall asleep.
We grab Jennifer and Moana and head to your room. We finally put on your jammies.
“Ready to read books?”, I ask.
“Yeah!”, you say.
I smile to myself at how lucky I am. Daddy is traveling, and bedtime with two sometimes gets hectic. You barely ate dinner, and I was prepared for a hangry girl come bedtime. Instead, I’ve got a sweetheart who just wants to hear stories.
I tuck you in. I prop my head up on your belly, perpendicular to you. We read a book. I notice that your eyes are drifting closed. I choose a shorter second book. You’re barely able to listen.
I give you a kiss, turn out the light, and close the door. You do not make a sound. I give myself a mental high five for getting through bedtime without incident.
Then I get to my to do list. Clean up dinner. 10 minute abs on YouTube. I am sitting down at my desk to freelance when I hear what I think is the baby waking up.
I check the monitor. Little one is sleeping. Flip to your room. You have just tucked in Jennifer. I watch you lay on her belly, perpendicular to the bed. You have a book in your hand. You’re trying to read to her in the dark.
Here’s my favorite part of the story.
I take a second to appreciate you from downstairs. I know I can only witness this sweet moment from afar.
Then I go upstairs, give you a big hug, and say “Leah, I love you so much.”
“I love you back, mama”, you say.
My eyes are full. “Do you want to read one more book?”
We reset the position. You are sleeping before the book is over.
Back to my to do list, but this time with regret instead of motivation.