Here's a warm and fuzzy entry to commemorate Nathan's achievement of 18 months (last week on the 16th). It may be a little too cutesy and sentimental for some of you, but I figure Nathan's grandparents will appreciate all these mushy little details. After all, this is where I'm documenting Nathan's childhood and the family adventures I never want to forget.
Nathan always lets us know he's ready to go to bed by walking up to us, wherever we happen to be, and tilting his body sideways as if he's lying down. So I ask him, "Are you ready to sleep? Ok, let's go brush your teeth." He usually takes my hand and we walk to the bathroom together. He gets excited about brushing his teeth because his toothbrush has a panda bear on it, and the toothpaste features a really weird-looking character that he has decided is a "kodoh" (kangaroo), although it looks more like a yellow lizard standing upright to me. Plus, the toothpaste is banana-flavored, which again seems bizarre, but he loves it!
After brushing his teeth, Nathan gives Daddy a kiss and a wave, then we go to his room and he lies down right away on his bed. I turn off the light and lie down with him so he can nurse to sleep. Most nights I sing to him. The set list typically includes songs like the traditional Irish ballad "O Danny Boy," "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins, "Goodnight, My Someone" from The Music Man, and his favorite, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" (once he asked me to sing that one about 10 times before he drifted off).
But there are nights when he doesn't want me to sing, and a single note will barely escape my lips before he unlatches, shakes his head and says firmly, "No, no." On these nights, all he wants is for me to help him say goodnight to everyone and everything we can possibly think of, a la Margaret Wise Brown's classic children's book Goodnight, Moon -- although he's never even read it. He likes to start with the things he sees every day from our windows/balconies: "Goodnight dogs. Goodnight birds. Goodnight trees. Goodnight cars. Goodnight sun." We go on and on, and he uses his words and signs to me in the darkness to list which things we should bid goodnight next. "Goodnight cup. Goodnight spoon. Goodnight cereal. Goodnight bath tub. Goodnight water. Goodnight [rubber] duck. Goodnight kodoh. Goodnight towel." Sometimes this is enough. But if his eyelids aren't heavy yet, he'll press me for more. "Goodnight shoes. Goodnight clothes. Goodnight books. Goodnight toys." Occasionally, he wants me to say goodnight to several specific books and toys, as well. And he never forgets to say goodnight to Santa!
Nathan hates being covered by a blanket, so I can't put one on him until he's fast asleep, otherwise he'll get frustrated and wake himself trying to kick it off. He also likes to remove his socks before falling asleep. In this regard, he definitely takes after Jarred, who always gets warm in bed and can't sleep without a fan or he'll wake up all sweaty. I, on the other hand, am always freezing at night and can't curl up tightly enough!
A few hours after falling asleep in his bed, Nathan awakes and sneaks into our room. He used to wake up crying and disoriented, and once in a while, I'd see him practically sleepwalk down the hall into the living room and then just stand there in a daze. But now he doesn't cry, and more frequently than not, he doesn't even disturb us as he climbs onto our bed and snuggles up with me so he can nurse back to sleep. My little angel.
These are the moments I will cherish forever.