“Come, let’s leave C and Daddy to finish up in here. We can go read a book!” I inject as much excitement as possible into my last sentence in the hopes that it will lure Little L away from the potentially very messy goings on in the kitchen. (Peach crumble is yummy. Clean and pajama’d toddler covered in flour and oatmeal is not.)
To my great relief she is won over by my enthusiasm, grabs my outstretched hand, and pulls me towards the living room. All too often the bedtime routine is rushed or late and we don’t have enough time to really enjoy a good pre-bed read. Tonight we have a little time and I plan to make it count.
“What do you want to read?” I ask her as we pick our way through the toy strewn room.
She only has to think for a moment before answering.”Dinosaur.”
“You mean the Dinosaur and the binkit book?”
“Yep!” She nods her head frenetically, almost toppling herself over.
I crouch down in front of the bookshelf and hunt around for the little book, but it’s nowhere to be found.
“I can’t find it baby. What else should we read? How about the potty book?” She nods frenetically again and climbs down from the couch where she has just painstakingly settled herself. She comes squat next to me, mimicking my awkward stance. She points to the Sleepy Cat book lying by my foot, then riffles through the shelf until she finds What Shall We Do With the Boo Hoo Baby?, another favorite.
“Hoo hoo baby.” She says definitively as she climbs back up onto the couch and settles herself snugly in the crook of my arm. She loves to sit right between me and the hefty armrest, pulling my arm tightly around me. The feel of her warm snugly body and her soft fleecy pajamas makes me smile. I hug her tightly to me and, resting my head on hers for just a micro second, ask her what we should start with.
She has reached that stage where I can no longer skip pages or words; she follows along attentively, not missing a moment of action and echoing, or even preempting, my words on some of her favorite pages.
I can hear M and C working together in the kitchen. It feels snug and safe. A family enjoying each other at the end of a long day. In a few minutes we will give in to the flurry of pre-bed activity – tooth brushing, sippy cup filling, pacifier hunting, and goodnight hugging and kissing. But right now there is a moment of timeless peace. Them in the kitchen, we in the living room. A family in perfect harmony.
“The baby said, ‘Boo-hoo-hoo,'” I start, pulling my baby close to me as she settles her head on my breast. I settle myself more comfortably on the couch and continue with the sad tale of the baby who couldn’t be appeased.
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