Monday, July 3, 2006

Watching them sleep

Being a parent involves so many emotions. Joy, of course, sadness, anger, irritation, peace, worry, terror . . . the emotion that surprises me most of all is the humor in parenting. Children do hilariously funny things all the time -- sometimes it's on purpose and sometimes it's purely accidental.

Last night when I went to bed, I checked - as I always do - on the children. Ruth was curled up in a little ball with blankets all around her like a nest. The day had been very hot but, as is typical in California summers, the night had gotten cool and she was chilled now. I drew a quilt over her. Gage, on the other hand, was draped across his bed sideways. His feet against the wall and his head and shoulders dangling down the side of the bed. I had to slap my hand against my mouth to keep from laughing outloud and waking him up. Sound asleep and completely upside down from mid-chest on. I gently scooped him back into his bed and covered him up too.

When Ruthie was a toddler, we started our bedtime rule. Bedtime means you get in bed. You can read, play with toys, sing, whatever you want as long as you are in bed. It kept us sane and not fighting with her. She was almost always asleep within a half-hour anyway and it was a half-hour spent listening to her sing and "read" to herself rather than battling with her. It just worked for us. I would find some funny things in bed with her though as she'd break the "stay in bed" part to get that one special toy she'd forgotten.

I always knew that checking on my children sleeping would be a special mother moment in each day. I just didn't know that I'd find it so rip-roaring funny much of the time.

A Mother Moment

Tonight when I went in to peep
(as I do 'most every night)
at you in your peaceful sleep
(rumpled warm cozy -- what a sight)
I could see that when you were meant to be sleeping,
in the dark you'd been out creeping,
gathering precious loot for safekeeping.

Snuggled in your bed with you were
two books (one about Winnie, the other Sam I Am)
one beach ball, a hairbrush
three stuffed animal friends (bear, bunny, and lamb)
and, of course, Elmo sleeping next to your pillow.

I can see you so clearly -- in my mind -
sitting up in bed with your treasures
Singing and reading and cuddling them tight
'Til at long last slumber draws you into Good Night.

© 2000 Liza Lee Miller

No comments: