Dexter and I don't have a bedtime routine yet. His bedtime routine remains nurse. Play. Nurse. Nurse. Say goodnight to daddy. Play. Nurse all night long. I am ill-equipped to help him with all but three of those steps. Cooper and I have evolved an intricate routine. It is very important that I not skip a step or deviate from the script.
1. Go pee. This step takes anywhere from one minute to an hour depending on how resistant Cooper is to going to bed on a given night.
2. Say goodnight to Mommy and Dexter. Pretty quick. Pretty cute now that Dexter insists on a hug and says goodnight himself.
3. Go to bed and read two books. One must be long (Dr. Seuss-ian in length). One may be short (Sandra Boynton-esque). 20 minutes if Daddy is in a hurry. Up to an hour if I stop to answer all of Coop's questions.
4. Say "the nice words." The nice words are the closing refrain from Sandra Boynton's Night Night Little Pookie. It is very sweet and was an early addition to the routine. Our version goes:
There are gentle winds blowing,
And stars all above you,
Night night little Coopie (Cooper says little Daddy--I am required to giggle because he called me little daddy)
I love you and love you,
And love you and love you,
And love you and love you.
5. I say "best friends."
He says "best friends."
I say "forever and ever."
He says "forever and ever and ever and ever and ever."
I say "I hope so."
6. I rest with him for 5 to 20 minutes while he falls asleep.
It is long and involved And the repercussions for deviating from the script are swift and can sometimes be great. Some nights I forget it is a blessing and feel it as a burden.
But part of me hopes he will never grow out of it. The part of me that knows that these sweet moments are fleeting and are already nearly over in the grand scheme of things.
But most of all I never want to forget.