Whisper Sweet Nothings to Me, Baby

Posted by Accidental Expert Friday, August 28, 2009

The other day I was putting my three-, almost four -year-old, to bed. Now, being the youngest of four, we've been somewhat neglectful on the whole bedtime routine thing. While my older children were in bed promptly at 7 pm at his age, he can still be seen wandering the house well past nine.

There are several reasons for this sad reality. First, we're just too damned busy. Between sports, activities, homework and the nightly drama of his older siblings, our little one gets a tad overlooked.

Also, did I mention he's our youngest? Our caboose. The Grand Finale. So everything he does is tempered with the knowledge that this will be the last time we see this stage. Even the terrible twos and tantrums looked a little sweeter this time around.

Last but not least is the not-so-gradual dissolve of our resolve. My husband and I were both over 40 when we had the Little Stinker, so we're tired, plain and simple. This has lead to us slipping up a bit in the discipline department. Admittedly, he gets away with way more than his older siblings -- a fact they remind me of on almost an hourly basis.

That's why, at the ripe old age of almost four, we still go through the nightly ritual of laying down with him until he falls asleep. None of the take a bath, read stories then say goodnight nonsense for us. We have to camp out with him, being absolutely sure he's well on his way to dreamland before we dare leave. If not, whining ensues and we're back at the drawing board.

So the other night, as I oh-so-gingerly attempted my exit, my son leaned over, his arm outstretched, eyes open slightly. Foiled again, I thought. But instead, he whispered in that voice that is easily recognizable to any mom out there. It was the I'm-so-vulnerable, I-depend-on-you, you-are-my-whole-life tone that can soften even the hardest of hearts.

"Mommy, don't go...." he said, his voice trailing off as he settled back into sleep. To this, I melted. Instead of stealing off to do the evening chores, I lay there relishing the moment, not wanting it to end.

But having older children, I know all too well that this phase is fleeting. Soon he will grow like his older siblings, and he won't need me at the level he does now. Friends will enter his life, his innocence will fade and he will become more and more independent.

So here I sit, typing away -- trying desperately to develop a snapshot in my mind -- to remember, to treasure. Even though I'm way too tired most of the time to recognize it, I know deep down these are the best years of my life. A time when the whisper of a child can move me in a way no others can. Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati Tweet It! Facebook

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