Sunday, January 4, 2009

Blessed Sleep

I had the rare privilege of seeing my sons off to sleep today. This is not to be confused with putting them to bed, then putting them back in bed ad-nauseum until they eventually fall asleep. This afternoon at nap time I carried a very sleepy H-Bomb up to his big boy bed and set him in it. After a minute of stroking his little forehead he shut his eyes and drifted off to dream land. The same happened at bed time tonight and also for J-Man. Keep in mind that this is after a good deal of the usual rigmarole so it was that much more of a pleasure.

It has always struck me as being a singular event when one of my children drifts off to sleep on me. Sure, they nod off in the back seat all the time and they eventually go to sleep in their beds. But even as infants it has been very unusual for me to hold an awake child in my arms until they are a sleeping child. The Missus gets that effect a fair amount, but as I'm not equipped to breast feed I miss out.

If anyone has ever read "The World According To Garp" you'll be familiar with the term The Missus and I gave to spying on the kids while they sleep. There have been many nights when one of us has caught them looking particularly angelic and instructed the other one to go "Garp" the kids. Actually witnessing the transition from cranky short person to sleeping angel somehow surpasses even this. Watching it take place is so much more entrancing than happening upon it.

A lot of good things happen in those moments. I'm reminded that somewhere deep inside my little hooligans there is a peaceful little person. It's almost like there is some secret sweetness written on their eyelids that I can only read when they are just slipping into the tranquil waters of sleep. I find myself forgiving them for all their many insolences and temper tantrums and seeking forgiveness for my harsh reactions.

It was especially welcome after a week of more intense than usual bedtimes with J-Man. Every night has been an ordeal and more than once the experience has involved me getting kicked in the face for the better part of an hour. In those moments it took a heroic effort not to headbutt the little guy. One peaceful trip off to dream land is pretty good medicine.

One more anecdote and I'm out. Yesterday at lunch J-Man was all ticked off at us and declared. "You. Guys. Are. Not. The. Boss. Of. ME!!! I'm da boss!" So I responded with, "OK, are you going to go to work?" The Missus chimed in with, "And are you going to change all the poopy diapers?" I finished him off with, "And do I get to kick you in the face while you put me to bed?" He grinned at all of this and relented. "I'm not da boss!"

Touché! The TALL shall PREVAIL!

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1 comment:

Irish Gumbo said...

Oh, Mister, I'm with you on that one! Lately bedtimes with Wee Lass have had all the charm and excitement of a goat rodeo, perhaps with less poop. But there are those occasions where she will say "'Nite, daddy. I love you. 'Nother hug!" and man, I got no defense against that. And Garping the kids, I didn't know there was term for it, I just thought I was being paranoid by checking!

Great save at the end there; never too early to give the lad a life lesson...