Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good Night

Dear Simon,
You're getting too big. Memories of babyhood are being replaced with glimpses of future teenage attitude. You sneak behind me while I'm cooking and knock my knees so they buckle. It makes me laugh every time, so we both melt in hysterics. Laughing with you has become one of my new favorite ways to chase away a bad day.

Tonight you yelled at me. That's not unusual, by the way. Usually you grunt, but sometimes, you full-on yell at me when I make you mad. Tonight, though, it was cute. It had been a long day of trying to stay out of the house while it was being painted. You'd hung in there pretty well, but just as bedtime was nearing, something came up and 6:55 turned into 7:45 and three tired kids turned into three cranky kids with only one parent to put you all to bed.

I got impatient. Charlie was climbing on the book while I was trying to read you your story. Talya was telling me she had to "go poppy," and I didn't exactly yell at you, but my voice got all loud and fast like it does when I'm only technically holding it together. You, my tender-hearted first-born, are no dummy and don't fall for my only-technically-loving facade. You climbed into bed and flopped down with a scowl. I scolded you (does that sound better than I yelled at you?) for grunting at me - I really hate that - and you gave me the coldest look ever and yelled right back at me: "You ALWAYS whine when we whine."

You were so mad at me for being mad at you guys. It was like you KNEW that I'm supposed to be able to behave a little better than my little kids. Just one of the things that makes you brilliant. We moved on, and you went to bed giggling about one of your books

I love you. Good night, my son.

Dear Talya,
You've taken to screaming "NO!" at me when you don't want to do what I've asked you to do. It never really pisses me off that much, because you are just the sweetest thing in the whole wide world. It seems less disobedient than it does feisty. I know I need to get a handle on that, and we're working on that, but usually while Daddy punishes you, Simon and I sneak secret giggles because really, how can you not?

Tonight a friend came over to help me move some furniture. He's a handsome, funny guy with a great Boston accent that probably any single woman would be falling all over. You brought him book after book, and when he was leaving (though you're not normally one to profess your love to our guests), you yelled out "Lye Lo Lu!" Over and over again. I know I need to get a handle on that too.

You thrilled me all day, but you positively melted me as you quietly sang along to that annoying kids cd you guys make me play in the car. Deep & Wide is my new favorite song, thanks to you.

Lye Lo Lu. Good night, sweet daughter.

Dear Charlie,
For the first six months of your life - you know, those formative months that are so critical to a baby's development - you only heard a smattering of English. And yet, here you are, barely one year old chattering Mama and Dada and All Done and Baba when Taly hands you her baby doll. Your brother and sister were stubborn in their senseless babbling well past this age, but you are my little English student, imitating tone and nuance even when you can't get the consonants right.

You run through the house on those little legs, about six steps at a sprint until you're flat on your face, and then you try again. You've been a total pill in the afternoons, screaming and whining for food and then throwing on the floor whatever I give you. If you could spend the whole day tackling Simon and Talya without them getting furious with you, I think you would be the happiest kid in the whole wide world. Already, even in the midst of your implacable protesting, I think you're pretty close.

You've been picking a fight with us at bedtime. We rock you, just as we've always done, and instead of settling in, you sing and hit and pinch my arms. Your daddy and your babysitter give up and put you to bed. But not me, I refuse to let you win this one. It's just you and me and I have nowhere else I have to be, nothing else as urgent as being Mama to my baby. I rock you into submission, clamping you down with my arms. I am not angry, but I am firm in my resolve to not let you take this from us.

Finally, the stressful moments of you thrashing and me clamping subside. You relax and your cries turn to the sounds of you sighing the day away. We rock for a while after your eyes close. I catch up on some reading and silently thank you for one more night of this.

I love you. Good night, my son.


Sarah said...

Reading this post is like taking a deep breath.

Abby said...

Loved this.

I'm also clamping down and clinging to that nightly rocking ritual. It's slipping away too quickly.

Anonymous said...

loved this ... isn't it interesting how our days as mamas can be filled with such tiring moments and frustrations ... but the minute they look at us with sleepy eyes, just seconds away from dream land, it's the best job in the world?

Stephanie N. said...

Susie, you are an AMAZING mother. And writer. I feel so grateful to catch a glimpse into your life through your blog!

Becky said...

tearing up. Why you gotta do that Susie?! xoxo

Courtney said...

wow. this was PRECIOUS. and will be a priceless treasure one day. thanks for sharing it!!!

Tam said...

found your blog through Ohdeeoh. Just moved from Dayton. your family is beautiful and my heart sighed as I read your last letter - I too am the only one with patience to clamp down on my little bug to hold onto those rocked snuggles for just a while longer.