*Warning - this is a long post that will likely be of no interest to anyone else but it serves as a permanent reminder to this aged father who doesn't ever want to forget certain things about his babies.*
I'm sure almost every parent has their own version of this, but I wanted to post about my various bedtime routines with the 3 amigos before I got too old and/or senile to remember. It all started with JAM of course, and I've got to admit that I can only recall our routine as it started when he was about 4 or so. I've blocked out anything before that. If you knew JAM at the time you'll understand. :) Our routine was a fun combination of some things heavily influenced by his favorite movie at the time - Finding Nemo - and just general silliness that he and I seem to share a good dose of.
It went/goes like this... First we do the stuff influenced by our favorite character in Nemo... Dude Crush, and his little turtle son, Squirt. If you've never seen it, it starts with "Gimme some fin" which is a soft high five, then a "noggin" in which we bonk foreheads (this took some training as 4-year-old JAM had a tendency to be a little over zealous with this), and then we point at each other with both hands, roll our heads and say a good hippie-like "duuuuuuuuuude!"
After that we did a high five, then medium five, then a low five which I always pulled my hand away and did the "too slow" thing. Then maybe another. Then maybe another six or seven until I let him get me and we said a final good night and I left the room. It was fun, and to be honest, I had a lot of trouble remembering the whole thing tonight as I started writing this. I even had to ask JAM about it, trying to make sure I had it right. The sad thing? He didn't really remember either. He's getting old! :(
WOW! I never thought I'd be sad about that!
I'll skip my little red-headed terror right now as she was really the impetus for this post and I want to talk about her last. So on to my "little" Pudge. He's still little so we haven't gotten too into silly routines or anything yet, but there is one thing we do while Wifey is putting Red to bed and I'm rocking in the glider with him. Back when I was solely responsible for putting Red to bed, while Wifey was still feeding Pudge at night, I used to sing a silly little song with her trying to do something repetitious and soothing to get her to understand this was the go-to-bed song. It was really simple - "Daddy and "Red" do rock-rock" over and over again, softer and softer each time. Don't really know where it came from but it stuck and we did it every night.
Now along comes Pudge, and I find myself back in the saddle with him so to speak, and the song has made a resurgence. With a little silliness thrown in of course. I'll start by doing the sing-song "Daddy and "Pudge" do rock-rock" while gliding back and forth. He's got his head on my left shoulder (always the left with his right thumb in his mouth - don't try to switch shoulders or you'll be SORRY!!!) and we'll do a few of these, then I'll throw in a "Daddy and "Pudge" do bounce-bounce" with a little bounce, then maybe a "Daddy and "Pudge" do wiggle-wiggle" with - you guessed it, a little wiggle. I do it because it makes him do his little-boy giggle, and he does it while his thumb is still in his mouth so it comes out stifled and even cuter. I love this kid right at this age - he's as cute as can be and it is horrible to say but unlike JAM (who was a terror in all facets of his day - most of the time) and Red (who has been a drama queen and a throw-a-switch-hysteric her whole short life), I don't want Pudge to change at all.
Do other parents admit to stuff like that? Did I just break some kind of unwritten rule or anything? I hope I don't lose my membership card for that.
Alright, so now on to my little Red. She's getting bigger, and smarter, each day. Our routine has always been the same since she transitioned into the lower bunk with JAM. I'll snuggle with her in her bed, she gives me three kisses (which I always count - 1... 2... then some random number from 4-99, anything but 3), then I give her my I love you kisses... I kiss her once and say "I", then a second time and say "love", then a third time and I'll say something other than "you." I do this a few times, always changing up the word choice. It usually starts with "cheeseburgers," but I'll throw in anything that comes to mind from the day or the book we've just read. Giraffes have made an appearance, and tricycles and airplanes and kumquats and rutabagas and lamp posts and ice cream... you get the idea. And after each one she'll usually laugh and say "NO!!!!! - That's not right!" until after three or four other things I'll finally promise to try really hard the next time and say "YOU!" and give her a horribly gross, wet kiss on the cheek. She'll giggle some more and I'll give her one last hug then climb out of bed. It doesn't end there though.
In almost Major League Baseball-like fashion she's invented this fun handshake-type thing that we'll do. First, we do a thumb bash with an explosion thrown in (way too hard to explain, just go with it), then a "I love you" in sign language bash with an explosion, then a regular old bash (think terrorist fist-bump from Obama fame) with an explosion, and finally what she calls a twisty bash which is where you wrap your index and middle fingers around each other and bump them together.
Wow, that took a long time to type for something that takes all of about 4.7 seconds to accomplish.
I've wanted to write this down for a while, so I never forget these silly, but very important to me, things. But, the real reason I thought to get this down tonight was I was reminded of a subtle but significant difference in our routine that happened for the second time tonight. As I mentioned, Red usually responds to my silly I love ____'s with a giggle and a "NO!" or "That's not right!" They've sometimes been so loud and giggly that Wifey has complained from the other room where she's trying to put Pudge down. But tonight? My little girl is getting smarter and smarter by the day. Rather than her simple "That's not right"'s, she came out with the much more thoughtful - "That's true, but it's not the right word." That's a big difference isn't it? I'm sure some helpful child development-type person that I know will slog through this ridiculously long ramble and let me know there is a name for this or she's moved into some different stage of thinking or something intelligent like that. But for me? I just thought it was another example of my little girl growing up and I didn't want to let it slide without mentioning it.
My hands hurt after typing all of this, but now I'll never forget. And that is the point of this blog anyway.
Oh, and the kicker? After all this feel-good growing up type stuff where Red is the star? A little "incident" tonight that I just had to capture for all time. We were walking down to a couple of friends of JAM's houses to hand deliver some birthday invites when I asked Wifey to go up into one of the buildings to deliver one in particular. I'd never met the family and for some reason my anti-socialness was kicking in. So I stayed outside with Red and Pudge. Oh what a BAD idea!!!! Red did not like it one bit that Mommy was going up into the building without her. And she had no qualms about letting the entire neighborhood in on her feelings.
Yes, I captured the moment with my fancy new camera phone...
I'm sure the other people going into the building and in the parking lot thought I was a nutter for letting her scream like that while videoing, but we've learned there is just no consoling her in those times and really - who wouldn't want ammunition like this for later in life?
I love these kids. Really, I do!