I have such fond memories of bedtime with Elijah - that is, until he started to buck the system about a year ago. But when reminiscing about those days between infancy and 3-year-old tyranny, I always smile wistfully.
Although Elijah always went to bed easily, I had the luxury of time that you only enjoy with one child and only after it is gone, so we rocked and read and sang almost every night. We read the obligatory Good Night Moon until it was memorized and I sang the standard lullabies until he was old enough to put in his own requests. And we cuddled. Our son was a world-class cuddler (still is, to be honest). He would wrap his arms around my neck and nestle his head on my shoulder and I would sigh and wish it could last forever.
But it couldn't, because then we had Allison . . .
. . . and life got more complicated. Dan and I soon split bedtime duties, and since I was nursing, I always got Alli. One might argue that is when and why Elijah's bedtime woes began, but that is for another post. Life changes and you have to adapt.
Now Allison was also a good sleeper, and still is. In fact, she didn't need to be cuddled or rocked, only needed a full tummy and her crib. So I would nurse her and lay her down with a quick kiss and leave the room. And that is the routine we stayed with for over 2 years. Well, now she is old enough to enjoy a good story (Good Night Moon is back!) and requests one nightly. So while Dan and I still split bed-time duties, it is usually more evenly between the kids than those first months.
That's why I almost cried last night when it was my turn to put Alli to bed and we read Mommy's Best Kisses, a book all about how mommy animals kiss their babies while putting them to bed. Alli insisted that I kiss her in the same way each page described, and after I was done reading she said, "My turn. Read mommy" and proceeded to turn each page and kiss me likewise. Oh, how I melted and enjoyed that precious time with her. I may not have memories of night after night rehearsing the same traditions, but I will cherish every night like that one I get.