Friday, May 9, 2008

Big Girl

I am now addicted to big girl pajamas. Not for me, not as in Big Girl; but for Kiki as in not sleepers.

She now has ballerina pjs, Disney Princesses pjs (that she got for her birthday), and Spongebob Squarepants pjs (which came with 2 tops!)

Kiki herself doesn't seem to care what she's wearing, but as long as Mama's happy, everybody's happy.

Kiki started sleeping in her crib in her own room when she was 6 months old, so about 6 months ago (give or take). I'm not sure when I started her bedtime routine as it stands today, but it's become timeless in an odd way, as if we've always done this, and always will.

She's not much of a cuddler during the day. She wants to go, go, go all the time, and time spent in someone's lap means lost time that could be spent trying to climb into the entertainment center or behind Daddy's computer where he hides his coveted earphones.

But at night, just before bedtime, if I'm sitting in the rocker, she settles in (usually -- there are always exceptions), and gazes intently up at me while I sing to her. I sing the same songs every night, in the same order. I sing "My Favorite Things" because it reminds me of my Oma and Opa. Then I sing "Amazing Grace" because it reminds me of Aunt Agnes. And then I sing "Hush Little Baby" because it reminds me of Grandma. And I end with "Mary Had A Little Lamb" for no other reason than it appears to be her favorite. If I leave it off, she will not sleep.

Before I sing the songs, I go over the day's events with her. Sometimes between songs, I'll tell her a story about me or someone in the family. Or I'll tell her a fairy tale (a broken fairy tale, most generally, because I can never remember how those things go) or a fable (see fairy tale) or a mytho (I'm actually pretty good at those, even though she seems wholly unimpressed by my Greek prowess.)

Sometimes while I sing, she'll vocalize along with me, not really singing, not really in beat, but participating in a way. But mostly, she keeps her eyes on me, sometimes smiling or giggling but usually just watching, watching, until her eyes start to close.

It occurred to me the other night how big she's getting. I used to be able to cradle her in my arms. Now she rests in my lap, her legs dangling over mine, her head still rested in the crook of my arm. She's becoming less baby, more little girl, and it seems like it's happening overnight.

I know that one day soon I'll have to adjust the bedtime routine, maybe introduce a nighttime book instead of lullabies, maybe decrease the pre-bed cuddle time to more like 5 minutes instead of 30.

But I also know that these baby girl days are numbered, and someday all I'll have is memories of them, as I watch her grow more and more independent and self-sufficient. And so I say, screw it. I'm making the most of it while I can, and I will milk every last second of bedtime cuddles that I can, while I can.


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