This is why I regularly try to spend time with other mothers and children.
I never knew a baby could wake happy until I had my second child, one friend says. Whew, we're not alone, I think.
On another occasion, I glance over at a friend who holds his infant daughter. She's dozing. Wasn't she just awake? Babies can do that? Babies can fall asleep away from mother's breast? Wow, we weren't in that club.
Just weeks away from four years old, Beren's bedtime routine has changed from the early days, too. It used to take just shy of forever to get Beren to bed. Now, it's bath or shower, snack, story, and then lights out for a "Cheetah story". This is story Jared's invention, and each night Beren is treated to a story about Cheetah, his family, and his friends - Cheetah Momma, Cheetah Papa, Kitty, Mishi, Socks, Checkers, Mrs. Anteater, and Spots. Beren appears in the stories, too. Beren helps weave the stories.
Most nights Jared leads the bedtime routine. I can hear Beren shouting about how he's riding his orange tractor with Cheetah. I hear Jared and Beren talking about a mysterious machine called The Bizbopper. Beren shouts, "Bizbop!" which is the sound The Bizbopper makes.
Often around 9:15 p.m. Beren falls asleep, sometimes alone in his room, sometimes cuddling with Jared. Sometimes, like tonight, I'm called in to be The Closer. It's 9:42 p.m. and Beren is finally asleep. It's far later than I'd like it to be, but like most things there's much more flexibility in the routine and in the moment.
Beren can have a later bedtime without shaking the earth's balance, or at least without disturbing the following three day's bedtimes. He can spend a couple more minutes hungry for snack without "going A-bomb" to quote an old friend. He might declare that he needs to pee, strike up a conversation, and then idly head for the bathroom only when prompted. The Bizbop Days of Forty-eight Months are easier than days past.
Ah, perhaps. Today, Beren accused me of "always" causing him to jump poorly or break his Lego buildings or something or another. It's always something or another to keep me hopping.