When Eli was a tiny baby, still, and we were right smack in the thick of it, I had a big list of things I felt guilty about. We couldn’t afford organic milk, so he drank the regular stuff. We never joined a play group. And we had no bed time routine.
Obviously we were raising a future serial killer with a crippling lactose intolerance and no social skills, because while we had swedish pajamas and a bookshelf full of bedtime stories and we ate dinner together every night, we simply could not get it together to establish any kind of bed time routine, and so Eli went to bed at whatever time we got sick of him, and sometimes he had a story and sometimes he watched a half an hour of Cars and sometimes we took him for a walk with the dog and there was! no! routine! and while everyone else was reading the same board book every night and putting their kids to bed at 6:52 on the dot and rubbing their backs four times clockwise and then four times counterclockwise no matter what and always the same thing every single night, there we were, failing at routine.
When Erik brought Eli to “Take Your Child to Work Day” at his office last year, I stayed home, and so when Eli returned in the afternoon he spun magical tales for me, all about the woods and insects and then he came to the most wonderful creature of them all, a very giant bull frog. I was folding up laundry, tiny boys shirts and pants, and I leaned on the edge of the crib and listened to the tale and asked “Did the giant bull frog have a name?” and without skipping a beat, Eli replied “The frog’s name was Pittman Tuppett.” And so Pittman Tuppett he became. (Erik reports that the frog did not have any obvious nomenclature beyond “Rana catesbeiana”, but Eli does love to name things, as we know.)
Beginning that fateful day, the day Eli met Pittman, Erik started spinning tales of his own, and now Pittman has a legion of friends, including the rabbits Harold and Blockface, a snake named Vargas, Possy Possicle (mouse), Tortellini L. Turtle, Squeaky Cheese, Hot Tub Time Machine (racoon), and Chugga Chugga Choo (brontosaurus). And now every night Eli climbs into bed, and Erik and Eli yell for me and I come in and I cuddle up next to Eli, and Erik holds Katherine, and Eli and I giggle and sometimes I might give him a little rib tickle and then Erik starts off, and it is always the same: “Once upon a time, there was a very very large frog named Pittman Tuppett. Pittman lived in a pond on the north end of the meadow in a house made of reeds near the end of the pond where the lily pads grew”.
Sometimes Pittman goes to see Santa or gets locked out of the house or pees in his pants or goes to preschool, but no matter how the story changes, bedtime is always the same, now, with all of us in Eli’s tiny bedroom, listening to the adventures of a very large frog named Pittman Tuppett. And tonight as I laid there next to my boy, and we cuddled and Erik told the story of Pittman wetting his pants, I thought, “Hey! Here it is! We have a bedtime routine!”
Don’t that beat all.
Filed under: Uncategorized |