For instance, near nap time, little year-old Sophie roams the room like a truck driver on 10-cups of coffee, then plops on the floor and exclaims, ‘bitty bah dee duh rre tum tum toe!” She is quite certain that whatever she has said is philosophically salient, and I tend to agree with her.
But when it’s time to put her down for her nap, she fights it like that same truck driver now in his caffeine crash. Sophie is sure that her time would be most well spent continuing to smile and laugh and impart her baby wisdom. But I know better. I know that any second, the baby beauty will become a monster beast, so I am determined to put said baby down for a nap before the ugly transformation occurs.
Sweet Sophie cuddles in my arms until we approach her bedroom and I start closing the blinds; then she cries as if she’s been in this torture chamber before, and she can’t, just can’t have her toes broken again.
I try some sweet talk, which is rejected with vehement protestations, and so I gently release the writhing screaming banshee into the crib. She peers up at me, one tiny baby tear falling down her face, with an expression that says, “How could you do such a horrid horrid thing to me?” The look is so scathing, laced with hurt, that I avert my eyes and whisper, like the coward that I am, “nighty night, have a good nap!” and race out of there as if being attacked by a host of hungry hornets.
Then the wait begins. Generally, the screams last less than a minute. I stand in the kitchen as if I’m baking or cleaning, but actually I’m just listening attentively. The next 2 minutes are low-pitched complains. “Gr pla koey dkod.” I don’t want to even guess what she’s saying about me.
And finally silence. Now that I’m a seasoned grandmother of three years, I know better, but before, as a newbie, I used to tiptoe in after just 5 minutes of silence and look down at the little angel, sound asleep. Until suddenly, she’d open her huge blue eyes, send a look to me like ‘aha!’ and jump on her knees, rewinding her protests from just a short while earlier.
Now, in my learned wisdom, I find something to do for at least 8 minutes. THEN I tiptoe into my granddaughter’s room, ear pricked for any sound other than the soft sighs of a sleeping baby. If all is clear, I avoid the creaking floorboards and stand on the rug, looking at this new human being who sleeps as if she lives in paradise.
Her arms are flung above her head in complete comfort. Ah, to have shoulders like that once more. Her chubby legs are covered in a soft fuzzy blanket up to her chin. Her mouth puckers into a pink rosebud. Long eyelashes curl over her softly closed eyes, and I thank God for the opportunity to witness this sleeping bundle of love.