13, 2001 - Friday
What started as something of a circumstantial fluke has turned into quite a regimented bedtime routine and one I concede not minding very much at all. I sing Harry to bed every night that I'm home and he insists on that. Apparently, if he knows I'm away for the evening, at a town meeting or something, he doesn't complain about mommy singing. But if I'm around, Harry is adamant and there is no avoiding this very appealing job.
His mother gives him a bath, helps him brush his teeth, and brings him into his bedroom. Sometimes interspersed in there, Harry comes to the computer room with mommy and sits on my lap in his diaper and still bath-dampened body and we look at the pictures on this website, but not always. Once Harry is in his room, it usually doesn't take long for him to start calling for dad. Sometimes he's calm and lets his mother get him ready relatively quietly, but most of the time the cry goes up in earnest. Once I'm there and lay down on Harry's bed with him, his mother gets up and is almost immediately summoned by Harry to go get milk. (Here is a situation that would be a lot more charming if Harry said "please," but this time of night never seems like quite the time to teach that.)
On one particularly troublesome night a little while ago, when she was going downstairs to accommodate his request, I tried to distract Harry by having him be quiet and listen to her go down the stairs and into the kitchen, open the refrigerator door, then come back up. I must say, it worked like a charm. Ever since when she leaves the room on this errand, Harry puts his figure to his lips and says, "shhh, coming," as we listen to mommy's movements. Of course, he says it loudly and repeats it several times, but he tries to be quiet. Recently I've taken to letting him drink all he wants (it's water now, not milk) before I start singing and stop singing if he asks for more. I'm pretty sure he was using the milk as a last ditch effort to postpone sleep and this new method seems to be minimizing the multiple requests of the past. Then I sing. I've been doing that since he was a baby and it's a happy time. I still sing El Condor Pasa, What a Wonderful World, Blue Train, and I'm Just While About Harry and have added Only You, My Prayer, and Bridge Over Troubled Waters as regulars. And, I occasionally mix in other standards, like The Way You Look Tonight and Moonlight in Vermont. But, the song that always seems to be the sure bet for putting a tired boy to sleep is "To Know Him Is To Love Him." Maybe it's the lilting triple meter, maybe it's the humming in the middle where the instrumental solo would be, I don't know. But, it's almost a sure thing.
I wasn't in the bathroom tonight for Harry's bath, but his mother says last night was just a prelude. Tonight, Harry peed in his potty not just once, but some five times before she finally got him in the bath. It seems our time is on for this most overt lesson of early parenting.