The time is now to write up our sweet bedtime routine, as it fades out. I knew it would not last forever, but have enjoyed it ever so much.
My kiddo has always been a champ at going to bed. He has loved his sleep, and always seemed to run off to bed in relief that the long day was finally over. But for the longest time there were no stuffies. No loved fuzzie ones that he had to have with him. I would tuck him in with his Bunny, or Blue, or Piglet, and he never seemed to really care. Until about a year ago. Yes, at age 8 my kid finally became attached to stuffies, much to my great relief. It was one of those childhood markers that I was afraid would never come, but it did. And it evolved into a ritual that was very strict, and very fun.
First came Stitch. Stitch had to bounce on his head and laugh maniacally, and then pop into his spot at the far side of the bed, tucked under the cover of course and against the wall. Then came Blue. She does not talk, but would hum the Blues Clues theme, lick his cheek, and snuggle in next to Stitch. Next Magenta would kiss him, meow, and say Good-night Alex, because Magenta can speak even though Blue cannot. No one has ever been able to explain that one to me. Then it was Penguie's turn (the Kennywood Penguin), he would waddle up Alex's back and peck his cheek four times and settle in on his other side, away from the wall. Then Zoom the Turtle was up, rolling up Alex's back (he's very round) and stopping to kiss him twice on the nose. I would pause, and Alex would ask, "Where's Perry?", and Perry the Platypus would be procured from a hiding spot, chitter at him, and crawl under the covers. And finally, Yoda. He would say something like, "Night Good, young Padawan. Kiss your Mother. Sleep good you shall." I would get my kiss, and out I would go, turning out the light as I went, leaving him chocked in with his little friends.
It has been fading for a few weeks now. I don't know if it is soccer leaving him too tired for long routine, late summer nights, or just getting older, but our little routine has been fading. Perhaps it will rev up again for a final hurrah, and I hope it does. It is such a sweet part of having a child. Day is done, routine completed, another step further down the road. Sure, it was kind of a pain in the butt to find all the stuffies from wherever they had rolled or been tossed, digging under the bed or under the covers, but I finally got wise and dug them out before starting the routine. Then it wasn't even a pain at all.
But it has been a time limited offer. Only good for so many months and then gone. This is what I have learned about being a parent. It is always moving, always shifting. Once you get used to something it is time to say good-bye. Having a kid on the Spectrum many of the hellos have been later and the duration not as long as a typical kid, but maybe that makes me appreciate it all the much more. I realize that some parents never get to hello. And some have to say good-bye all too soon. And some who wanted to be parents aren't. It's all a time limited offer, this life thing. Parenting is fleeting. Life is fleeting. No one knows where it all goes.
So have fun. Speak in funny voices when the time is right. Roll turtles up a little boys back. Kiss those sweet cheeks. Play hard. Sleep hard. Think hard. Dream hard. Life is fleeting, but it sure can be divine.