What is it about the sweetness of a sleeping child that makes you forget the atrocities of the previous day? All of the assaults, thefts and possible arsons of the waking hours are but a memory as I tuck Cael and Graham into bed, and both of them know how to make the most of those quiet moments of individual attention.
When I carry Graham to his bed, he immediately begins spouting off his signature catch phrases that he has learned are helpful in securing extra cookies, an extra story, or maybe the starring role in a cheesy '80s sitcom.
"Okay, baby. Let's go to bed!"
"I dream about YOU, Mama!"
"I will dream about you, too, Graham."
"No, no, no. I dream about YOU."
"Okay. But I will dream about you."
"NO! No Mama dream. I DREAM ABOUT YOU NOW."
Okay, so he has to work on his delivery a little bit. But once in his bed, he is all kittens and puppy dogs as he begs for kisses and more hugs and to snuggle in bed in the morning for an early morning viewing of "Toy Story 3".
But Cael... Cael's nighttime sweetness is an acquired taste.
I try to keep the routine the same each night lest Cael get disoriented and start wandering the house at night banging aluminum cans and rolls of toilet paper around in the bathtub at 3am. So after we brush his teeth and use the potty, we climb into his bed and snuggle as we pray and talk about our day. Cael's prayers frequently have a "Rain Man"-esque quality about them, detailing every move he made, every bite he ate as well as the size, color and consistency of every, well, you know.
But after the prayer is done, Cael is the picture of affection.
"Mommy, can I have a hug?"
"Of course. (Hug) Okay, time for you to go to sleep."
"But can I have a kiss?"
"Sure. (Kiss) I love you. Goodnight."
"But Mommy, can I have another hug? And another kiss? And some water?"
Okay, so maybe his affectionate nature is just a strong desire to avoid going to bed. But last night in particular, he found a way to demonstrate his love for me. Sort of.
"I love you, Cael."
"I love you too. But I love you a big lot."
"I love you all the way to the moon and back."
"I love you to the bottom of the stairs."
"I love you all the way around the sun."
"Mommy, I love you over there to the closet."
"You know, that's not really very far."
"Yes it is. And I love you to the bottom of my bottom, too."
I guess that's pretty big.