bedtime with children can be the worst. something dreaded, full of frustration, and moments that don't make us the most proud of our mother'ing. but it doesn't have to be that way! i've slowly built the routine that gets my little guy down for bed on time and with ease - giving mama plenty of time to unwind before hitting the sack at a respectable hour. read on, mamas, so i can pass on the goodness!
as my mother always says, let’s work backwards. first decide when you would like your child in bed by (look >here< if you're unsure), then decide what elements are apart of your bedtime routine, and calculate a rough estimate of how long it takes to achieve those tasks. this will give you an idea of when to start prepping for bed. you will tweak this as you practice, learn, and eventually nail this routine.
next, remember the foundations: consistency, choices, and preparation. do your darn hardest every single night to preserve your little one's routine. it is so good for them (for all of us), and lets them know exactly what to expect. in turn, this cues them on how to act. another key thing in peaceful parenting is providing children with choice. growing up is learning how to be independent. allowing your child to develop this healthy trait reduces resistance. of course, provide them with 2 choices that you are happy with; avoid open-ended questions where they could pick something that you have to say no too, upset them, and achieve exactly the opposite of our goal. lastly, remember to give your child plenty of time to adjust and prepare for what's next. allow them advance notice when something is ending soon, and never abruptly tell them it is time to stop or leave. this is startling to them, and very hard for someone who does not have any sort of understanding or grapple on emotions yet!
now let's see how to put these principles into practice. my ideal bedtime for Adiric is 7:30. this is due to the recommendation a 2 year old gets 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep, with a 1-3 hour nap. i wake aidric up at 6:30 each morning, just before we need to leave so that i can get him to his sitter before work. presuming he gets to sleep by 8:00, he gets 10.5 hours of sleep. now, there are many days he does not get to sleep until 9:30, due to a late start. that's ok. i do my best, and try not to stress too much about it. he can always make up for it at nap time.
i start winding him down as soon as he eats dinner. when i see that he is nearly finished, i begin running his bath. he goes directly from the table to the tub to wash up. his play time in the bath is determined by how long dinner took us. if dinner was prepped and all i had to do was warm it, he gets much more time to splash and play. but if it’s a night i’m cooking from scratch, he may be in just long enough to get washed up. either way, he always loves bath time, and i make it as interactive as possible. i use this time to let him be as independent as he’d like and encourage his development. i point out his body parts as i wash them, for example, and he follows my commands like “stand up,” or even practices tasks on his own. he loves to apply his lotion to himself and, most recently, has been learning to pour the water over his head when it’s time to rinse.
after his bath, i ask whether he would like to watch a show (the answer is always “ya!”). i make sure to have netflix ready and his pj’s out before we get out of the tub, to minimize his distraction. a major key i use at bedtime is reducing stimuli and temptations for other activities. this means picking up all toys before bedtime and streamlining our routine, so that there’s little room for him to want to do something else, ask for it, and be told no-thus bringing on frustration and tears.
i let him pick his show, and we snuggle on the couch, singing and dancing. how long he watches is again determined by what time it is. if i need to cut a show short, my trick is to fast forward to the last few minutes. my son watches primarily the same things time and again, so by now he is familiar with the endings of these shows. when the show ends, it’s one of many cues that it’s bedtime.
this is another key to an easy transition to bedtime. cues: lots of them. one way to establish this is of course through consistency and repetition, as routines accomplish as a whole. another is to repeatedly prepare your child for what is coming. giving them time to protest as they adjust to the idea is essential.
remember the protesting is not the problem. a kid is always going to be a kid; bedtime is just never going to sound fun. and that’s ok! as the parent, we need to be aware of this, and prepare for it. by planning ahead to give our child adequate time to feel their feelings about any given situation-on our time-we can remove the frustration and fighting about it. accomodate for this natural response by building in a few extra minutes to let it happen, and then prompting it to happen on your timeline. as i continue to say, i like to do this in a multitude of ways; through routine, and physical and verbal cues.
here's an example of physical cues: something he experiences that tells his brain it's time for bed. once the show has finished (whether naturally or on magic mama time), i quickly mute it, and turn the brightness down on my computer. this signals to my son it is OVER. when he begins banging on my computer attempting to see another one, there is nothing he can do to make this happen. i do this to ensure he does not see the beginning of a new episode, which would cue him that we are about to watch another, only adding to his confusion, frustration, and disappointment when i shut it off.
again, this helps to keep our whole routine geared to making a clear message, free of conflicting signs for his little developing brain to interpret: it is bedtime. i quickly transition aidric into brushing his teeth, something he loves to do, and will have him quickly cutting off his tears as he runs off, laughing, to the bathroom. he used to hate brushing his teeth, but repetition and allowing him independence in the process has worked to grow his love for it.
because i keep so consistent with this practice, i witnessed for the first time last night aidric going through his cues all on his own! it was a proud mama moment to top them all. when the ending credits of his show came on, i reached to mute and stop the show, but before i could, aidric had closed the lid of my laptop, understanding it was over and what was next. he ran to the bathroom before i could even mention brushing his teeth, and waited for me to help him do so. it was the most heart-warming thing to see him so well adjusted to his routine. a smart little cookie!
soon, i would like to be able to add reading books together as part of our routine. but for now, "reading" his books is one of aidric's favorite playtime activities, and gets him too hyper to be a part of his bedtime cues. to him, reading a book means it's time to get excited and play!
as i mentioned, i give aidric plenty of head’s up bedtime is coming, and this includes verbally telling him so. i begin this by telling him before his show starts, “one show and then it’s bedtime!” i continue telling him, “it’s almost bedtime!”, “are you ready to go night-night?”, etc. when the episode is just a few minutes from being done. as soon as he’s brushed his teeth, it’s time for kisses and goodnights. i pick him up and tell him it is now time for bed. i carry him to bed, and i lay with him. at this part, he is normally either yelling, crying, or scrambling away from me. however, i keep my tone light and happy, but don’t let him up. i hold him, patting his back, talking to him about his animals. after a few minutes, on a typical night, this dies down fairly quickly and he takes interest in his stuffed animals and snuggling with me. we practice giving kisses to his animals. he might be a little “too awake,” giggling and being silly with me and the animals. i allow this, as long as he is lying down. if he gets up, i stop, and firmly tell him to lie down. still, i do not raise my voice or get angry. as soon as he lies down again, i resume my happy voice and continue as normal. on a harder night when he is being inconsolable, i sing to him and rub his head to soothe him.
once he’s calmed and settled into bed, i tell him goodnight and that i love him. he knows what’s coming at this part, and will usually get apprehensive, telling me no or grabbing my hand. i repeat it a couple of times, getting him prepared for me to leave, then get up to slip out. i always stop at the door, no matter if he’s quiet or screaming, tell him goodnight and blow him a kiss, then shut the door. this provides some amount of closure, and prevents a child from feeling abandoned. some nights he’s completely quiet. some nights he cries for a few minutes. i always stand my ground, and rarely have a problem with him getting up, or continuing to cry more than a few moments.
of course, not every night will be perfect. but we can still be prepared, and save our efforts by enlisting some tried and true methods. the key is to knowing your child, and really interpreting what it is they need.
what to do if your child won't stop crying
if after i leave he is still inconsolable after a few minutes, i go back in. i usually find there’s something wrong, like he needs his water cup filled, he can’t reach one of his stuffed animals, a cat is bothering him, or he needs a new diaper. if not, sometimes he just needs more snuggling, and that’s ok. i lie back down with him, and almost always he quiets instantly. i simply restart our routine from that point. i sing to him, rub his head, pat his back, gradually backing off of these one by one, until he’s still enough i feel safe to slip out again.
what to do when your child gets out of bed
i read long ago about a solution for a child that continues to resist bedtime by getting out of bed. i used it consistently in high school and college with the children i worked with, and it has never failed me. if a child does this (and all other issues are resolved, ie, drink is filled, everything is in reach, pants are dry), you simply pick the child up or take their hand, and wordlessly tuck them back into bed. you do not speak or reprimand them. this is giving them attention, and to a child who does not want to go to bed, this is incentive to try again. continue this same technique consistently, as many times as it takes, until they are in bed. you do not have to be mean, cold, or rough to accomplish this. simply do it wordlessly, and consistently. this lets them know what is expected of them, and what they can expect to happen should they do it again. they will be less inclined to get up again if they are not receiving the result they wanted (to stay up longer), or an incentive to resist (attention). now if you have a child for which this has been an ongoing problem that you've handled another way, this may take a few nights of consistent work to overcome. but i promise you, i’ve had some of the worst bedtimers, and this always works!
the key is to stay consistent and trust the process. give it time, and you will thank yourself. your well-rested, well-adjusted children will, too. xx
this little boy is learning and growing at a startling, rapid pace. he's filling up and breaking my mama heart constantly. i had a horrible reminder today that this is all so fleeting, and that we are speeding thru his little life, even on the days i am wishing the years away to a magical day when he can make his own breakfast as i sleep in and we won't have to power struggle over things like getting in the car, being nice to the cats, or wiping s*** off his butt. i want to remember my little boy exactly as he is in this phase of life. right now, he...
is adding new words to his vocabulary daily. he loves to tell you a cow says "moo," lightning [mcqueen] says "vroom," and when he says "unootee gooooooo," he's inviting you to race with him.
claps his hands for approval, excitement, and confirmation that what you interpreted for him was correct.
just learned the word no. or rather, "nooooooo." he's even quickly graduated to "uh-uh," which i am guilty of saying quite a lot, but it sounds so adorable in his tiny voice that i much prefer it to the demon toddler "no".
loves to dump things out, whether it's his basket of books, his chalk box all over the rug, or a bowl of berries. but his real love is then picking up every last piece.
he loves to help mama transfer laundry, or pick up his trains and cars upon command and put them in their rightful place. he is the biggest helper, and i do my best to encourage and praise him. doing the footwork now so i won't have to when he's 16, right?
mysteriously learns tasks. just last night, we were winding down for bed together when he picked up my phone and my charger, and attempted to plug it in. i was astounded that he had learned that. i can't think of one instance where he would have seen me do it, which comes as a weighty reminder to me that he is always watching and listening, learning by my unintended example.
puts himself to bed. or, will at least answer an honest "ya" when asked if he is ready to lie down (which he follows up with a demonstration of how much he is in fact not ready for bed). probably my favorite, heart-wrenching trick he has right now. i love to watch him climb down from the couch, cradle his cup, and pick up and drag his blanky across the apartment, straight past his crib, where he ends trying to crawl up into my bed. it is the most precious, innocent, grown-up thing i witness him do. we have never coslept, and i have to move him to his crib before i get into bed hours later, but how can you say no to a show like that?
as a drinking glass connected with the back of my skull i immediately felt electric pain as a string of curse words left my mouth. aidric instantly started crying. not his usual whine-cry, but a full on wail, covering his wide mouth with his hands, eyes spilling over, dropping to the ground from the couch where he lay, remorseful. or something of the sort. i continued rubbing the point of contact and cursing as i felt the high-pitched pain creep in, spreading to the rest of my head. my mama heart was twinging with shame and guilt for letting-no, making-him cry. i tried to find it in me to comfort him, but instead sat poised with one hand to my head, the other gripping the culprit glass, glaring down and my 1.5 year old, wondering how my life got this way.
we regained some peace eventually, how i don't remember. still, we were both cranky, and none of my usual tricks were soothing him. i knew he was tired, but it was infinitely too early for me to win a bedtime battle. i decided we needed to get out of the house. something i rarely do with him in tow beyond necessity. the effort and anxiety of having a toddler in public is just too much for me (i'm working on that).
i announced it was time to go, a key phrase he understands from our mornings rushing to the babysitter on time. normally, this is met with excitement as he runs to the door and attempts to open it, usually allowing me to put his shoes, coat, and backpack on him with little protest. today was not so. i chased him around the place with socks, and you would have thought i was trying to cut his feet off the way he struggled and wailed as i pulled him into my lap to put them on. i hurriedly grabbed the essentials-his blanket, a snack, my keys, his diaper bag, an umbrella for the grey skies-and corralled him to the door.
we made it outside, and immediately we both were calmed. he sat quietly, taking everything in with wide eyes. i noticed how good it felt to move my body, drink in the fresh air, feel the chill on my skin. i discovered picturesque community areas and diners i pass by every day, but never notice thru the blur of commuting. i noted their locations for future visits. we stopped to watch a fountain, aidric watching eagerly. next we encountered a pigeon. excitedly he pointed him out, watched as he flew and settled onto a perch just above us, gazing at us with a bobbing head and beady eyes. this was clearly the best part to aidric as he began to chatter to me about what he saw. we continued on to my intended destination, a quiet little neighborhood just blocks from us made up of the dreamiest brick condos, with glistening black gates enclosing the tiniest of yards.
finally away from the noise and bustle of traffic, my mind began to wander and daydream as it so often does. of life and home to come. the glistening grey pavement with the pops of lavender of fallen petals inspired in my heart a reminder of the simple joys i still so long for. i realized how simply i desire to live, how much the thought fills me up. i crave adventure, too, but deep roots and a daily life of the mundane turned beautiful is what my soul has long called for. as we strolled, i envisioned the flowers i would tend in the tiny front lawn, replaced a cat we spied taking in the breeze through an open window with my own, imagined the warmth there will be in a home full with loved ones. i imagined family walks with a dog, summers splashing in the garden hose, the sweet smell of cinnamon and vanilla filling the house as i baked for a family all my own.
i looked down at my sweet boy, unruly curls and bronzed cheeks made slick by his nose, his tiny fingers grasping the sides of the stroller as he eagerly looked on, and wished so much more for him than what i have provided. i scolded myself for the times i lose my temper, or blame my lack of success on his sweet soul. i wanted to scoop him up right then, whisk him away into one of these homes made of dreams and brick, and redevote myself to crafting his childhood and raising him with tender love. our walk was the reminder i needed that i have the makings for everything i want. it was a time-out on my frustrations and short-comings, a reprioritization of my life's ambitions.
we made it home. i placed him straight into the tub, and after a few snuggles with one of his shows, announced it was time for bed. he picked his head up off of the couch to look at me so sweetly, picked up his blanky, and made his way into our room. past his crib he walked, straight to my bed, where he attempted to crawl in. i was stunned at his understanding and obliging obedience. charmed by his actions, i helped him in, where he immediately snuggled down into my pillows. as i rubbed his back and tucked him in, i marveled at his cleverness, his sweetness, and his innocence. slowly i crept out, peering at him through the thinning crack of the door. silently i swore to him tomorrow will be a better day. and each day after, better than the one before.
christmas this year was full of simplicity and small comforts. in less elegant words... i paid it no mind, the season slipped thru my fingers, and i don't have much to show for it. ha! traditions and holidays sure mean a lot to me, and i get so giddy and overly ambitious as i scroll pinterest, furiously pinning away all my hopes and dreams for approaching occasions. but in this season of my life, i am still finding balance. i am not quite on my own two feet yet, still wobbling around on fresh knees. or maybe more aptly on sea legs. either way, this season held just enough, i think, for my son to look back on and know that i've always cared for him, his experiences, his memories. and while i have several regrets-if not apathy-about this past december, i am smiling as i look back on the moments we gathered this month. and that is enough.
monday is my baby's birthday. i have plenty of feelings and thoughts about it. but first, i'm here to reflect on my first anniversary of being a mother. well actually, nearly my second anniversary. this journey began the moment i read those two pink little lines. it hasn't been easy. it hasn't always been happy. sometimes, it has been the downright most rotten thing i've ever done, or been. i've grown so much since those times, or rather, through those times. i still have moments, sometimes days. i'd like to think we all do, no matter age or circumstance. still, now i can say it is always the best, most joyful, worthwhile, rewarding thing i have ever and will ever be. since aidric's birth, i've often thought back on my 'old' life, and wondered what was i doing, really? it feels so empty to me now, so alone and without purpose. there have been times i've wanted nothing more than to rewind time and undo what i've become. but i return to who i was before a mother, and there is nothing there for me i cannot have now that i desire. nothing. everything i've wanted is unfolding before me still, some opportunities only arising, i'm convinced, because of the personal challenge aidric presents. i have always needed a good kick in the butt to get moving, a purpose. he is just that, making life so much more rich and beautiful. i would never have it any other way. truly.
i think 85% of my challenges as i adjust to motherhood stem from the way society speaks about motherhood, young moms, and 'baby mamas'. most being very real experiences for me, some admittedly, perhaps, only perceived. still, it has been (and continues to be) an uphill battle to separate myself from that frame of mind. to reframe my own mind. to relearn everything i've known, to not define myself, to pull away, and to no longer care. i remind myself daily i must not fill my head with imaginings of how others perceive me, of what they may whisper about me. i am rewriting what it is to fit all of these categories. a label that is all my own.
5 am. 5 am on a sunday and my eyes fly open, all at once woken by the happiest bloodcurdling scream you've ever heard. oh no. cries this early in the morning, those are easy. those require only a quick snuggle and some back scratches and the boy is back to sleep, his mama, too. but happy, chirping noises? oh no, oh no no no. those are the sounds of a boy who is wide awake and ready to play, calling to me to come to him. i can already see the mess of blankets and animals on the floor beside his crib, clearly illustrating the path he walked around the perimeter of his crib as he threw them over one by one.
sigh. there goes one more hour of sleep i could have had before work (i think any mothers reading will appreciate most just how much sleep that is at this stage). ah well. i was in bed before 2130, something that probably hasn't happened since i was, i don't know, 8 years old. on a saturday, mind you. god, i'm getting old. but then 14 hour shifts will age you like that.
i get up, go to my son, and find the situation is even worse than i feared. this little boy is now crawling around the room like a mad man, eyes wild, full speed ahead with no apparent destination. simply for the thrill of it. happily shrieking at the sheer joy of being awake for another day. i guess.
tonight is moist, warm air, twinkling fireflies, crackling fireworks, laughter, a glass of bubbly in my hand. the sharp scent of sulfur coating the air is a tale of classic, simple joy. tonight i am all at once nostalgic, content, and yearning for the beautiful years of life that are yet to come.
just a year ago, i sat beneath a fireworks show on my favorite day of the year. seated with me was family, their toddler passing between laps, finally settling into his mother's arms as he leaned into the sights above with wide, bright eyes. i cradled my round belly, wanting so badly to hold my own babe in the same manner. i wished it so badly i bit back tears. i remember mentally flashing forward to the next year, when my own son, now nearly a year old, could sit cradled in my lap. i was so filled with the desire to play with and share my favorite things with this child i carried, to build for him a childhood of wonder, freedom, and love-so much love.
today is that year! today, i feel myself as i was then. i feel myself from behind my childhood eyes. i feel myself here and now, in moments made longer, slowed and stretching between the pops of the lights above and unadulterated laughter below. today time has made me its friend, as it threatens to become my enemy tomorrow. today, i am happy.
now that i am working as a nurse (!!!) i have the opportunity to work 3 12-hour shifts per week. 12 hours that mysteriously turn to 14 every time. having 4 days off a week has challenged me to find more ways to fill my time meaningfully. what a struggle, amiright?
of course, my first priority on my newfound free time wish list has been spending time with my babe. what a difference it is to trade long class days and late nights of studying, to having a majority of my time free to spend with my little boy! i've been scouring pinterest for mom'ing activities to try, and when i saw these baby cookies, i thought they sounded like the perfect mix of both simple and extra. i mean, who really spends their precious time whipping up mostly flavorless blobs to give their baby a pretend experience? but all this free time wasn't going to fill itself, and it felt like the perfect kind of extravagant to make me feel like a real mom'ing mom. plus, these cookies are perfect for my slobbery, teething, but still toothless, guy. so, i set out to make these treats, creating a labor of love that would quickly be thrown to the dog when my back was turned. at least he sure seemed to enjoy them. the dog, i mean. not aidric. still, the most thrilling part of it all was seeing just how big of a mess these made, with their whopping 6 ingredients. it was truly impressive. my blissful thought of why do i not bake anymore?! this is fantastically fun!! was stopped in its tracks as i finished whipping these up, looked up, and witnessed the carnage. yep, that's why. also: one final mom-win, in case you haven't yet been sold on why you, too, should rush to make these: the immersion blender i used to puree the batter scared aidric so bad, he sat at my feet shrieking, clawing at my legs, begging me to hold him and comfort him. so there's that.
a little boy who bubbles over with smiles and laughter each day is halfway thru his first year of life today. i can't comprehend where the time has gone. it hasn't felt nearly so long. and yet, i can't believe i have only known my son for so long. the time has whirled away, a smear of happy memories, so many mundane moments splashed in color by a certain beautiful smile and the wonders of watching a new life take form.
(baby boy's growth in comparison to his basket from just a few days old, to 3 months old, and now 6 months. ☺️)
living presently has never been my strong suit. i have always been a girl of wandering thoughts, of grandiose dreams and schemes. i grew up with my nose in a book, playing house and 'office', writing down all my endless lists of the things i would do when i was old enough to. i've never been able to grow up fast enough. i still do all of these things, a sense of 'when i grow up...' still my driving force. i've said this countless times before, and i have a feeling i will find myself continuing to say it: aidric is my reason to slow down and be where i am. i notice the way the light falls through the windows again. i savor the minutes in the morning i have with my coffee before i go in to wake him. i watch his chest rise and fall after putting him to sleep, the moonlight etching out his features in the dark. we pause in mirrors to say hello, i notice every bit of growth he does each night, we pet the cat, and make friends with strangers.
after taking his monthly pictures, our set up sprawled out over my bed next to the window that lets in the best light, i had a moment where i thought, "i'm here." i took in the sight of my life in that moment, in this season. the gurgling boy reaching his toes to his mouth. the cat enjoying lazing in a sun spot with her humans. the fresh flowers i'd bought the day before at the bedside, my favorite iced cinnamon chai, new linens in just the right colors, the slow-moving afternoon of a saturday. i realized that at one point, a younger version of myself had yearned for exactly what was laying before me.
i took the rest of these pictures stuck in that awareness, wanting to capture the present happenings, breaking away from the mold of my beloved planned, posed, and styled photos. i may not always feel like the most adult in the room. i'm still learning everyday what it means to truly enjoy the lifelong process of becoming, and accepting that it really is a lifelong process. but when i manage to stop and look around, i'm reminded that it's a beautiful one.
one last photo i would not have gotten were it not for my pause to take in the moment:
(no one was harmed in the making of this photograph)
ahhh, sweet baby love.
there have been a few moments in my life when, just as they are beginning to happen, i think to myself it will be a forever kind of memory. where i can physically feel a moment moving slower, becoming clearer, cementing itself into my long-term memory. it feels like one of those flashback scenes from a movie: the light going golden, the edges of the picture growing blurry, the voices and laughter gaining an echo-like quality to them.
tonight, in the midst of a most mundane moment, i had such a memory. i felt it. a flashbulb going off in my mind's eye, illuminating the very scene i was watching unfold. i couldn't quite believe what was happening, while simultaneously knowing this was being written into my book of life's most wonderful moments.
i sat on the couch, holding aidric in my lap. we were expecting his grandma in just a few more minutes. i had him up past his bedtime, in an effort to let her say hello. he was squirming and fussing, asking for the bottle that would do him in for the night, but overall being a good sport as i asked him to fend off sleep for me. to occupy him, i was standing him up on my belly, occasionally swooping him toward my face and making a bumbling airplane noise. i would laugh at myself, and he would smile. i was marveling at this baby boy that was outgrowing his babyness all too quickly. i swooped him down again, quickly kissing him on the forehead. he cooed. i stood him upright. he is really no longer a newborn. he has gotten so tall, so tall he keeps outgrowing his baby chub any time it begins to accumulate. he is a lanky baby. i wonder if this means he will be taller than me. i swooped him in again. bbbppfftt came my best plane imititation, then laughing at him. he is 4 months old tomorrow. that makes him 1/3 of a year old. i am finding out, this is how mothers tell time.
bbbppfftt. i swooped him again, laughing, again at his delight. except this time, i wasn't laughing at him. i was laughing with him. a real live, full blown laugh came bubbling out of him. flashbulb.
it's this beautiful, wonderful thing, motherhood. you hear it all your life. me, i've known a piece of it all my life. having babysat, nannied, and taught for years upon years, i've grown attached and built relationships with babies and children as long as i remember. i've always felt i knew just how great getting to be somebody's mama would be one day. i didn't. i don't think anyone could. we've all heard the wait until you're a mother bit, tuning out anytime someone talks about the way their child did something for the first time, as if it was the first time they themselves had ever done it before. i knew it must be wonderful. i just couldn't have had any idea how true every thing i've ever heard about it is.
i couldn't believe aidric had just laughed. it was a full blown chortle, not just a giggle or an excited coo. i instantly wanted to hear more. i excitedly praised him, hugged him, kissed him, held him close and asked him just how long he'd been trying to do that for? how long had he been trying before he had finally done his first full blown belly laugh? i tried to persuade him to give me more. i swooped him some more. really throwing myself into making the gosh darned best airplane noises i possibly could, he smiled. still, he didn't make a peep. a little bummed, i kept trying, to no avail. i felt silly when i realized i was trying so hard, my noises no longer resembled much of anything, but a quite loud and boisterous growling. i laughed at myself, for becoming so ridiculous in my eagerness to entertain him. i was laughing at myself, when i was joined by aidric's laughter again. i paused, laughed again. aidric laughed, too. i felt warm. i kissed that boy all over. whether he was mimicking me or truly delighted by my laughter, i didn't know and i didn't care. either way, i was the center of my boy's world for a moment. and as my flashbulb memory went off, i knew, too, that the times this was true would be numbered.
i'm not crying, you're crying.