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Getting from here:


to here:Image

We’ve developed a new bedtime routine with Emil. It goes something like this:

7 p.m. Snack/kveldsmat. This is necessary for Karel because he doesn’t eat much dinner. It is necessary for Emil because 10 hours without eating….well, that’s a long time for a guy like Emil. Gotta load up.

7:30: Wrestle pajamas on both boys (things like ”No, I am not going to try to catch you” are often said aimed in the direction of flailing limbs behind couch cushions).

7:40: Brush teeth, wash hands, face, potty, etc. We have a very small bathroom, folks. I tend to feel like it’s the most dangerous room in the house for under-3’s; or for any age when there is one under-3 present. Want to see how quick a parent’s reaction time is? Stick them in a small bathroom with a running faucet and two little boys. The greater the speed, the fewer the splashes.

7:50: Divide and conquer. Karel in his bed for story reading, Emil in his room for story reading.

Karel is tired after a day at barnehage. Reading and then sleeping is not usually too much of a problem.

Emil…Emil is a routine kind of guy, it turns out. And our current routine is such: Say good night to the pictures on the wall (”Natta, Manchester. Natta, Riga”). Say good night to Karel (which involves a hug that lasts 2 minutes and an impossible to break iron grip). Enter Emil’s room. Choose a book to read.

Book is denied.

Choose another book to read.

That book is also denied.

Show him, one by one, all his books until we find the one that strikes his fancy that particular evening. Begin to read it, either in bed or on the rocking chair. About half way through, one of two things will happen. He will either close the book in your hands and turn around to be held, or close the book in your hands and start roaming around his room. Regardless, the next move is the same.

Tuck in toddler, tuck in ”monkey”, kiss toddler, kiss monkey, say prayers, and slowly back away to the door catching dramatically blown toddler kisses.

Close door. Tightly.

After 5-10 minutes we usually hear some kind of crashing from the bedroom. Next is my favorite part of the whole routine: opening the door to find Emil inevitably standing in the middle of the room, explaining very matter-of-factly the source of the crashing as soon as he sees me.

How one can make noise and destruction seem so innocent, un-malicious, sweet, and routine is beyond me. This is the gift of our second child.

He points to whatever he’s been working on, I point to the bed, and up he scrambles.  Re-tuck, re-kiss, maybe a snuggle with his trademark head-lock hug, and slowly back towards the door again.

Sweet dreams, Emil Birk. Looking forward to waking up to your smiling face.

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Let the Christmas baking begin… 

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