Carmen Rasmusen Herbert
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert rocks her baby to sleep.
“Mommy, sing me ‘Blue Shadows’ and paint my face,” my 4-year-old son asks every night when I put him to bed. The song from “The Three Amigos” became his lullaby of choice a little while ago, and now it’s solidified a spot in his bedtime routine. I “paint” his face (gently stroke his cheeks with the tips of my fingers) before heading into the next boy’s room.
“I want you lay ‘side me,” my 2-year-old son says as I lean in to kiss him goodnight. “OK, but only for one minute,” I say, both of us knowing full well I’m not leaving until he’s snoring, usually 15-30 minutes later. He plays with my hair and kicks at my back and usually elbows me a time or two in the face before he finally settles down.
“Mommy, say who sleeps,” he says drowsily, doing everything he can to keep his eyes open. “Everybody sleeps,” I whisper quietly. “Woody sleeps, Buzz Lightyear sleeps, Mickey Mouse sleeps ” I name all the Disney characters I can until he dozes off, and then I groggily climb over the side rail of his little twin bed and sneak out the door.
Next it’s my older boys’ turn. We pull out the trundle bed in my oldest son’s room, and my middle child gets a pillow and blanket and snuggles in while I scrunch up at the foot of the bed. I turn on the audio of the latest book we’re listening to (right now it’s “Fablehaven”) and watch the planet mobile spin around and around above my head as I imagine what it would be like to live on a magical reserve with fairies and monsters. Then I slowly pick up my big first-grader, who has fallen asleep, and carry him to his room, reminding my oldest not to stay up too late, knowing he’ll probably keep his constellation lamp on for 30 more minutes while he reads or tinkers around with his Legos and robots. He’s a night owl, like me.
That is a typical…