Posted in Bedtime

The warmth of his hand

There is something so special about each of the bloggers I invite to post here on Small Moments Mondays (SMM).  As I’m sure that you’ve gathered by now, I over think absolutely everything.  When I compile a list of bloggers to invite, my list is never random.

This week, I’m excited to share with you my friend Fadra, who blogs over at all.things.fadra.  Why did I invite Fadra to tackle SMM?  Because I enjoy her writing style so very much.

I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe Fadra’s writing and the best that I’ve been able to come up with is to tell you that she uses exactly as many words as she needs to communicate what she’s trying to say and not a single word more.  Her writing feels streamlined and logical, beautiful and clean.  I also love Fadra because she is so savvy…more often than not, I learn something new from her posts.

Thank you for sharing your small moment with us, Fadra.  Your story makes me all soft and squishy inside.  Your little guy is a lucky boy to have you for his mother.

The Warmth of His Hand — by Fadra

I’ve always thought of myself as a small moments kind of girl. I actually do stop to smell the flowers. I watch the birds and butterflies in the yard. I enjoy my kitty laying next to me on the bed. I savor a lot of the small moments.

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember the family trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. But I connect with the memory of the giant paper flowers on a stick that my sister and I got as souvenirs. I remember collecting Valentine’s Day cards from my classmates but I can clearly see the red and white striped shoebox decorated with paint stamps of hearts and stars and moons.

It’s those small things that make those small moments that etch those memories in our minds forever.

And now that I’m a mom, I know that I’m creating those small moments for my son. We spend so many special times together and I think about what will stay and what will fade. I think about Little Gym classes and storytime at the library. I think about the racetrack he got for Christmas and the latest Happy Meal toy. But I’m hoping my small moments are the ones that will stay with him.

My small moments are the ones that come every night just before my son drifts off to sleep. I have always been lucky as a mom in that my son was a sleeper. At 9 weeks, he slept through the night. He loved his pacifier. When he got older, I simply laid him in his crib, gave him the pacifier, said goodnight and walked away. It was a simple bedtime routine. Never a need to cry it out. Never a need to co-sleep. Everything worked just fine.

Then as he got older, he moved to a toddler bed. Every once in a while, I would squeeze in and cuddle him. Most nights, I might sit on the rocking chair and stay for a lullaby or two. He’s almost 4 now. And a few months ago we moved him to a big boy bed. It’s a full size bed.

The first few nights I stayed with him until he fell asleep. I remember him telling me how he felt about his newly arranged room. “Mommy,” he said, “everything just feels so different.” Growing up is hard. I wanted to ease the transition. I stayed a few more nights.

Now, we have our nightly routine. We sit in his bed together. We read a book, or two, or five. We read sweet stories. We learn about sharks. He asks me every question in the world and I do my best to answer. We give kisses and hugs, turn on some music, turn out the lights, and turn on his Twilight Turtle projecting stars on his ceiling.

In the blue light of his nightlight, we snuggle. Some nights we just chat. Something about the darkness allows him to release his day. He’ll tell me how someone at daycare said something he didn’t like. Or someone took his toy. Or he heard some grown-up talk during the day he didn’t understand. We talk about it. I’m honored that he shares it with me.

He kisses my arm or my face. He reaches for my hand and holds it until he falls asleep. These are the small moments for me. The moments when I feel the warmth of his hand. The moments when I am amazed that I made this little creature and this little creature loves me “to infinity and beyond.”

Long after he falls asleep, I lay there listening to his breathing. I kiss him one more time. I cover him up with a snuggly blanket even though he insists he likes to be cold. And I imagine what dreams he must have.

I think about this habit I’ve created. He won’t go to sleep without me right beside him. I’ve undone all of the wonderful sleeping habits I established early on. I’ve become that parent that is trapped by my child’s bedtime. I want a break. I want my grown-up life in the evenings. But even on late nights, when I come home and see his lights are off and my heart sinks a little. These are my small moments. And they are moments I will hang on to as long as he lets me.

Okay, you know what to do now…go on over and visit Fadra at all.things.fadra.  Be sure to read some of my favorite posts: Why Twitter Friends Are Better Than Co-Workers, Joy Comes in the Morning, If I Was a Rich Girl.

And while you’re visiting, be sure to check out the genius new meme that Fadra has just begun hosting, stream of consciousness Sunday, where Fadra challenges us to take five minutes and just write what we’re thinking, as we think it.  No editing.  I took part this week and found it refreshing to just sit and write without worrying about anything but the writing itself.

Still my baby at bedtime

 I am elated to have the opportunity to share my friend CDG with you this week on Small Moments Mondays.  She blogs over at Move Over Mary Poppins and she is simply magical and beyond lovely.

There’s a fluidity and a grace about her writing.  Her stories just flow; I rise and fall with them and am left wanting so much more.  I’ve been sitting here, trying to find the perfect words to describe her, but my words are failing me.  How do I tell you that she is ethereal, yet grounded, fanciful, yet sensible?  She is a lovely combination of qualities, each contributing to her uniqueness. 

The more I learn about her, the more I want to know.  And with each post, I admire her more. 

And when I count my blessings?  She is amongst them.

Thank you, CDG…thank you for gracing my blog with your beautiful words.  Thank you for trusting me with your story.  Much love to you.

Still My Baby At Bedtime — by CDG

My son, Felix, and I are lying in his dark room, noses pressed together, the white noise machine buzzing quietly to cover the swoosh and rattle of traffic outside. We are counting the songs I will sing to him before I tuck him in and say goodnight.

 “One… two… fwee…” he says to me, blowing the scent of bubble gum toothpaste and toddler breath into my nose, and holding up three fingers in the shadows.

I cannot bear to correct his lisp.

 “Two. One, two,” I reply, tapping our fingertips together.

 “Fwee.”

 “Which two songs should I sing, lovey?” We could go around all night negotiating the number of stories and songs.

Shellabye an’ Hush L’il Baby.

Shellabye... my heart swells up. He means “All the Pretty Little Horses,” as sung by the lovely Laurie Berkner, but when he was smaller and less verbal, somehow the hushabye became shellabye. Much like the little lisp, I am loathe to correct him.

So much of this baby sweetness will disappear soon.

He gathers up his Beek, the blue velvet fleece blanket who is his companion, and curls up like a prawn against me. Like he did when I was nursing him, his fingers play with the velvet fleece of my pink robe as I sing, and I am reminded why he loves Beek. His fingers remember the hours of rocking and nursing. He touches his mouth to the blanket for comfort, the shape of his lips and the peeking tip of his tongue reminiscent of a nursing infant. He still associates the texture of his beloved blanket with nourishment. His heart knows how much love there is here, curled up with his Mama.

I let the last note hover in silence.

“Hush L’il Baby, Mama,” he reminds me. For all that he is my baby, he is weeks from his third birthday, and quite capable of reminding me of my bedtime obligations.

He sings this one along with me. He knows most of the words, and when he doesn’t, he uses mockingbird as a default lyric. I sing slowly, over pronouncing the words for him, striking the pitches a cleanly as I can, lying down with his head tucked under my chin, hoping that along with the love and comfort, he is taking away from this some of my musical gifts.

We finish the song together, and he rolls gleefully over, stretching out for the last part of bedtime. I shake Beek out to cool it off. He always searches out the cool side of the blanket the way I seek the cool spot on the pillow case. I lay it down over his pillow; this way, they aren’t separated during the night.

He presents me with his bed friends for goodnight kisses, before snuggling down for his own kiss.

“Goodnight, Giraffe.”

“Goodnight, Bear.”

“Goodnight, Mr. Hello Kitty.”

“Goodnight, Domokun,.”

“Goodnight, Pug Dog.”

“Goodnight, Piglet.”

“Goodnight, Boy.” Here I kiss him, he kisses me, and then a together kiss, a kiss on the lips.

I draw the comforter up over him, he wiggles in a little further.

“Goodnight, Baby. I love you. Sleep Tight. Sweet dreams. I will see you in the morning.”

In my last glimpse of him as I close the door, his fingers play with the velvet fleece, his mouth moves against the fabric like a newborn at the breast.

He’s still my baby for one more bedtime.

To see a handful of her amazing talent, read Adjusting the Phrasing, She, and, to see just one example of why she is simply perfect for Small Moments Mondays, don’t miss Weekend Conversations

Please click over and visit Move Over Mary Poppins.  Just think how amazing it will be to be able to say, “I knew her when…”  Because?  With talent like this?  She’s headed for great things.

With a Hug and Almost Always with a Laugh

One of the things that I love the most about hosting Small Moments Mondays, is the reminder that I get each week that we are all more alike than we are different.  Whether we’re male or female, serious or humorous, young or old, we all have moments in our lives that are small and beautiful.  We all know what it’s like to find such tremendous joy in those smallest of moments.

I stumbled across Alexander Dope on Twitter months ago.  I found him to be witty, intelligent, kind, and engaging.  Over the months, he has made me laugh, sigh, think, and blush.  And he’s made me blush plenty.

Thank you for coming by and sharing your story with us, Mr. Dope.  You are amazing.

With a Hug and Almost Always with a Laugh –by Alexander Dope

I couldn’t have been more surprised several weeks ago when Nichole contacted me out of the blue about participating in her Small Moments Monday guest blogger series. After all, I’m anonymous, male, and don’t even have a proper blog — not exactly in keeping with the qualifications of the blogging All-Stars who have contributed so far. And, oh yeah, there’s the matter of my Twitter feed, which is a non-stop source source of tomfoolery and profanity. I was afraid to ask “why me?”, but whatever crazy hunch brought me here, I have to offer Nichole my heartfelt thanks for the opportunity and the push I needed to try stringing together more than 140 characters at a time.

For the past three and half years my family has experienced so many big moments that there has been precious little space to observe, let alone savor, the small moments that are supposed to provide life with its richness. First we moved a thousand miles away to care for my wife’s ill parents in our home and then we endured a brutal fourteen months when we said good bye to three of the kids’ four grandparents.

As difficult as everything was for my wife and I, the hardest thing to accept was that we were unable provide our kids with anywhere near all of the time, attention and love that we knew they required. But as chaotic as every day was, there was one small chunk of time, a ritual that we managed to salvage, that gave me a chance to completely focus on the kids no matter what kind of (often literal) insanity the day had presented — no matter what, we always ended the day with a book or a story.

As important as it was for the kids to have some undivided attention every day, it was just as valuable for me. Quite often, story time would provide me with the day’s only smile or laugh or happy thought. Through the stress and grief and exhaustion, the bed time routine was a life line keeping me connected with the kids.

Even now, as our lives slowly get back to “normal”, the kids’ bed time remains my favorite part of the day. I love how my daughter presents her vision of the future of Cinderella, or Ariel, or Jasmine after the story has ended. I’m also relieved that she doesn’t mind (or notice) that I take liberties with the narrative and replace references to the princesses’ beauty with testaments to their independence and their love of math and science.

My son still gives me notes on my voice acting — when he was three the problem was not making his stuffed puppy believable enough and now it’s butchering Admiral Ackbar’s Calamarian rasp. I do sometimes get kudos, though — my C3PO and Darth Vader in particular always get two thumb up. And junior’s mind was blown the other night when my Sulu voice sounded “JUST LIKE George Takei” (he’s never seen the original Star Trek, but he somehow knows that George Takei provides a voice in one of the cartoons he watches).

Whether praise or pan, we can always end the day with a hug and almost always with a laugh. No matter how poorly either one of us may have behaved during the day, story time provides a chance to put the trouble behind us, make our peace, and focus on how much better the beginning of the next day can be. Bed time remains a reliable source of small, happy moments — no matter how big and bad the moments of the rest of day have been.

Want more?  You can find him on Twitter, where his handle is @AlexanderDope

A Tale of Two Kitties

As we prepared to take away Katie’s beloved pacifier when she was 21 months old, we did extensive reading about how to help her with the transition.  We were worried that it would be a traumatic experience for her because, since she had only ever been allowed to have her pacifier in bed, bedtime had always been such a happy time. (I wish that we had captured on video the way she would just lunge out of our arms for her crib.)

One of the things that we learned about easing the transition is that it was important to introduce a lovey to help her feel secure in her bed each night.

Provided with a several choices of lovies, she quickly and happily chose a little white cat. The kitty isn’t allowed out of her room, as we thought keeping it there would make it special and would give her something to look forward to each night as we put her to bed. (Honestly, we were hoping for her to lunge for it as she had for her pacifier!)

When your child adopts a lovey, you are advised to buy two, just in case you ever lose one.

So, good little parents that we are, we did exactly that.  Here is Katie’s lovey, who she creatively named “White Kitty,” as it looked when we first bought it…

Super cute, right?

Katie loves this kitty … she has loved it so much, in fact, that this is what it looks like today…

And side by side, White Kitty with Replacement Kitty, you can’t help but notice that we’re in really big trouble.

What are the odds we’d be able to replace the kitty without Katie noticing?

So, my advice? When you buy a lovey, definitely buy two, but be sure to rotate them out!

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with one pristine lovey and one that looks like it’s been run over a bus.  Many times over.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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