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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The significance of routines

I'm sometimes surprised at the extent to which my children notice my little routines and semi-secret rituals.  For instance, one of the big kids is certain to comment if I fail to shake the packets of Splenda and flick them with my finger-tip before tearing them open for my coffee... or if I open a can of soda without tapping the top first. 

But the other night I realized that there was another set of eyes in the house taking note of my every move and gesture.

I've mentioned in the past that one of my evening rituals is to make a tour of the house to check that the doors are locked, the lights are out and that everyone is completely covered with blankets. 

This last bit is particularly important since all of our kids are pretty active sleepers.  Rare is the visit to one of the kid's bedrooms that doesn't require at least a small tug on the corner of a blanket.  Yonah takes the cake when it comes to being an active sleeper.  Even before he is fully asleep he has usually kicked off his blankets and knocked his toy cars and stuffed animals to the floor.  As a result, if I happen to get up for a drink while Zahava is doing her pre-bedtime NY Times crossword puzzle I will usually make an extra side-trip to Yonah's room to redistribute his toys and cover him up. 

This little ritual - whether coving up Yonah or one of the big kids - always ends with me giving the sleeping child a kiss on the cheek.  It never occurred to me that any of them might be aware of this... after all, the kiss was more for my enjoyment than for theirs.  And besides,they would always be fast asleep when I made my 'rounds'.

Well, the other night I went upstairs to the kitchen to get a drink for Zahava... and after giving it to her, I decided to duck into the nursery to re-cover Yonah.  Sure enough, his blankets were on the floor and I could just barely make out his sleeping form on the mattress. I covered him up quickly and stood there for a few seconds letting my eyes adjust to the darkness so I could see where his toys and stuffed animals had fallen.

Just then, I noticed two dark little eyes staring up at me from the pillow.  I wasn't sure if he was really awake so I stood silently in the dark waiting for him to return fully to sleep.  After a few more seconds had passed and he still hadn't closed his eyes I turned to tiptoe out of the room so I wouldn't further disturb him.

Suddenly a groggy little voice from behind me said, "Abba... my kiss."   

I guess one of my secret rituals wasn't so secret after all.


Posted by David Bogner on January 3, 2007 | Permalink


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Very cute! It's the little things that make a difference.

Posted by: Yaron | Jan 3, 2007 4:41:11 PM


Posted by: aidelmaidel | Jan 3, 2007 5:03:33 PM

Very sweet! No, you never know what the kids actually see or hear, nor what they retain.

Posted by: benning | Jan 3, 2007 5:30:12 PM


Posted by: antares | Jan 3, 2007 5:43:07 PM

Ohhhh....how sweet!

Posted by: Sara K | Jan 3, 2007 5:45:10 PM

LOVED this... so true, so true.
will you be posting anytime soon about the obnoxious routines of yours that they're actually emulating???!!]

Posted by: val | Jan 3, 2007 5:59:42 PM

Cuuuute. :)

Posted by: Ezzie | Jan 3, 2007 6:03:23 PM

That is very nice. My kids are similar. If I miss giving them a hug/kiss they always let me know.

And when they do not feel well they always ask me to give them a special blessing.

It is a nice feeling to see that you can make them so happy with such little gestures.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 3, 2007 6:37:56 PM

This was adorable! Last night when I took Ann (3.5) to the toilet in the middle of the night (we happened to be up at the same time) and helped her back to bed, she half asleep made sure to say "Tuck in, tuck in!"

Posted by: RaggedyMom | Jan 3, 2007 6:55:42 PM

That is sooo cute. Awww! It's those moments that makes a parent really love being a Parent!

Posted by: jaime | Jan 3, 2007 6:56:23 PM

Precious! My two (3.5 and 6) are active sleepers too, and though I've always given them a kiss before I leave, they've not - to my knowledge - woken up. I think if one of them had asked for his kiss, I'd have broken down in tears of love.


Posted by: Sheyna Galyan | Jan 3, 2007 9:06:55 PM

i nominated you for best middle eastern blog at the 2007 bloggies. i hope you have great luck this year. thanks for the wonderful stories you've written and the community you've built online.

Posted by: no milk | Jan 3, 2007 9:27:46 PM

kind of goes with the whole night terrors thing with Ari, no? Same idea.... she DEFINITELY absorbed "it's okay, it's okay!" no matter how sleepy you thought she was!

Ha! In the end, YOU absorbed it too! ;-)

Posted by: zahava | Jan 3, 2007 10:17:39 PM

Secret eyes: I have three pair of them. Canine. They know every nuance of my movements. They can be out in the yard but they 'know' when I pass from the kitchen to my office with lunch. Gotta get those bites. It is impossible to consume food anywhere on this property without their knowledge. They can hear a celophane krinkle from a mile off. The little one hates my cigars. She likes to hang with me in the office but the minute I reach for a cigar she's out the door. The big one insists that the spot on the couch to my left is his. If I sit down on it ... no matter where he is or what he's doing he crawls up next to me. Woe to the dog that challenges that position. In the truck it's middle sized dog that gets the seat next to me. Big and little take up the jump seat. Routines. Alle ist ordnung.

Posted by: Scott Fleming | Jan 3, 2007 10:48:41 PM

Reminds me of my days, way back when, of being a counselor in a day camp. One of my charges (who's gotta be in his early 20s by now... *shudder*) had a goodbye ritual with his father, where they'd walk to the playground to drop him off and solemnly shake hands goodbye. They would turn, walk about five steps away from each other, and then the boy would shout out "wait! Abba! Kiss!" and they'd run to each other, hug tightly, Abba would give his son a kiss, and only *then* would he come running to the group.

Posted by: efrex | Jan 4, 2007 1:48:57 AM

oy trepp i LOVED this blog...my kids are big kids and one of my kids has kids of his own...but i still take every opportunity to tell them i love them and give them a kiss...and the best part is that the let me...maybe, like your yonah, they expect it and look for it too...what a nice thought...tx

Posted by: marallyn | Jan 4, 2007 8:25:19 AM

I think we can all agree that Yonah is one cute kid. I can take credit for exactly half his genes, but beyond that all the charm, good looks and general sweetness comes from his mom. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jan 4, 2007 4:25:45 PM

This post just gave me chills. Simply wonderful!!

Posted by: JT | Jan 5, 2007 2:12:35 AM

What are you trying to do? Kill me? ;o)

(I have 1 blanket-kicking child left; he is four. I, too, will give him a smooch after re-swaddling)

Good on ya

Posted by: Wrymouth | Jan 5, 2007 5:24:15 AM

Wrymouth, I just got a flashback to when I first brought home my oldest from the hospital. I was so nervous and I just couldn't do the swaddle thing, no matter many times I tried. I remember freaking out because we had to have the a/c on because it was July and in the middle of a heat wave, and she just would kick off those blankets. Each time she kick them off I thought the blankets would flip up or something and get twisted near her head and she would suffocate. For the same reason, I refuse to give her a pacifer (y'know sometimes too much educational info on issues like SYDS, etc can really warp a new parent's reality)because I thought she wouldn't be able to breath through it.

It wasn't until winter did I discover the zip up sleepers that kept them nice and cozy, without the worries of kicking off the blankets. Of course "she" is 7 now, and still kicks off all of her blankets and strips off the pjs as well.

Posted by: jaime | Jan 5, 2007 7:49:33 AM

My father used to do the same thing. It gives the sleeper (me) such a secure, loved feeling. He never knew that I knew he'd give an extra kiss and tuck before he turned in, but of course I knew. Now I do the same thing for my kids, and it makes me happy and wistful and attached on some shimmery gossamer level with my wonderful parents.

Posted by: restlesssleeper | Jan 7, 2007 4:17:53 AM

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