I have "grown up" as a grandmother (Gakki) with the lovely Miss Eloise, who has always been an easy-to-bedder at night, providing her favorite routine of feed the animals, eat supper, take a bath, play some music and sing with Gakki and Joe, brush teeth, listen to Gakki read a story in bed, was followed. A kiss goodnight and she has always been off to dreamland.
Her brother, the amazing young Luca, at 2.5 years old, is a different story. He is literally full speed ahead until he crashes. He will fall asleep anywhere, but only when he is tired. This makes bedtime an interesting experience when hosting both of the dynamic duo.
Our routine properly followed, we all headed to the small room we call the kid's room to read their bedtime story, that Saturday night. They both loved the story. They both loved the pictures. They both gave me kisses goodnight, and we affirmed our love for each other. Eloise closed her eyes for sleep. Luca did not.
I watched those big blue eyes watching me as I headed for the door, and I had barely passed the threshold when the blue eyes, and the little cherub sporting them, were beside me, wanting me to lie down with him. Luca is not a huge fan of the stuffed, cuddly animals generally appointed the duty of soothing restless children to sleep. Luca prefers the rather large, warm blooded human, uncomfortably scrunched onto the tiny bed...he likes to touch the face and the neck and the hair of his human as he settles in for the night.
Because Eloise was already drifting off to sleep a couple of feet away in her own bed, I did not want to disturb her. I scrunched myself in beside Luca and started singing softly to him. He calmed right down. I sang the same song, over and over again... "sleep my child and peace attend thee, all through the night...". I sang until my eyes were tired and my back was screaming at my uncomfortable choice of positions. I closed my eyes and sang some more.... and then, as I began to fear I would never be able to rise from this ridiculous position, if the child ever did fall asleep, I heard the soft voice, singing my words, gently, a fraction of an instant in delay....
I ventured a quick peek from beneath my almost closed eyes, and the beautiful, intense concentration on my tiny grandson's face, as in the dim glow of the night light he concentrated to mimic my song, amazed and humbled me. My back would recover. My patience would hold. For this teaching moment came unexpectedly, and exactly when the child needed it.
I and my sweet mimic singer sang the song through twice more. Then, as a test, and still watching him through fake-closed eyes, I started to hum the song. And, sure enough, Luca switched to mimic my humming, all the while, his hand flitting across my face, neck and hair. Before we got through the second humming round, the flitting hand slowed and the soft voice wavered, as the boy drifted off to sleep. I managed to extricate myself from the floor level bed, and exit stage left, as my co-star finally succumbed to sleep.
Being a Gakki is truly a learning experience for me. Each child is so unique and has so much to teach me. I am looking forward with much excitement to the birth of my third grandchild, expected to arrive in December. I'm looking forward to learning new and wonderful things from the new grandchild, just as I have from his/her cousins.