Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Wyatt

Dear Wyatt,

It wasn’t until late last night that I realized my mistake. When you sat up in your crib and cried, I sent your dad back in to your room so that I could get Mia to bed. This means that we read a book, say prayers and listen to music as I lay with her while she drifts off to sleep. This is how it’s always been.

In the great green room

there was a telephone

and a red balloon…

I’m sorry that you and Luke get cheated out of a bedtime routine as intimate as your sister’s.

and a picture of

the cow jumping over the moon…

I’m sorry that our evenings are so chaotic that by the time I think about reading a book you’re both arching your backs in our arms, yearning for the familiar landing of your beds.

And three little bears sitting on chairs

And two little kittens and a pair of mittens…

I’m sorry that the two of you haven’t yet figured out that you’re not the other’s enemy when it comes to my time or my affection or my arms or my lap.

And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush and a quiet old lady who was whispering hush…

Someday you will learn that I have room for you both — that I will make room for you both — but for now the constant friction between you (at least in matters where I’m concerned) makes it difficult to do anything intimate or quiet or routine-like in any way.

Goodnight room.

Good night moon.

Good night cow jumping over the moon.

Perhaps you’ve caught on before Luke, or perhaps Luke just doesn’t care, but about a week ago you figured out that life goes on outside your slumbering room. And so you cried and you didn’t stop until I slipped back in and we read Goodnight Moon by flashlight, Luke’s rhythmic breathing providing a soundtrack in the background.

Good night stars.

Usually a whir of energy and light in all your toddler glory, you were still and quiet, fingering the corner of a blanket as I read.

Good night air.

And then I closed the book, turned off the flashlight and laid you back down. I slipped back out of your room, and the next time I heard your voice it was morning.

Good night noises everywhere.

And so a routine began. You always cry now and I picture you waiting for me, for your story, for your last whispered words before sleep sets in. This is all you want from me. And yet, last night I forgot.

Looking back, your cries were harder and more wrought with frustration than usual, even when your dad went in to try to comfort you. You waited for me, wanted me, watched for me and eventually, you fell asleep.

It was later, after your sister and I had long since completed our bedtime routine and your dad and I watched the Oscars and turned off the TV, that I realized my mistake. I don’t know how I forgot but I did. And so I tiptoed into your room and whispered,

I’m sorry.




8 thoughts on “Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Wyatt

  1. Rebecca Kai Dotlich says:

    If mothers did everything right they would be perfect. And not one mother in this entire world has ever been perfect. But you come close. And you’ll remember from now on, I bet. So it’s a win for Wyatt. 🙂 Goodnight noises … over there.

  2. Thekitchwitch says:

    Love your honesty here. Let’s face it, we can’t do it all, and sometimes one of the kids gets the short end of the stick. But they survive. (although this is coming from a mother who, in the summer, considers a trip to the pool as bathtime).

    • Lara says:

      My dad believes that a dip in the pool is basically the same as a bath, maybe even better, so naturally I too have carried this belief into parenthood. Never thought I’d actually admit that…

  3. Kristen @ Motherese says:

    Oh, my heart. I can’t tell you how close this comes to scenes in my own house, right down to the choice of book.

    When I was pregnant with my second, I wondered if I could ever love another baby as much as I loved my first. And as soon as I met my second son, I knew I could. But that doesn’t make any of these moments where we feel tugged in two any easier. Love expands infinitely, but time never seems to.

    Beautiful post, Lara!

  4. carliedash says:

    This is beautifully written and richly honest. I babysit twin girls, and I know exactly what you mean about how they see each other as enemies competing for your attention. I, too, hope that the girls I watch will get over that feeling. I hope that Wyatt reads this post one day when he is older. It almost brought tears to my eyes, and I know that he will love it.

    • Lara says:

      Where do you live? Can I hire you to be my babysitter? 🙂 Those are some lucky girls (and parents) to have you to watch after them. Thanks for reading!

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