Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brainy Baby in the Big Bed

For the last couple of nights (likely because teething discomfort has him waking every couple of hours overnight lately), Michael has been losing steam around the time we usually start getting Abby ready for bed.

Ever since we've had a routine, to speak of, for the two of them, we've always put Abby down first, since she gets her bedtime stories read to her in the room that Michael sleeps in. He is, of course, in the room that was supposed to be Abby's, but she's still in the nursery because she's very attached to the crib. Had things gone the way we originally planned them to, Abby would have transitioned to a toddler bed by the time Michael was ready for the crib, but not only was Abby not ready for change at the time that Michael outgrew his bassinet, he was still waking so frequently throughout the night that we weren't ready to move him from our bedroom.

A mini-crib was therefore purchased for Michael, which started off in our room and was moved upstairs to "the room reserved for Abby, someday" once he started waking only once or twice a night. And so the situation remains, until Tom and I find the energy, or are forced by circumstance, to switch things up again.

Long story short, Michael's need to go down to sleep before Abby got her stories read complicated things a bit. I expected, and got, a bit of resistance from her when it was time to start story time and she was unable to follow the usual procedure of going upstairs to Michael's room. To appease her, I offered Abby "the big bed" in our room. She gleefully complied.

And so it was- last night we started what will surely become a new tradition. Mommy and Daddy in the big bed, with Abby squeezed in-between (and under the covers- that's a must) for a bit of reading before bedtime.

Our current rotation of books consists of Big Sister Now, by Annette Sheldon, and The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton. Whenever we introduce a new book, we start off reading it to Abby, but- with her uncanny talent for memorization- she is able to take over after just a few read-throughs. Last night, she "read" the latter, but mostly let her father take over for the former.

Tonight, however, she tackled Big Sister Now all by herself. And gave a near-perfect reading. Now, I've known for awhile that she can do this. She's memorized every Madeline book that she owns. But somehow, it seemed less impressive when there was a rhyme-scheme involved. After all, rhyming is a useful tool for memorization. Also, I only saw evidence of it here and there, as Tom is usually the one who does the bedtime stories.

Even Tom was impressed this time, because usually he reads through the book once first, and Abby "reads" it again immediately afterwards. Not so tonight. She picked it up and read it straight through without a refresher. And I was there through the whole thing. I heard the special little voice that she uses when she reads: more baby-like, and slightly unsure, as though she knows that she's giving a performance of sorts, and is a tad nervous. I watched as she repeated a line here or there when she got stuck on where to go next. It's interesting to me that her diction, which is usually so incredibly clear for her age, becomes just a bit more muddled as she recites. But, to be fair, she's pulling up quite a bit of information right out of her memory. That's got to take some precedence, for her, over focusing on enunciation.

It was incredible to witness, and not for the first time, I wished I had a video camera handy. Because this book was many pages long, and contained quite a bit of dialogue, with no rhyme whatsoever. But she dictated it all, and smiled proudly up at us when she was done.

And me? I can't even remember phone numbers anymore...


Tomorrow is the first day of Lent, and I still haven't decided on what I'm going to do for it. My life has become such a struggle for survival these days that the idea of giving up something on top of everything else I'm dealing with (like my beloved chocolate, which is my usual sacrifice) seems impossible to comprehend.

Maybe I'll give up sleep, instead. If this teethe-ageddon keeps up much longer, I'll be forced to, anyway.