[I sit here writing this post while I'm hundreds of miles away at a work conference in Portland, Oregon. This is my first time being apart from Everett for consecutive days at a time and I am missing my little man like crazy. Especially his - and my - nighttime routine.]
Like most households, we have a regular nighttime routine that consists of dinner, bath, book, bottle and bed. And it is my favorite time of the day. Well, that and when I walk into his room in the morning and am greeted by his huge grin and squeals.
My little guy has always loved bath time. Over the past few months the introduction of toys in the tub has become a necessity as he no longer wants to sit down. I’m amazed at how well I can now bathe him with one hand while holding on to him with the other. He is a slippery, squirmy one – exploring the spout, soap holder and undoing the drain stopper – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Once he is out and snuggled up into his hoodie towel, I get him diapered, lotioned and combed while singing Five Little Monkeys and playfully chewing on his feet. His baby comb over makes me weak in the knees.
He watches me intently as I fill up his bottle with warm water – giddy with excitement because he knows what is coming. As I walk with him on my hip back to his room, I must kiss him a thousand times. Give or take.
Once we settle in and he is properly folded into the crook of my arm, I read his favorite book aloud to him. Over exaggerating words and ‘peek-a-boos’, I make sure to stop and watch his reactions when I open up the flaps to uncover words underneath for the hundredth time. With every giggle he gives me, I relax more and more into my role.
He guzzles down his bottle as I hold him as close to me as possible – inhaling his sweet scent and soaking up every minute of our last cuddle session for the day. During these few fleeting moments, I am always flooded with emotions.
“Am I doing a good job?”
“How can I possibly love anything more than him?”
“Can he stay this small forever?”
Those are just a few of the hundreds of thoughts that run through my mind while holding him close in those quiet post-bath cuddles. But every session ends the same. With a kiss, an ‘I love you’ and a promise for another day together.