Goodnight, Bird

“Charlie, are you ready for bed? Go night night?”

“noooo!” he tells me in his tiny voice, shaking his head so that his too-long hair flops around his face. “NO nigh nigh!” He furrows his brow at me.

“Charlie…do you want to rock-a-bye?  With Momma and Woof Woof and Blankie? Come rock with Momma?”

“Ah nigh nigh. Ah rock bye.” And he gathers up his puppy and blankie, tucking them snugly under each arm, and trots off to his room.

“Nigh nigh, Dad-do! Nigh nigh Ah-dee!” He calls as he waves.  Sometimes he stops for hugs and kisses. When he does decide to give kisses and hugs, he is very aggressive about it. If Eddie tries to get away without meeting Charlie’s demands for goodnight kisses and hugs, feet begin to stamp and a very small voice gets very, very big. “AH DEE! AH DEE NIGH NIGH!”

As I begin walking down the hallway towards his room, I can hear his little feet trucking after me.

He closes the door himself and finds me waiting for him in the glider. I pick him up and tuck him into the empty spaces against me. If I am not quick enough, he will look up at me and demand, “boat, ma ma. boat.”

And so I start singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat while he pushes his little fingers through the crochet of his blankie.

In the breath after I sing, he quickly mutters, “song,” from behind his Pipey.

This is my cue to begin singing You Are My Sunshine.

Sometimes he gazes up at me while I sing, but mostly he just rests his head in the spot on my chest that has pillowed his head since his first day.

Sometimes he pulls Woof Woof to his face, but mostly he lets his fingers weave in and out of his blankie.

After two songs we rock silently until he sits up and looks at me.

“Do you want to lay in your bed with Glowie?” I ask him.

He nods and mutters, “Yup”.

I scoop him up and hold him close, sniffing his hair and smootching that squishy cheek. I wish I fit in the crib with him so I could soak in his warm smell all night.  It’s so soothing.

But he leans toward his bed and I carefully lay him down on his pillow. He rolls to one side as I turn Glowie on, tuck blankie around him, and find his kitty and baby to lay next to him.

Goodnight, Bird

His face is so close to Glowie’s lit up face that his nose is almost touching the soft light of the glow worm. I stroke his cheek.

“Nigh night, Charlie Bird. I love you so much. Sleep tight and sweet dreams.”

He never utters a word as I leave, and it always appears that he will drift right off to sleep.  Yet less than five minutes later, I can hear him happily chattering with his Woof Woof and kitty and baby and Glowie.  Sometimes I hear him jumping in his bed.  Sometimes I hear him kicking the wall.

He almost never cries out or calls for us.

Eventually he finds a spot and falls asleep.

He is our “good” sleeper. Rarely does he need a buddy or help. Seldom does the throw a fit in protest of bedtime–any bed time be it nap or night time.

There are times I wish he “needed” me more, times I wish he wanted to cuddle and fall asleep on me. There are times I wish he just wanted to sleep in my arms.

Most of the time, though, I am Ok with his easy bedtime routine.

Besides Eddie still needs me to lie next to him at night until he falls asleep, and if I am lucky, he will curl up against me and breathe softly near my face.

Goodnight, Bird

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. My girls (5&2) are the same. The oldest wants me to hold her and never let go. The youngest just needs order and routine. 🙂

  2. Aw, Bird. I love your bedtime routine. He does need you, you know. The rocking and singing. So, so sweet.

  3. So sweet and a great ritual for both of you 🙂
    My son didn’t sleep at all until he was three, so that was rather challenging – but it passed, as everything does…

  4. This is so precious. The words you wrote here will be cherished for so long by him and by you. I may start to cry at the memory of putting my little ones down. Of course K and I STILL sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “You Are My Sunshine” a few nights a week… 🙂

  5. What a sweet boy, and routine. This is the kind of thing I love reading, because I know how much YOU’LL love to read it when the boys are older. It’ll take you right back to that rocking chair.

  6. oh, how sweet, Katie!
    Piper is a good sleeper for the most part, too.
    although I have to say I’m not looking forward to moving her to a big girl bed. she’s not yet climbing out (or trying to), but…I know it could happen at any time… then suddenly growing up seems to go more quickly after that.

  7. That easy bedtime is a gift to both you and him. For the big girls, we trained (I hate using that word, but that’s pretty much what it was) them to be able to fall asleep without us in bed with them. We’ve gone through hiccups here and there, but for the most part they are awesome about it. It helps that they are exhausted at the end of the day.

    Zoe still needs and wants someone to lay with her. I don’t mind because she’s my last baby. And how can I resist when she says, “But there’s no one to hold me!” and then she snuggles perfectly in the crook of my arm, gives me a million kisses, and wraps her arms around my neck.

  8. Such sweetness! i miss the days of rocking chairs and rocking babies. Mine are 7, 10 & 12 now but we still have nightly rituals.

  9. Such a sweet, sweet time. Mine still want me to tuck them in. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

  10. I think the greatest gift I ever gave myself, and my children, is an easy bed time routine.
    And ours involves a lot of singing too. by me mostly. The same songs for the past 9 years for my eldest. It is tiring some nights to do it for all 3 kids, but when I see them go to sleep so peacefully and content; totally worth it.
    one of mine had that glow worm too. slept right up cheek to cheek with it also. must be something about the warm light.