Here’s the song reference.
While I was cooking breakfast yesterday morning, Manie went downstairs to spring the boys from their cribs. We’ve known for some time that Mr. Man is able to climb out of his when he’s so inclined, because morning’s light (as well as post-afternoon-nap’s light) often reveals an assortment of toys and books in his crib that he could not have procured without an escape. Because of this, we’ve been saying to each other for a couple of months that we really need to get around to converting his crib into a big-guy bed. However, out of consideration for Baby Guy, with whom Mr. Man shares a room, we kept coming up with excellent reasons to let our elder son sleep in a crib for just a little while longer.
I could hear Manie’s laugh and his attempted admonition over the crackling of the bacon in the big skillet, and wondered what mischief has been wrought on this particular Sabbath morning. A few minutes later, as I was scooping the last omelet onto its waiting plate, Manie and the boys arrived in the kitchen, Manie still grinning broadly as he informed me that Mr. Man was now the proud owner of a big-guy bed. You see, among Mr. Man’s many talents is an uncanny ability to loosen and remove almost any bolt or screw without the assistance of what adults recognize as tools. He is also a master at hiding whatever fastener he’s removed in such a manner as to render it invisible to adult eyes, and he had done exactly that with one of the bolts that attached the outer side of his crib. Bowing to necessity, Manie good-humoredly converted the crib, and we had a good laugh over having our hand forced to do something we should have done months ago.
Around noon, Manie and Bugaboo decamped to meet Nonno and Deedaw for Mass, while Beanie, Mr. Man, Baby Guy and I had lunch before the boys’ nap time. Saturday had been such a busy and tiring day that I was hoping to sneak in a bit of shut-eye myself, so, before I escorted the boys downstairs, I tossed my pillow onto the living room couch and advised a happy Beanie that she was welcome to curl up thither with me to watch the football pre-game show and snooze.
Balancing Baby Guy on my hip, I escorted Mr. Man downstairs to tuck him in for his very first nap in his big-boy bed. Baby Guy was feeling playful, and, as I complimented Mr. Man on being such a big fellow that he could now get into and out of his own bed without mortal peril, the little guy bounced up and down on his own bed, chortling gleefully and pointing at the now-open side of his big brother’s bed. Mr. Man did not share Baby Guy’s enthusiasm for the change. “Mama fix my bed? Mama, bed is broken.”
“No, Mr. Man, it’s not broken. It was broken, but that’s because we tried to keep you in a baby crib for too long. Now it’s fixed, Daddy fixed it so that you would have a big kid bed like Beanie and Bugaboo, because you are a big boy now. Remember the Elmo story? This is a big boy bed. I promise it’s not broken.”
I tucked his blankies around him and reminded him that it being nap time, I expected him to stay in the bed, and cautioned him against bothering Baby Guy while he was trying to get to sleep. Then I kissed both boys, closed their door gently behind me, and locked every single door in the downstairs that bears a locking mechanism. Manie had put up our Christmas tree before he left, and it occurred to me that a flavor of mayhem I would not like would be Mr. Man and Smudgie playing with the Christmas tree while I was napping.
Beanie and I settled into a cozy pile on the couch.
It took about 15 minutes for Mr. Man to come upstairs. “Mama, please fix my bed!”
“Buddy, I swear it’s not broken. You can still sleep in it. I’ll tell you what. It sounds like Baby Guy is sleeping, and we don’t want to wake him, so why don’t you bring your blankies and pillow up here and you can do real big-guy nap time in the living room with Mommy and Beanie.”
“I go get blankies.” Down the stairs he trooped, returning a few minutes later with his blankies and his penguin pillow.
“Okay, honey. You can either snuggle up on the loveseat or on the floor next to the couch.”
“No, I want snuggle Mama.”
“Okay, we can try that, but I’m not sure there’s enough room.” Beanie’s wary-eyed eyed popped up from the other end of the couch. “It’s okay, Beanie, he’ll be up on this end.” Mr. Man made a determined effort to shoehorn his pillow, his blankies, and himself into the little space by my chest and belly before realizing that he was not only to big for a crib, but he was also too tall to fit into that little hollow any longer, and that Beanie was occupying the “Mommy nest” behind my legs. Somewhat disconsolate, he placed his pillow on the floor next to the couch and held his blankies out to me.
“Mama tuckit me please?”
“Okay, sweetie. You lay down, put your head on your pillow, and I’ll tuckit you.” I covered him with his blankies, ruffled his hair, and tried to close my eyes.
“Mr. Man, please get out of the toy bin.” I may be hearing impaired, but I’m not completely deaf, and I did not need to open my eyes to hear the rattling right beside my head. The sequence of covering Mr. Man with his blankets, closing my eyes, then explaining the difference between nap time and play time played out about half a dozen more times over the following half an hour.
Finally I said, “Okay, big guy. You lay down, and I’ll hold your hand until you fall asleep.” Beanie was already softly snoring at the other end of the couch. I reached my arm down and felt Mr. Man’s little hand wrap around my index finger. A few minutes later, his grip loosened, and I peered over the edge of the couch to find him peacefully sleeping in a pile of blankies and pillows.
After about a twenty-minute nap, I carefully extricated myself from the sleeping pile, which had since been joined by one very large dog, quietly retrieved the camera, and captured the moment before tiptoeing around the house to take care of a few chores that wouldn’t make a great deal of noise. Naturally, the phone rang about an hour later, which roused the Beanie and caused Mr. Man to stir just long enough to steal my pillow from the couch and add it to his nest. He finally awoke — disoriented — about two hours after that.
I am delighted to report that, as of this writing, Mr. Man has slept the entire night through in his new bed.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the priceless gift of watching Your blessings grow. Please grant us the grace of recognizing that they are growing up, and the wisdom to allow them to do it. Even as we teach them those things that will increase both their knowledge and their wisdom, Lord, please bless their hearts with the sure knowledge that if they reach out for a hand to hold, ours will be there for them as Yours ever is for all of us.