Here’s the song reference.
Mr. Man has realized that the big upside to having an open sided bed is that he can get up and wander out of his room if he’s so inclined. At nap time yesterday, he again crept up the stairs with his blankies to snuggle up with me on the couch, and proceeded to sleep so deeply that even his sisters’ fairly animated discussion about whose art supply box was whose failed to rouse him.
Last night, at bedtime, I snuggled Baby Guy into his crib, then turned so I could pick up Mr. Man and tuck him into his blankies. Much to my surprise, he was already sitting in his bed, blankies in a pile at his feet. While I was a little sad to see that he no longer wanted to be carried and swung into his bed, I figured that this was another one of those growing up things, and perhaps even one of those differences between boys and girls (Bugaboo and Beanie STILL like to be carried to their beds), so I smoothed his blankets over him, ruffled his hair, kissed him goodnight, and headed upstairs to watch “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” with Beanie.
I had no sooner settled down with Beanie than I heard first the boys’ door, then the family room door open, followed by the sound of the Christmas carols one set of our Christmas tree lights plays. Mr. Man loves lights and switches, and the tree is an endless source of fascination for him, especially since we have strings of lights that change their flash pattern at intervals. Down the stairs I went, and, sure enough, there sat Mr. Man on the big beanbag chair, munching pumpkin seeds from the bowl I’d absent-mindedly left on the desk and staring at the lights. After I smiled and shook my head, I admonished, “Okay, buddy, it’s time to go to sleep now. Put the pumpkin seeds down, swallow what you have in your mouth, and go back to bed, please.”
Still chewing, he wandered back into his room and closed the door. I retrieved the bowl of pumpkin seeds, turned off the tree lights, and locked the family room door behind me, so that the entire house would not be awakened in the wee hours of the morning if Mr. Man awoke bored. I settled back in with Beanie, who was riveted by the introduction to “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” Our whole family loves that one, and everyone but Baby Guy sings along with the Miser Brothers (if you’ve never seen it, you should grab a sandwich and click the link; the video runs about 50 minutes).
This time, Mr. Man came upstairs, without his blankies. Sighing, I told him he could watch the show with us until Daddy and Bugaboo came home from fencing practice, but only if he sat quietly on the couch. He cuddled up between Beanie and I, stuck his thumb in his mouth, and stared wearily at the television for about two minutes. After finding that none of his favorite characters appeared in the movie, he slid off the couch and meandered into the kitchen, looking for something to do or something to eat.
“Uh-uh, Mr. Man — the deal was that you could sit on the couch and watch the movie with us, or you’d have to go back to bed. What’s it going to be, big guy?”
Beanie chimed in, “I think he should go back to bed.” Beanie zealously guards her Monday night hour of “mommy all to herself” time.
“I can’t want watch that movie. I want watch Thomas.”
“Sorry, Mr. Man, no Thomas. It’s past your bedtime. This is a special movie that only comes on near Christmas, so I’ll let you stay up late if you want to watch it, but I’m not putting on a Thomas movie for you.”
“I go bed. I wanna sleep.”
“Okay, buddy. Do you want me to come with you?”
“No, I go bed all by self.” With that, he slowly padded down the stairs.
“Okay, Mr. Man. I love you.”
Those of you who have spent time in a house with a small person who has just been released from the confines of a crib will be utterly unsurprised that this sequence played out four more times over the next twenty minutes. When Manie and Bugaboo came home, they were greeted by a grinning Mr. Man. His grin dimmed a little bit when Daddy also sent him back to his cozy bed, albeit with lots of hugs and kisses and plenty of praise for his big achievement of the day (going pee-pee in the potty — maybe we’re on the road to only having one in diapers!).
After the show ended, we tucked the girls into their beds. They took a cue from Mr. Man’s antics and came back into the living room a few times each, so for about half an hour, Manie and my conversation was punctuated by regular interjections of “Back to bed, Bugaboo/Beanie/Mr.Man!” After we had finished our dinner and Bo and Smudgie had finished theirs, I headed downstairs to let the dogs out. I thought I heard the boys’ door crack open as I passed by, but, seeing no sleepy face, I kept going.
When I came back inside, I definitely heard the door opening, even over the minor thunder of the dogs’ paws on the stairs. When I turned, I saw Mr. Man peering sadly around the edge. “What’s up, sweetheart? It’s almost ten o’clock, and you really should be asleep.”
He stretched his slender arms towards me and whispered, with his lower lip trembling, “Mama carry me?”
You bet, big man. We didn’t hear another peep out of him after that.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the healthy arms of Your little blessings, that wind around our necks, and for their healthy little legs that carry them to us whenever they are exultant, excited, trepidatious, or sad. Thank You for their range of emotions and their constant desire to share their discoveries and their love with us. Please help me remember how frightening change can be for small children, and help me reassure them that even though a piece of furniture has changed, they are still safe and secure under our protection and Yours. Please grant us the grace to teach them to discern which changes are necessary and beneficial and which are simply passing fancies with destructive consequences, Lord, and to welcome the former with joy and the latter with Your wisdom.