Every morning for the last year, Benjamin has asked for “Warm Chocolate Milk, not hot, Warm.” He is very specific about what he wants. And every time I hand him a sippy cup with milk that has been warmed to the specific temperature requested, he thanks me, takes a sip and says, “Mmmm, Perfect!” It is so sweet. I love these little rituals that he has created all by himself.

Lately, if I’m working with the baby, the task of making a “Warm Chocolate Milk, not hot, Warm” for Ben falls on my husband. He’ll ask in all seriousness if Ben would like that with ice cubes, or with a slice of pizza in it, or with green beans, or shredded cheese. Whatever pops into his head, and Ben will flip out just a little bit, thinking that Daddy is going to destroy his perfect drink.

Then Scott brings in the drink – made to perfection, just like Ben likes it – and Ben will ask again what he put in it this time. This has become a new tradition no matter who is serving his drink – we all play along. This morning it was my turn, I answered, “Broccoli and Bean Sprouts.” He took the first sip, replied, “Mmmm, Perfect. Maybe that was the right thing to do.” This is now what he says every time.

He is such a creature of habit – and apparently, so are the rest of us. We like knowing what to expect, and what is expected of us.

We just wish we could get the baby on board with all this keeping of habits. I thought we were there. For the last two nights, I’ve put him in his crib, and he’s just grabbed his Wuuby and snuggled in and gone to sleep. Voila! So easy. It’s been months of working up to this, and having to rock him and walk him and let him cry a little, until he realized that sleep is not the enemy – but a good thing. Two whole nights in a row – and each time, the next morning, he slept in past 5:30 – once until 6:30 a.m. – I thought I was on vacation, and this morning until 7:00 a.m. I don’t think I’ve been so rested in years.

Then tonight, he’s forgotten how to sleep, and he’s up and down, and fussy and squirmy, wants to be picked up, then does the Octopus Arms pushing against me until I set him down again, and then he cries to be picked up. How do you put an Octopus to bed?

It is comforting to think that at some point, we will ease into a routine, even for bedtime, and lullabies will sound, and Wuubys will be snuggled and we will all settle in for a long winter’s sleep.

Photo from here.

(Still working on transporting my old writings over to this new blog. This was originally written on Sep 6th, 2008)

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