I Let My Toddler Stay Up Really Late

I've been known to be a spoilsport - at my worst (best?) a mean mom. My kids have a pretty solid bedtime around 8 pm - 7:30 if they're being extra cranky, 7:00 pm in they nap-skip. This routine works well for our family. I know other families who do bedtime at 6:30, as well as families who do bedtime loosely and "whenever they pass out". Luckily, my kids are both pretty solid sleepers and get in between 10 and 12 hours a night. Jealous? Me too. I usually stay up hours after their bedtime so I can work uninterrupted.

Tonight was different. Shep had behaved really well all afternoon (before naptime was quite touch-and-go). My husband said he'd been really well while I was out and about with my friend Stacy, so I took up another friend on their invitation to meet at Shep's favorite park. He asks to go to Wickiup pretty much every day! So when my friend said she'd be heading there in the afternoon, I knew it was a great time to take her up on the offer to hang out while our children literally climbed trees.

After he worked out all his energy, Shep came home and ate dinner peaceably. He was so mature, cooperating with his bedtime routine and getting changed into warm jammies. As a treat (and to keep him out of his father's hair while Stephen worked), I let him crawl into our king size bed with his blanket. We read books together (Super Friends and The Little Red Hen) and said our prayers. I excused myself to grab a drink and when I returned, he patted the bed next to him and said, "Mommy, nap!" "Nap" in Shep-speak means "blanket" and/or "sleep". Once again, he lifted up my comforter, pointed to my pillow, and said, "Mommy, nap!"

How could I resist?

So I crawled into bed with him and he curled up into my arms. We watched an episode of the modern remake of The Magic School Bus. A dear friend who is preparing her little one for a triumphant exit from the NICU was awake, so we recorded some well-wishes for the happy mama and baby. I even squeezed in some tickles and I snagged a recording of his giggles. His tiny voice squeaked, "I wuv oo, mommy." And it took everything in my not to burst into tears of joy.

Someday way too soon my little toddler is going to be a big boy. One day I'll wake up and he will speak in clear words with no squeaking. He'll be too big for cuddles in mommy's bed, for a late-night sleepover party with cartoons and Golden Books. I'll blink and he'll have outgrown his footed jammies and his trusty blanket ("Nap!") will be called a "blanket" and he will decide to shove it in the back of his closet and leave it there forever.

Against my otherwise consistent routine, I let my son stay up really late. Really, really late. Eventually he relaxed into my shoulder and I listened to his breath change. Deeper. Slower. Sweeter. I don't care that I'll pay for this tomorrow. He'll wake up too early and on the wrong side of the bed. But tonight? I let him stay up late before it's too late.



How have you savored the sweetness of your littles while they were still little? What's on your "remember this moment forever" list? @pi3sugarpi3 on Twitter.

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