Our nights are so different than they once were. For starters, I have an hour-long trip from work to home with a pit-stop on the way to pick up my VIP from Ma's house. I get home and play with Shepherd for as long as possible.
I try to nurse him as soon as we get home. Afterward, we go on walks, read, play on his playground and sometimes just hang out together during these two hours. We listen to Rdio; listen to records; sometimes Aaron plays guitar or some other instrument; and sometimes we don't have any music and it's just me singing and Shep cooing.
He and I usually play in his room; I take him out of our living room when Aaron has the TV on, because Shepherd will watch it if he sees a face. Some nights we make dinner with him awake; some nights we wait to eat until he is in bed. Lately, I've been eating dinner after he's asleep.
Shepherd is like me in that his attitude changes like clockwork when he is tired and needs to go to bed. Around 7, Shep will start getting a little whiney and rubbing his face. We stop what we are doing and start to wind down for the night: nursing, jammies, stories, prayers and songs. We do the latter two with Shep in his crib, and he seems to recognize that indeed it's time to rest. He and I both love our routine.
He usually smiles and laughs at us as we put him to bed, and lately he's been rolling on his sides. We kiss him goodnight, turn on his fan and leave him; he's usually asleep in a two minutes (another trait he inherited from
me). Lately, we have to rescue him from himself when he rolls from his back on to his stomach. He gets scared that he can do it and screams until he's returned to his back.
Shepherd will sleep for about nine- to ten-hour stretches usually. He nurses and then falls back asleep for another hour and a half or two hours. If I nurse him right before I lay him down, he has slept until 6 a.m. each time. But then he won't have any of the routine while he's awake. I love full restful nights, but I think I love those few happy hours in the evening more.
I'm thankful for a calm night routine, though it isn't always that way. The most common problem is waiting too long to put him to bed and having a crabby baby who can't be consoled. One thing that instantly calms him, though, is having one of his swaddle blankets to grasp. He is my little Linus with his blanket. He is still refusing a pacifier, so we don't even offer it. He self soothes by sleep-sucking, and it's so funny to watch.
I am often guilty of wandering into his room just to watch his little chest inhale and exhale. I love how he throws his hands over his head and smiles as he sleeps. It's so hard to resist picking him up and holding him, and sometimes I have to do just that. I get "the look" from Aaron, but I have to hold him while I can. He is quickly growing, and I want to treasure each moment.