This post is dedicated to Mama Norma and Papa Connie, who are in Canada and missing their Little C.
It all starts with a 3-foot climb onto the bed. First she has to throw her sippy cup up and any stuffed animals she may be clutching. Then she moves the bedspread aside to find the tiny ledge for her toes. Once she hoists herself up, we choose bedtime books. Her three favorites: Only You; Llama Llama, Red Pajama and My Two Hands/My Two Feet. Then we go kiss Daddy's picture and a few others (this is our Nashville routine). There are serious lip prints on all the framed photos. If we had pics of the entire family, it would take an hour to kiss them all.
Then we gather sippy cup (usually empty, but still imporant), stuffed kitty, stuffed bunny and blanket (and not just any blanket; it has to be the fuzzy one with her name on it) and she climbs onto my lap in the rocker to sing. She instructs me on the songs to sing. It varies from night to night, but here are the regulars: Jesus Loves the Little Children; Jesus Loves Me; Grace (which is actually the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, but grace is the word she remembers); Up to the Mountain (a Patty Griffin tune) and Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Then, here's the newest addition to the routine: I place her in bed on her back, cover her and arrange all her stuffed friends around her, and sing one of the above songs "one more time" while stroking her cheek and forehead. And if I forget the last part, she reminds me. "Cheek!" Finally, she reminds me who we're going to see tomorrow. "See Daddy. See Nana."
I say yes and make my escape. It's a routine that keeps getting longer and more elaborate, but I love it as much as she does.