My boys rarely go to sleep without taking with them their latest toy obsession – whichever one they hold dear to their heart at the moment, and is small enough to fit in their hands or next to them in bed. My just-turned-four-year-old does it more than his brothers though. Once, I went to check on him and I found so many trinkets and toys that he could barely fit on the bed! It’s funny now that I think of it, but at the time it was not. What if I’m raising a hoarder?!?
As you can imagine, it can be very distracting for a four-year-old to have toys in bed when he’s supposed to be actually going to sleep. On those nights when he’s especially distracted and I have to remind him two, three, four and five times again and again that it’s bed time, I usually end with the biggest threat in my arsenal of Angry Mom Threats: “Go to sleep or the toys are going on Time Out.” He then finally, and reluctantly, tucks them safely under his pillow and closes his eyes shut, really really tight. After a few seconds, he peeks his eyes open to check if I’m still there, then smiles and quickly shuts them again when he realizes I’m standing there, arms crossed, with my Angry Mom Look.
Sometimes, when he wakes up the next morning, he forgets what he’s done with his precious treasure, and he’ll whine in the way only toddlers do although he’s technically not a toddler anymore, until I ask, “Did you check under your pillow yet?” He scurries back to his room and proudly yells out, “I found it!”
And then, there are moments like tonight, when I’m exhausted from cleaning all day, and still the house is a mess. When I’ve evicted them from my room because they thought they could camp out in my bed since Daddy’s out of town, and quite frankly, I would like to have some “me” time before the little one wakes up to nurse, again. And, as I sit up on my bed and get comfortable, I lift up my pillow and there it is.
I smile. Yes, all four are sleeping, which is probably why the moment is particularly heart-warming. Otherwise, I’d be asking him to please put his toys away where they belong, which happens to not be my bed. But, still. I smile. In a split second, these precious little Lego persons complete with menacing weapons, remind me of the special little things that make him him. And that my little treasures are quickly growing. I can already picture him waking me up in the morning, asking me, “Mami, can you move? I need to look under your pillow.”
I suppose one day he’ll outgrow this magical age, of superheroes and bad guys and there will no longer be toys hidden under his pillow. Perhaps, one day I’ll instead find the latest book he’s reading. Or the picture of the pretty girl he likes. Or drugs. Okay, this heart-warming moment is quickly taking a turn for the worse, so let me wrap it up.
Fellow mamas in the daily grind, I hate to be cliché, but like they say, The days are long, and the years are short. So, lift up that post-bedtime-routine glass of wine I know you’re drinking and here’s to treasuring the little things and finding joy in the journey. Here’s to finding Legos under the pillow and not uncontrolled substances. Salud!