b Papa Dog's Blog: The Parting Glass

Papa Dog's Blog

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Parting Glass

Every month or two, some little thing changes in Baby Dog’s maturation and cognitive development and we find ourselves with a whole new bedtime routine. We went through swaddling and shhhhhing and rocking and modified shushing and desperate acts of whistling and singing and probably a bunch of other phases that I’ve forgotten. Sometime in the last few months, she ceased to be content to be sung to sleep in the rocker, squirming about in my arms rather than lying happily still and attentive as she had been in the past. That’s when I started using the stroller to put her to sleep, strapping her into what she soon learned to call her “night-night chair” and singing her selections from the John Prine songbook until she fell asleep. Usually it would take four songs. In the last few weeks that phase has passed and now she’s almost going to sleep like a big girl. We set her down in the crib and kiss her good night and she goes to sleep. Astoundingly easy.

Nonetheless, a little ritual (admittedly regressive) embellishment has sprung up in that time. Most nights, she’s content to lie down and go to sleep after her bath. If for some reason, though, she’s not willing to settle easily, if she cries or keeps on chattering for an excessive length of time, I’ll go in, set her on my knee, and sing her one single song. It’s always The Parting Glass, the best “good night” song* I know – and always just the first two verses, because they were the only ones I knew when I was a kid. I don’t know why, but Baby Dog is suddenly content again to sit on my knee and listen and be lulled. By the time I’m finished those two short verses, it’s like she’s in a trance. I lift her up in my arms, and kiss her good night and set her down in her crib. No matter how rambunctious and active she was before I picked her up, she then stretches out quietly and closes her eyes as I lay the blanket over her legs. I don’t know if it’s just a fluke that this has happened the same way several times or if it’s the new paradigm, but it’s the kindest, gentlest, sweetest good night routine we’ve developed together yet, and I’ll cherish it until the next step comes along.
*Actually, it's more of a goodbye song, but “good night” is explicit in the text. Also it's a splendid drinking song. Not mutually exclusive with either “goodbye” or “good night.”


Anonymous huskita said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Mama Dog Duvalier said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, how sweet! Baby Dog is lucky to have Papa Dog as her daddy!

9:31 AM  

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