Over the past week or so The Amazing Omnivorous Child has had trouble going to sleep. On a night that was particularly bad (he was awake when Nick got home and we all stayed up till 1am) I discovered what the problem was. He wasn't getting enough attention and when I put him to bed he was lonely and scared. So I started reading to him and making sure that I did something with him just before bedtime. Last night we re-worked a sweater into a pair of boots. Tonight we made hot cocoa, with a candy cane and whipped cream; then we made a ramp out of books and drove his truck all over the counter.
I remember something my mom said once. My sister and I were about six and seven, and were attending a private school. We were the first to be picked up and the last to be dropped off; school started around 8:00am and we lived outside of town. We had to be awake at 6:00am to make the bus and generally got home around 4:00 or 4:30. My mom said that we'd almost knock her over like ninepins when we got home. She'd be trying to cook dinner, and she was pregnant. Sore, tired and stressed with worry about whether Dad would be shipped out to Iraq, the last thing she needed was two squirrelly girls climbing on her. But she noticed that if she would stop whatever she was doing and give us about half an hour to just talk to her then we'd leave her alone till dinner time. All we wanted was to be noticed. To be reassured of her love.
The Incredible Flying Child has been teething for the past two months, and for every complaint I nurse him. His mouth hurts, his ears hurt, his bottom hurts, he's tired and can't sleep; sometimes he nurses every half hour. As it's kind of hard to do anything when nursing an infant, The Amazing Omnivorous Child very often gets told to "hang on a minute." I can understand why he won't go to sleep. I don't consider myself a bad mother, but I do have to remind myself to stop for him because certain things just aren't evident to two-year-old.
And having written that, I'm struck by how cliched my next thought sounds. Take time out of your day to tell someone you love them. Especially those to whom it should be the most obvious. I know that I don't say "I love you" enough to my husband and children because it is so apparent to me that I do. I'm also realizing that this is a message I hear a lot around this time of year. It's the time Jesus came, because he loves us, so love one another.
However sappy the message can sound, it is true. Stop and love someone. Take time out to show them you care.
One of my favorite things to do (and I dream of doing this when we have money) is to treat my friends to a cup of coffee, or tea. A properly brewed hot drink is a work of art; it takes time and attention, much like a child. As we head into winter, and the Christmas Season, hot cocoa becomes a popular hot drink. And there is nothing so special as standing at the stove and stirring cocoa mix into the milk with your loved one. The Amazing Omnivorous Child can tell you that.
I almost forgot:
1tsp baking cocoa
pinch of salt
8oz scalded milk
The milk is the hard part. If you let it boil it will develop a skin on the top. The key is to heat it up slowly and stir it constantly; when you can feel it sticking to the bottom of the pan it's ready. I like to mix the cocoa, sugar and salt in at the beginning. I also make the cocoa mix ahead of time and keep it in a small tin.
Candy canes, cinnamon, whipped cream, etc. can all be added at any point.