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I scoot to the side so that she can get by me, only to have her stop right at my feet and pat my thigh with her sweet little hand. I look down at her, and she looks up at me, raising her arms so that I might pick her up.
"Oh, I get to have a hug?! You little sweetie," and I scoop up my youngest granddaughter ("Bird"), who is sixteen months old.
The adults are gathered around my dining room table, in a the midst of a big discussion that has nothing to do with little Bird. She had been playing with toys to the side, but then had come to find me.
"What do you want, sweetie? What are you trying to tell me?" I ask.
She leans her head to one side, and waves at the adults at the table.
"Oh! It is time for your nap, isn't it? Did you want me to put you to bed?," I interpret.
Bird gives me a tired smile. Yes, I am right!
This little one amazes me. When it comes to sleep, she knows what she needs.
We wave goodbye to everyone and I carry her up the stairs to her porta crib, her bed at our house, and move through the nap routine, all the while narrating -
"Here's your bedroom,
here is the fan - let's turn this on,
let's close the shades so that you will have a nice dark room for sleeping,
let's turn on your sound machine, and
here's your sleep sack, let's zip it up,
there are your bedtime buddies -
it's elephant and fish and your animal book, too.
Here you go, sweetie."
Then I hold her close and she holds me, too, and I gently sway and sing, "go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep little one." I lay her down with one last kiss on the forehead, and Bird makes not a peep, just gives me a sweet soft smile.
I am out the door, closing it gently behind me. Back downstairs, I look through the monitor and I see her looking at her animal board book for a minute or two, and then she puts it down and slips off to sleep. So precious.
I shake my head in amazement. How often have I overextended my awake hours, ignoring the pleas from my body and mind?
I have lots to learn from her.