Lucia has made it her job to sing “Twinkle Twinkle” to Greta every time she goes to sleep, two times a day for naptime and then again at bedtime. This means she spends a lot of time hanging out with me while I nurse Greta in our dark bedroom. I always sing to Greta while she nurses: a few renditions of “By and By,” then on to “Great Big Stars,” finishing up with “Rainbow Connection” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” before I begin rocking her to sleep to “Sleep, sleep, sleep sleepyhead…Sleep, sleep, snuggle in your bed…”
Once Greta stops fidgeting and starts getting drowsy, I put her down in her crib. This is Lucia’s cue to grip the top of the crib, hoist herself up so she’s standing on the mattress and looking down at Greta, and sing “Twinkle Twinkle.” When she’s finished, we both say “Shh…shh…” and leave the room.
Except leaving the room is not always easy. Because Lucia must hang out while Greta nurses, she’s taken to bringing a selection of snacks and toys with her into the bedroom, with which she entertains herself on the floor. Sometimes she carries in just a couple of things, like Bibi and paw-paw (yes, she’s still carrying it around) and her doll. Other times she brings in a bucket full of things—a few tiny Play-Doh balls, a handful of seeds, a few strands of beads, a tiny Little People pig. And sometimes I hear her moving about in the living room, gathering, and then I hear the wheels of her toy stroller careening toward the bedroom, and she’ll wheel in a frankly astounding collection of amusements. Sometimes the things she brings in make me pause in my singing to laugh out loud, like when she wheeled in a few of Greta’s teethers, some sticks, a finger puppet, a water bottle, a pantry’s worth of play food, the caps from our contact lens cases, and an empty lunchbox. She never fails to scatter these things all around her, and then she stretches out on Bibi and listens quietly to the songs.
When I transition to the final song, she jumps up and quickly picks up all of her things, returning them, for the most part, to her bucket or stroller. After our “Shh…shh,” she and I together scoop up what we can and slip from the room. It is a funny little sideshow to naptime and bedtime. Tonight at Greta’s bedtime, Lucia brought in no toys, but she was wearing only a diaper and spent the nursing time parading about with a “Bibi dress” and then shivering dramatically and whispering that she was cold. And little Greta just nurses away, her little eyes always somehow closing even when the “Twinkle Twinkle” is off-key.