Since we moved countries less than 5 months ago, my wife my Son and I haven’t travelled together anywhere. Actually both of them didn’t travel at all and I only had a couple of business trips. In many ways that was very good for our family rhythm as it helped us get ourselves and our little boy into a routine that he is used to and comfortable with. And the more we stick to the routine the easier it is every day.
During the past few months, as long as I am not travelling and with the exception of a few nights a month where I have late work calls, I have been the one putting my little one to sleep. the routine starts with just the three of us, including his mom and I saying that it is bed time, then ask if he wants his milk then he replies by asking for it passionately then we say okay then it is time to put your toys in the box. Some days he is happy to do that and other days he needs a bit of encouragement. Once he’s done with toy keeping then he says goodnight mummy and comes with me to his room. He starts drinking and I start chanting some prayers for him. some nights he is gone by the time he finishes his milk and other nights he take a bit (or a lot longer) some nights I pat him down to sleep, especially if he is very close to falling asleep, other times I experiment with saying “good night” and “baba is going to leave now”, I leave the room for a bit till he falls asleep or he calls me back in and I come to re-assure him then leave again.
This weekend we flew on a trip that is mostly work for me and my family accompanied me to visit family. Last night the routine was of course very different as there was a room full of his cousins and grandparents and he was so excited. Add to that is the 5 hour time difference which made 5 hours past his bed time. so it was the “do you want milk?” and then say good night everyone, then we went to the room where he is supposed to sleep (different environment) and he wouldn’t let go off me, he arms held so tight around my neck and he wouldn’t go down to take his bottle even though he was asking for it. Normally I lay him back on his bed and give him the bottle while I stay nearby, this time I held him tight and tried to give him the bottle while carrying him.
He eventually fell asleep but it took a while to put him down and when I did, he still held me so tight. I can’t describe how that felt but there was something about being his source of security and being able to calm him down, promising him that baba is not going to leave until he is asleep and staying as close as possible in response to his tight hold.
I knew I would love being a father but I didn’t know I would love it that much or that it would feel so good.