I have been really wanting to mark the transition into longer days (and the knowledge that out there, in a number of days is summer, delicious summer). I read somewhere about getting your kids ready for bed–teeth brushed, pajamas on–and then taking them out for a walk before putting them into bed.
Tonight, I tried just that. I asked E if he wanted to go for a walk after we’d eaten dinner and he perked up.
“Outside?” he queried, looking between me and the door.
I attempted explaining that we were going once I’d brushed his teeth and put him in his pajamas. Why? Why did I attempt? He launched into a litany of “outsideoutsideoutsideoutside” while I managed to hustle him through teeth, a diaper change, stuff him into his monster pajamas and shoes and carry him down the steps.
I was surprised that it wasn’t chilly, as I’d put him in his coat thinking he would be cold. With his hand clutching mine, we left the gate and made our way around the block, stopping to return a CD at the library, to talk to the woman walking a pair of Shih Tzus, to chase those same Shih Tzus for a few paces (despite being about a block behind), and to notice the spring flowers pushing up into the evening light.
“Did you like our walk?” I asked him as we walked the final stretch of block before returning to our gate. Whenever I ask him anything, I have no expectation of what he will say in response; thus, his replies are sources of eternal delight and more than a million giggles (his and mine).
I could get quite used to these after dinner walkabouts, that moment where we can unwind the day and make the transition to bedtime. Something about the outside, too, and the way nature can sprinkle sleepy dust over a boy, leaving him overly ready to drift right off to sleep once he’s heard his story and had his last snuggle for the night.
When I went back outside after I’d put him to bed, it was raining. I like to think we got that 20 minute respite between the day’s showers to have our moment. Monday evening magic, certainly.