Maddie has been schooling her father this week in the art of negotiation. These negotiating sessions have become part of our nightly culture when it’s time to put Maddie down to sleep.
We’ve had a few tussles, but I have enjoyed the upper hand in two respects. Number one is the fact that when it comes right down to it – the baby wants to go to sleep anyway. Number two is the excessive heat my body generates. As soon Maddie gets picked up, PaPa’s heat is already doing its part to induce drowsiness.
But last night, Maddie switched tactics and left PaPa at a distinct disadvantage. Just like we do every night, Maddie and I were doing a slow shuffle around our darkened house. I watch her very closely during this time, because those giant wide-awake eyes can turn on a dime and slam shut within seconds.
We were just completing our second lap when Maddie looked up at me with her biggest smile. Of course I was powerless, I smiled back, told her how much I loved her and was grinning like a jack-o’-lantern from ear to ear. I tried to shake it off, but I was in too deep. She gurgled a little bit and hit me with that same hypnotic smile. Again, I was putty – stuck in the moment of the gaze and those penetrating eyes.
OK – time to get serious, dig deep and let’s get that baby to sleep. But it didn’t take long to realize that as long as she was enjoying our stroll and giving me that perfect smile – we weren’t going anywhere for a while.
PaPa tried a few tricks of his own – he lightly blew on her – and she actually thought that was funny. Even stroking Maddie’s hair just added to her delight. We had been at it for more than ten minutes now – far past the usual time it takes to settle her down for the night, but I was loving every second of it. I wondered how long she could hold out when I noticed that she was already out cold.
I put her down for the night, but as I went into the other room, I caught myself smiling like a lottery winner with each step. My little girl is far too cute for her own good and it dawns on me every night that with her, we hit the jackpot!