Bedtime with my children is one of the sweetest parts of my day. Nearly every night for the past five and a half years, I crawl into bed next to my baby and cuddle, (nurse), and sing them to sleep. At the foundation, four years were spent just with Lake alone, so the two of us have a solidly established routine. With the advent of Lady Kitty nearly two years ago, our party has joyfully expanded to include her as well. Lake sleeps in the bunk bed above Lady Kitty so as I lie next to Lady Kitty breastfeeding, Lake and I chat about the day and all important things, great or small. We have a relaxing visit and a good giggle. Then just as, or before, our merriment escalates to rowdiness, I wave my magic lullaby wand, and after a few songs Lake goes out like a lightbulb. Lake finds tireless enjoyment from the same set of soporific family favorites.

The past few weeks this precious bedtime ritual has been complicated by my inability to sing Lake his traditional lullabies. Thankfully I’m not sick, and my voice is still as strong as ever. It’s actually that, any time I begin to sing throughout the day, but most disruptively at bedtime, Lady Kitty has started mounting a sudden and insistent resistance. She immediately interrupts me with her emphatic uh uh’s and if that doesn’t work, she moves quickly to no! no! no! protestations leading to flat out upset crying making it all but impossible to eek out anything more than a halting Twinkle Twinkle if we were lucky. Lake and I were dumbfounded, and our inquiries to Lady Kitty revealed no further insights. Lake was frusterated but resigned, and if we really stopped to consider our predicament – which we did as we had plenty of time for contemplation without the singing- we could see the comical side.

After weeks of this—Lady Kitty picketing my bedtime singing and Lake lobbying for his songs —I finally stumbled upon a song that Lady Kitty approves of. It turns out she is delighted if I sing the Happy Birthday song, and only the Happy Birthday song! In a dramatic and welcome departure from her general singing boycott, she giggles and laughs each time I sing a round of the Happy Birthday song!

But only it it’s sung for her. Of course, Lake urgently wants me to sing the song him instead, but Lady Kitty won’t stand for that. Now, both my kids are clambering for Happy Birthday to be sung to them each night, and meanwhile, it is ironically my birthday week. However, we are happy (Lake begrudgingly so) to sing Happy Birthday over and over to Lady Kitty if it means we can all enjoy a song together as we drift off to sleep. So, on this eve of my birthday, I’m feeling particularly blessed by the richness and the quirks of life as a mother. A perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you!

I’m delighted to share three new photos taken late October at Washington Park Arboretum to commemorate this 44th birthday. 📸Jason Gerend.

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