The Fantasy of Good Night Moon

Parents love Goodnight Moon. I think a lot of people of my generation (and many before me) remember it as a first book, and it's one of the first things we read to our own babies. I read it to Laurel almost every night when she was 2 or 3 months old. She would sit propped up in my lap and really looked like she was paying attention. Then she started to wave her arms at the pages, and eventually learned to turn them. Now she has tons of books and when she's playing by herself, she often pulls her favorites off the shelf. She's pretty good at turning the pages all by herself!

We're getting used to this crazy new schedule we have. In addition to me starting work this week, M also started graduate school, and has class at night once a week. Normally he is the one to read to Laurel and rock her to sleep. Tonight, after her bath, she crawled to the top of the stairs and stood up next to the gate and called for her daddy. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen. Luckily Laurel is pretty adaptable and let me read to her tonight. I picked Good Night Moon because so much in our lives is new and changing and uncertain.

While I was reading it, I realized that I love not just the calming patterns of the rhymes and the illustrations that grow slowly darker as the book goes on. I love the idea of an old lady whispering hush. It rings of days gone by when middle class folk like myself could afford Help. Someone to rock down the baby in the evening while parents had cocktails and played cards with friends. (Or hell, maybe just did a load of laundry. Or ate something more than bread and cheese for dinner.) I was reading a Sue Barton book at my mom's house the other day and Sue had a live-in cook/nanny kind of lady who loved her children and sometimes brought her breakfast in bed.

Now I know way-back-when was not really like that for everyone because my grandmother raised five kids born in rapid succession without much help, as far as I know. Maybe she read Good Night Moon with a similar longing for an old lady whispering hush.

This week the topic of night weaning has come up with my mama friends. Laurel wins in the category of Most Night Awakenings (for nine months straight - way to go Laurel), but all of them battle this in one way or another. It depresses me that many children do not sleep through the night until 15 months, or later and this is totally normal!

Anyway, she's sleeping peacefully right now, after a very long day filled with lots of excitement and friends at daycare, and then a walk in Frick Park and some romping with Kai. Maybe tonight my Good Night Moon fantasy will come true and we will all sleep soundly until morning.


Anonymous said...

Maybe when I retire, I could come and be your Help. I'm not sure how old you have to be to qualify as the old lady, but I suspect I'm getting close. Aunt Mary

Anonymous said...

A comb and a brussssh,
And a bowl full of musssh,
And a quiet old Aunt Mary Belle whispering husssh.

What memories.

Heather said...

But what's the deal with the "goodnight nobody" part? This is a nightly favorite in our house too, but I'm always tempted to skip that page because I don't get it and it seems a little creepy. Am I missing something?