Putting Ashwin to bed has been the biggest ordeal of my parenting life. He will play, bite, ask for music, ask for thammi (water), ask to use the toilet and search for other distractions until the batteries on his eyelids run completely dry. It can easily take me an hour to get him asleep. Of course, that's just with me. If someone else is putting him to bed, he falls asleep in five minutes flat. (Do you think everyone is lying to make me feel bad?)
These are all the people who will go to sleep on my tummy before it is Ashwin's turn. There is baby, lion, doggie and pink doll (This is the reason Ashwin is going to hate me when he is a teenager - for giving him a pink doll, calling it that and getting him to like it!). They all have to lie down one on top of the other in a tall pile as in the picture. Then he will ceremoniously throw them off to the floor to make space for himself on my thoppah. All of them that is, except the pink doll which has a wire and a speaker plug which doubles as Ashwin's handsfree to speak to Appa, Chitra Atthai, Bhawna Aunty etc.
Then comes the projection torch. He knows that they work only at night and so when the light is switch off, he would ask for Monkey. It used to be spiderman, but that one broke and I bought another one at the zoo with a monkey, frog and bird images. He gives it to me to turn on, says thank you and projects the image on the ceiling. And the headboard. Outside. Inside again. Repeat with another image.
When we (I) declare that Monkey has to go home and tachi, he asks for big-small (his opposites book). He reads this all the way to the last page and finishes with Left-Right... good boy, good boy! Now he wants January, February.
In between these activities he takes time to recite nursery rhymes and shlokas - who's in a hurry to sleep anyway! "One two buckle shoe" is his current favourite. My favourite is when he recites "Chubby cheeks" as "chuchy beeshs". He can almost entirely by himself recite "Gajananam" as well as "Saraswathy Namasthumbyam"
When he is finally tired, he asks me to open the door (put my arm on the bed) and climbs on top. Then I have to close the door and do "Ippudi ippudi" (pat his back). When he has had enough of patting, he will open the door again and fall on to the bed.
On most nights, by this time, I am fast asleep. I can only believe that Ashwin falls asleep soon after. At least he lets me sleep!
Dear God, I hope I can read this post back in a month and wonder if my now blissful sleeper actually put me through all that or was it a figment of my imagination. Are you hearing me? Are you reading my blog?