Nathan's bedtime routine has long since been established, since he was two months old in fact. Pieces of it have changed along the way of course, one being Nathan's desire to take a shower on his own as of late. These showers mostly serve to rinse or cool off; he's not ready to take on shampooing quite yet, but parts of him definitely come out sparkling clean. This child is pretty fastidious without much, if any, prompting from the parental units, at least not this one. Usually less than thirty seconds after he gets into the shower, he is back out again to do his business, flush the toilet, instigating the scalding water which greets him on the other side of the curtain. Being very uncomfortable with unnecessary comings and goings from the slippery tub/shower situation, the boiling water, together with the fact that Nathan informed me that the running water always makes him have to go to the "bafroom"; I divulged a big secret to him, one I was slightly uncomfortable revealing. "Guess what? You are allowed to pee in the shower!" Oh my, you would have thought I had given him the last golden ticket to the chocolate factory!
The mainstays of the routine are the music and the reading. While maybe not entirely practical long term, I wanted him to learn music to be a source of relaxation and comfort. Nathan loves music and those roles for it are but two that fit into his life, and likely would regardless of anything I did or didn't do. The message clearly has been conveyed, because if we are in the car and he asks for a blanket and music--it is a pretty sure sign that he will be snoozing in two minutes or less.
There are evenings, for various reasons, that I look forward to the end of the day. On those days I sometimes limit our reading time to one regular book and one little book--the little books are those delightful board books that you can read in about forty five seconds. Last Wednesday, we chose one such board book. It is one of my all time favorites: Put Me In The Zoo. We settled in and Nathan proceeded to look at the front cover and tell me the the title of the book as he often does. Since he is so interested in words and reading lately, I asked him would he like to read the book to me? Yes, he said he would, and so he did. Yes he did. He was two pages and thirty words in when I interrupted to see if he might like to read the book to Daddy too. Yes, he would, and once Daddy secured a spot on the bed, he proceeded to do just that. Nathan started from the beginning and spoke each word, word for word, as it was written, for almost the entire book.
Shaun is likely as certain that Nathan can read now, as he is that he has a photographic memory (mark his words). How great to be his kid, he believes in them so. I believe in them too, but in this particular case, I know that I have read that story to Nathan for four and a half years. I know he knows the sounds of all of his letters, he recognizes and spells certain words, he is logical, he pays very close attention when he wants to, and I know he is smart. What I don't know, is the mystery of exactly how a child learns to read and when it is so. I suspect there are many paths to that destination, and I am so glad to be along for the ride.