Goodnight Kittens and Goodnight Mittens

18 11 2009

Like my sister and me before him, my nephew Danyal has a tendency to be painfully shy. When we were children, my sister and I were so shy that it even took us a good half hour to an hour to warm up to our closest family members whenever we would see them. Even my aunt. My aunt who is basically a second mom to me. My aunt whom I saw several times a week, sometimes nearly every day. If that’s not shy, I don’t know what is. You wouldn’t know it if you met either of us today. We’ve managed to work on these issues in adulthood so that we are now passably sociable.

So, when my nephew reached an age where he could interact verbally with other people, I wasn’t exactly shocked that he was rather reticent to actually interact. Even with me, his aunt. I understood where he was coming from though and I didn’t push the issue even though I was dying to hug him and talk with him and play games.

I remember my first visit to North Carolina right after my sister and her family moved there. When I excitedly ran to my nephew for a hug after a long drive, he hid behind my sister’s leg. He stayed there for much of the day. The next day, as I sat on their couch looking through his favorite board book, Goodnight Moon, Danyal slowly crept over from the other side of the couch until he was sitting next to me. And when I asked him if he wanted me to read to him, he nodded his head up and down. If I had any doubt in my mind that I had made some headway, it was soon gone, right about when we got to “Goodnight kittens and goodnight mittens.”

When I flipped the page to say goodnight to the clocks and the socks, Danyal stopped me and pointed to the mittens. “Mittens,” I said. Then he pointed to the kittens, prompting me to say “kittens.” And again he stopped me as I tried to flip the page. We continued that way for some time, and spent many hours that weekend with him pointing to the page and me repeating, “Goodnight kittens and goodnight mittens.” And there you have it, the moment we bonded. To this day, Roger and I will without thinking say “Goodnight kittens and goodnight mittens” whenever we thinking of Danyal.

This past weekend we bought Azita her first copy of Goodnight Moon. Excitement was bursting up through my throat as we got through the first couple pages. Then “Goodnight light and the red balloon.” I’m really getting excited for the payoff now. I just know we’re going to have that moment. The “goodnight kittens, goodnight mittens” moment. Instead I had a little moment of truth. Azita is no Danyal. She’s a rambunctious 10 month old with the attention span of a flea. Instead of mittens and kittens I had baby laying on her belly across my lap, reaching for a dust bunny under the couch. So much for recreating a perfect moment.

One day, hopefully soon, Azita and I will get through the book in one sitting. And the lesson has been learned — when that day comes, it will be a perfect in its own way.




One response

18 11 2009

I read that book to Sophie every night. But it was not until very recently that she would sit still for all of it. Even now she sometimes gets up and runs around halfway through. I look forward to the days when I can REALLY read to her.

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