Alright, Buddy, I say. I'll read you one story if you promise to be a big boy and go to sleep or read to yourself after, ok? He agrees, and we read a French book about bathtime, his French already so much better than mine. As we read together, his parents put his baby sister in her crib and sneak away for their night out. The story ends, and tears threaten: I don't want to go to sleep! he protests. But we had a deal, remember? The deal was all of 10 minutes ago, a lifetime to a toddler. I cave. I'll turn off the big light and hang out with you for a while, alright? We lie together on his big-boy bed, lit by the blue night-light. His head on a pillow, mine resting on a pile of his books, my feet dangling over the end of the bed. He is giggly, not quite ready to close his eyes. I am giggly too, having sampled a bit of pumpkin wine* at a friend's before my babysitting duties began. We talk, as only a 3 year-old and a slightly tipsy 34 year-old can. I'm a monster. I'm gonna eat your nose. I'm gonna be a pirate for Halloween. So's my boyfriend. How's school? No, I'm a monster and I'm gonna eat your ear!
Finally, adulthood asserts itself and I get up; time to go to sleep, Monkey. We've been "chatting" for a good 30 minutes.
I blow him a kiss and tiptoe out, spending the rest of my time fighting sleep and poring through the weekend Globe & Mail. The baby sleeps like a log; so does her brother.
I remember evenings with him as a baby, as young as his sister is now. I am enchanted, lulled by what has undoubtedly been a super-easy evening of childcare, but I'm so glad they're in my life. I can't wait for more silly conversations as they grow.
*BTW, it was only a bit of pumpkin wine; I was NOT babysitting drunk. And no, that was not a typo- it was pumpkin wine. Imagine pumpkin pie in a wineglass and you have a pretty good idea. Wow. Yum. No prizes for guessing where it came from...