“Goodnight moon” is the last book we read before we switch off the light, and has been for the past two months. The book depicts one bedroom – a little bunny’s bedroom, seen from different angles, identifying in separate close-ups (in black and white images) some of the objects in it and goes on saying goodbye to these objects in rhyme. I suspect this may have triggered some memories that made little gosling particularly attached to the book.
When little gosling turned one, I was determined to have him fall asleep without the breast; and for three-four months he did. He would breastfeed in an upright position and I made sure he would not linger on just suckling; only then we switched off the light, I hugged him, patted him gently on his back and said goodbye to all things in our garden, one by one, starting with the sun (“goodnight sun, who left on the other side of the planet”), moon, stars, sky, clouds, wind, trees, all the plants and all the little bugs and animals (bees, butterflies, lizards, mice), kind of what the book does. It worked, until he started going to the nursery and I went back to nursing him to sleep.
He’s grown immediately fond of this book and he finishes my sentences by now. It is our unspoken signal for “now it’s time to sleep”. It only works at nighttime; we have different signals for the afternoon nap :P. It has become a ritual. After his bath, we let him choose 2-3 books that he wants to read, plus the “moon book”, as he calls it. He knows reading it means he has to go to sleep. Sometimes he tries to stall and runs to the book bin to bring additional books; but we start reading the moon book and he gets it. Other times, he just says “read moon book”, even if we haven’t yet read all the selected books, and we know he wants to go to sleep.
Right on the first page, there is a telephone (“tăfon”), one of little gosling’s favourite words right now, so that one always causes a bit of excitement, together with the red balloon. He had a purple balloon (today it finally succumbed under his teeth :))), that he liked pointing to. He lingers on the picture of the cow jumping over the moon, that he recognised from one of his favourite rhymes. For a while he was fascinated by the little toy house and by its illuminated windows.
I have a longer version, which includes describing all the objects in the room, which I do when he’s not that into sleeping yet. And he has a very short version, in which he very quickly leaves through the book, uninterested in reading it, up to the last page. There he stops and hushes us, “shhh!”, the bunny is asleep in his bed, the kittens are asleep in the rocking chair and the lamp is off. He closes the book, gets under covers, asking for “tzitzi” and saying “pa pa, daddy”.