May 24th, 2007
The only light which bathed his face was that of the computer; the lines and shapes were dancing hypnotically to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Nikolai’s eyes locked onto the colors and a calm embraced his face. His little arms embraced me and his cheek rested upon my shoulder as I began to rock.
Gently, we walked to his room and I dressed him in his pajamas: leggings to keep his feet warm and a sweatshirt. He and I then move to the bathroom where we brush his teeth. By now, we hear the voice of Bono — “Sleep…into the night…may all your dreams … be realized…”. Nikolai and I move to the big white chair. I pick up a book — “Hop on Pop”. With my lion heart beside me, I read the story to a dim light emanating from our deck.
When Bonnie Raitt begins to sing “Baby mine”, Niko and I slowly walk to his room. I cradle him in my arms. He looks into my eyes and smiles. I gently lay him in his crib. To the sounds of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, again, this time singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, I gently put my hand on Niko’s chest and tell him that I am always with him — that if he is afraid or alone or lost, he need only shut his eyes, and I will be there. I tell him to have sweet dreams and, as Bono sung to us, that I wish his dreams are realized. Quietly, I leave the room.
Waiting for me is my sweet Dascha. The music is done now, but the lights are still off. We search for pajamas for her to wear. Once a pair has been found that match her day’s fashion sensibilities, she changes. We then walk to the bathroom where she says to me “broo-ushh yoo-urrr tee-at”. Since that is what I always say to her, that is what she says when it is time for her to brush her teeth.
Together we walk to the big white chair lit only by the deck light — the back of the house is glass, you see. Dascha looks at me and says “Cadt in de Hadt”. So I go to the bookshelf and pick up the requested book. She knows the story fairly well now and points out some of the key parts of the story. When we get to the page where the cat is on the ball with the fan in his tail, she points and says “Paapaaa, Nee Cra-see-va — na boo-ti-fal.”
As we near the end of the book, she look into my eyes and says “Papa, sa-dees”. She wants me to sit in her room as she sleeps. I pick her up and carry her to her bed. Nikolai ‘s breathing is soothing and rhythmic. As I place her in the bed, I kiss her cheeks, nose and forehead. She then presents her hands for me to kiss as well. Then she kisses my cheeks, nose, forehead and hands.
I quietly move to the corner of the room and sit. Dascha looks at me in the darkness. She asks to use the toilet, then for water. Then she is back in bed. After a few minutes more she drifts finally to sleep saying as she does: “Ya tib-ya loo-byoo — I luv yoo soo maach”.
I stay a few minutes more until I hear the duo of breathing that tells me my children sleep a peaceful sleep.