I sit in a mildly uncomfortable chair with Nathan in my lap and begin to sing to him.
In the beginning, he is all smiles, signing a random word here and there in the lyrics – day, down, pray – and swaying back and forth vigorously. After a few minutes, I ask him for a hug – my attempt to trap him into placing his head on my shoulder – and he obliges me, but pulls away quickly. He has been caught by me before.
Eventually, he succumbs to my advances, but continues to resist sleeping by licking my shoulder, pulling my hair, and pinching my arm hairs. Yet, I am undeterred. I switch my loose clutch to a powerful bear hug meant to trap his arms so he can’t hurt me.
I continue to sing.
You Are My Sunshine…Down in the River to Pray…Little Boxes. Over and over again I sing them. I begin to wish I knew more verses to Sunshine and Boxes.
Eventually, after a few false starts, Nathan’s body becomes limp and his arms dangle by my sides. I stand up and lay him down on a mat, careful not to wake him.
At home, Nathan is easy to get to sleep. Like his sister, he’s always been receptive to naptime and goes down without a fuss – without anything, really. Unlike Sarah Kate, I’ve never sung or rocked him to sleep. At nap or bedtime, he just…sleeps.
But on this day we are at the beach, and he is much more difficult.
I love the beach, in spite of the sand that gets into every nook and cranny and follows us home, causing me to swear a blue streak because it resists the broom. But for all my complaining, I still love that wretched sand because of the way it feels between my toes when I’m lounging in my chair, and I love the crash of the waves and the smell of the sea air that go along with it.
As I wrestled Nathan into nap time last Saturday from my beach chair, I thought about how the beach is like my son. He is a challenge, and we knew that he would be from the start – much like the beach that we regularly load up the truck to go and visit many times throughout the summer. The sand that follows us home is an aggravation, but we know that going in, and we still go.
A little bit of extra sand in the car (and house) is worth it – and so is that extra chromosome.