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From the time he was small enough to hold with one arm, the Boo’s bedtime routine has consisted of three stages: Reading, singing and kisses. But lately, the kisses have taken over.

In the beginning, of course, he could not return our kisses. Later, maybe around the time he turned two, he started trying to kiss us. He would approach us with his mouth frog-wide-open, smear us with toddler spit, and look very pleased with himself.

At some point, I decided one kiss on his forehead was not enough, and started kissing his cheeks. He began asking me to kiss his nose, chin, ears, and eyes, and I was happy to comply.  Then one night he decided I should have kisses, too.

He gave me kisses everywhere I had kissed him. And now he has teeth, and an overbite, and doesn’t always pucker up, so I brace myself for gentle collisions. Sometimes, he uses my nose as a handle to get to the part of my face he wants to kiss. It hurts, but it always makes me smile because of how practical and serious he is about it. 

Then one night he declared he was out of kisses. But he knew how to get more, he said. He just needed a special key, which he used to open a spot on his chest. Then he put in more kisses, and more and more. Then he retrieved the key, locked the kisses in, and delivered them. 

This is all very charming, and one of my favorite parts of the day, but it takes a long time. So I’ve started cutting back on books and songs on days when I’m feeling super tired or just done with kid time. He doesn’t seem to notice — he’s too busy stocking up on kisses. 

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The Boo was over a year old when he decided he liked being sung to at bedtime. This did wonders for my self-esteem, what with me being a teenage opera major and all. The songs he likes, however, are far from the repertoire I studied in college.

Here’s the current lineup:

Port Side Pirates, a gem we found to explain what pirates are.

Downtown, yes, the Petula Clark tune. I don’t know all the words, I just fudge my away through a verse and chorus, twice. He also likes me to play it on the piano, and it’s one of my favorites to from a vocal perspective.

Our House, the Madness song from the 80s because yes I am that old. I started singing it on the way home one day and he liked it so much I showed him the video and put it into heavy rotation.

The Thomas And Friends theme song. I won’t inflict a link on you, although as kids’ songs go it is fairly tolerable and interesting to sing.

Last but far from least, Don’t You Worry About a Thing, which I randomly sang in the grocery store one day.

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