That prams and art are not mutually exclusive.

The bedtime recital

I hear chatting on the baby monitor. I dry my hands on the tea towel and begin the climb up the stairs. I step lightly on each tread, but still it creaks and moans beneath me and I know the boys will hear my approach. They’ve not long been in bed, so I know they won’t be asleep.

Halfway up I realise it is Boy 3 – now 16 months – chatting away, reciting the day’s words over and over, his mind like a treasure box he simply does not want to close.

Da-DAA. Da-DAA”. He turns each word over and over, admiring its curves, its sharp edges, each syllable a bead in a string. Soon he will have enough syllables to string a whole sentence, and within a year a full treasure chest of words and phrases.

As I approach the first floor landing I hear another voice from the next room. Boy 1 is offering new words for his baby brother to repeat. From their beds, beneath their doonas covered in cars and farm animals, through the lath plaster walls and closed doors, they reach out to each other.

“Hello …”




I tiptoe to my office to try to get it all down. By the time I reach this sentence, they are both fast asleep and my dishwater has turned cool.

Have your children done this too: the bedtime talk-fest? All of my boys – in times of rapid language development – have habitually spent the good part of an hour, after being tucked into bed, just repeating the same words over and over, before slipping into sleep.

14 Responses to “The bedtime recital”

  1. Shelley

    Oh that’s such a beautiful moment, you took me right up the stairs with you then. I am trying so much more to be aware of these times and treasure them in my memory file. Recently Miss A has started to take a keen interest in her dolls, and I can’t help but watch and adore her as she ‘mothers’ them in her own special way. x

  2. Felicity

    Oh how I love this post – thank you so much for sharing this little snippet of heaven tonight.
    You have written this so beautifully and I hope your little Gifts continue to treasure and relish words forever and ever.

  3. Jodie

    Super cute and lovely. Perhaps ’cause I only have one, but in our house nattering doesn’t happen until the mornings as he waits patiently in the cot for someone to get him up. I love the way you described this.

  4. Sarah

    beautiful…my 14 month old had grommets last week and is slowly starting to get his luscious lips around a few words – my daughter still chats to herself for a good hour before passing out…her own little random ramblings – thank you for writing it down

  5. Life In A Pink Fibro

    Love this. I love listening to my boys chatting when they don’t know I’m there. They don’t share a room, but like to sleep together sometimes in Mr7’s big double bed (he’s the default guest room) and I stand outside the door and just listen. It’s beautiful.

  6. Nic

    Yes, love this! My boys have done this on and off all of their young years. Mini Hoges currently likes to recite the stories we have read before bed or sing songs that he knows really well. He’ll do this for a good thirty minutes before he crashes out. Great post.
    Nic x

  7. Ink Paper Pen

    Karen, this was such a lovely post. Loved the image of Boy 3’s mind being like a treasure chest. An awesome short tale describing the bedtime connection between two brothers x

  8. Lucy Mulvany

    My three used to chat to one another via the monitors. Hilarious. And that practice – amazing. And that they are all happy in their beds, using words as their wind down – that must make any Mummy happy…


  9. MultipleMum

    Love this Karen. The practise. The brotherly love. Too much gorgeousness!

    You should hear the twins having a yarn every night before bed. The Minx bosses Dew Drop around telling him what he *should* remember from the day and what they will get up to tomorrow. Dew Drop tells fart jokes and performs slap stick routines to get his sister laughing. It is hysterical!

  10. tinsenpup

    For years my bigger girl would whisper new words or phrases that took her fancy over and over to herself before integrating them into her vocabulary. The little one talks about trucks in her sleep. She just turned two and is saying so much more than we can understand.

  11. Charley

    how lovely. My 16 month old is saying more than we can understand too. her big sister told my friend Debbie that her little sister woke in the night and she told her to go back to sleep, and she did. Thats the kind of bedtime chat I REALLY like! x


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