We said good night to Kendan, whose hunger was clearly satisfied as he willingly and cheerfully crawled into bed. I brought Damien into his room and whispered to him, "Let's go have a snack," as I dressed him in pajamas. His face lit up! "A snack?" he asked. "Shhhh!" The last thing I need when it is already past the boys' bedtime is to have them both downstairs in the kitchen goofing around. I softly explained to Damien that we needed to be quiet. To whisper. His sweet voice got lower and lower as he attempted to mimic the exact volume of my voice. Not quite getting it at first and continually testing whether he had it by asking, "Mommy?" I would gently remind him to whisper and when he finally said it again, in the sweetest softest voice, I answered him, "What?" His face exploded in a smile. I almost told him "Shhhh" just to be sure the excited grin didn't turn into a squeal. But he held it in.
We made it to the kitchen and I gave him grapes, almonds, a graham cracker, and a cup of water. He thanked me in his previously mastered whisper and I began to wash dishes. For a few moments I even forgot he was there. Aside from a mouse like chewing noise he kept very still and quiet. Then it dawned on me: I've never done this before. I've never sneakily spent time with Damien. He has never been out of bed while Kendan has been in bed. Sure, Kendan owns the house when Damien is napping during the day. But never the other way around. This was very special time with my youngest. Our first stolen moment past bed time to bond over secret crumbs all over the table. I immediately sat down across from him and purposely gave him my undivided attention. He smiled again, cracker between his teeth. Damien made flirty eyes and soft giggles as he diligently ate his snack. I was correct, he had to be hungry because he ate very quickly. He stopped only one time to take a sip of water. Drinking from a cup without a lid is a newer privilege for him since he can finally do so without spilling it all down his shirt. I watched as he held the cup between his adorable, puffy hands. His fingernails just past the point where they need to be trimmed. He placed the cup back onto the table and used his index finger to wipe away a droplet of water on the corner of his mouth. He went right back to eating the last quarter of his cracker. Being the master of procrastination that he is, the last three bites took him as long as the first ten. But I didn't mind. We were on borrowed bed time time. Just me and him. I snuck one of his grapes and he picked up the whole bowl and said, "Eat all of them," in his tiny whisper (grapes are not his favorite). I had to laugh and it came out a little louder than I had advised him to speak. He took the opportunity to chuckle loudly himself. The last of his cracker was in his mouth and I broke the news that it was bed time. Never being one to miss out on a calorie, Damien slid the two leftover almonds into his hand to bring with him on our short return to his room. They were gone before we made it there.
We were very quiet when we closed his blinds and said his prayers. He snuggled his head into the blankie on my shoulder and we slowly rocked for a minute. I was grateful for the tiny amount of time with my sweet boy. One grain of sand in our hourglass spent teaching him to whisper and me soaking him in. Time used to flash grins at each other and share a secret. A secret he's not old enough to boast about to his big brother, but at the perfect age to know it was different and special.