—From the Children's Book My World.
Entering Opal's room in the morning is like cracking an egg and climbing inside, in the very best sense.
The inner-elements have remained consistent since Opal began sleeping in her own room, over a year ago.
There's the elephant humidifier that exudes moisture from it's trunk like a sort of non-verbal charm. Vapor! as Opal refers to it. (We are currently on the 3rd Elephant humidifier—we just continue to run their little motors into the ground.) There's the vertical space heater that stands as solid as a Beefeater. Her room encases a different ecosystem from the rest of the house, with it's supplemental warmth and humidity.
There's the noise machine that works as a tiny plug-in version of the Old Lady who only stops whispering hush when we switch her off. There's the froggie ceiling-projection nightlight. Things do not require a proper face to adopt character-status and when one of them is missing, it doesn't take long to notice.
The well-established morning routine begins by greeting our sleepy-eyed little cherub. With her sideways bedhead looking like it's been assaulted by the elements, she squints and rubs an eye. Even when awoken from a deep sleep, she is a cheerful little girl. A poor mood only comes from attempting to rush her wake-up process, to get-the-show-on-the-road when there is someplace to be. It was made clear long long ago that it's a much better idea to shave 15 minutes from her sleep or nap in order to negate the hustle.
She stirs, sits, stares, snuggles then shifts a bit and drowsily hands over B or Golla, which is a customary Opal-greeting (not limited to sleepytime-chatter). There's another quiet pocket of time while the vapor continues to blow and the little machine continues to whisper hush. Perhaps another eye-rub or a stretch to follow. I whisper good morning to all of her animals, touching them each on the head as I do, Good morning Golla, Good morning B...moving gently in the periphery, not yet directly towards her. Suggesting movement or activity too early results in a resounding NOOOO! as she digs deeper into the crib-heap, adding an easy 10 grumpy-minutes to the process.
On her own accord, Opal eventually whispers, drink milk? read book? up?
Lifting her from the crib for the first time in the morning is much like the first good stretch of the day, the first deep, lung-expanding inhale that shakes the dust right off. The fleece jammies are slightly damp with sweat, limbs dangling loosely like B who is clutched in her tiny pear-pit hand. She shifts her weight towards the rocker and we sit in the darkness, wrapped in the down comforter from her crib. The familiar chocolate-colored bunnies cavort across the fabric on her chest.
There is one massive, collective sigh and we rock, gently like a canoe in languid waters. We rock, moving neither forward nor backwards, as Opal slurps down her milk from the red sippy.
This is the longest stretch of stillness she will inhabit for the entire day.
Read book, she whispers as she comes up for air, bright light. She is ready to switch on the light and begin the day, erase the precious cozy shadows and crispen the edges. But I continue to rock and rock in the dark, putting off the sequence of activities, staving off our inevitable emergence from the egg for as long as she allows, as the milk dissolves from her cup like sand in an hourglass.