I've tried to design the bedtime routine to better serve me as Val gets older. Nothing that can't be done on the road or at someone else's house. One book, even though she optimistically brings three or more each night. One song, even though I generally get hushed with a firm, "Mommy. No. Mmm-Mmm." no matter which of her favorite songs I pick. We pray. The end. It allows me the freedom to do more if I want, or extend the time by talking with her but she doesn't get to determine if that happens - I do. Before I leave the room I give her a hug and kiss and say, night night, I love you.
Last night I settled her in along with a doll, duck and Curious George book (of course I let my kids read in bed!) and kissed her forehead. Night night! I love you. I turned to go and she stopped me five steps later with a frantic, "MOMMY!" I turned back and saw her sitting in bed with arms outstretched to me, "Hug!" she demanded. I had forgotten the hug. I'm glad that she misses the hug and reminds me, confident that she'll get it (a big one, too.)