Bedtimes ebb and flow at our house, like the tide . . . like the tiredness of little loves.
In the summers . . . well, there is no routine, nothing is predictable, and we all suffer for it.
But during the school year, bedtime is like the iron rod. If I just hold to it, everything will be so much better.
And so we have a bedtime routine, a plan that puts little bodies into sleep mode. It has worked like a charm (knock on wood)(KNOCK ON WOOD) thus far, and bedtimes have involved virtually no fighting for many-a-month.
I want to write it down because:
1) I was reading Olivia’s baby book, and there were so many details in there that I was sure I would never forget. But I totally forgot! It made me want to write more of the mundane day-to-day down for future delight.
2) I already had this post half written in my head, when Olivia said the most adorable, wonderful thing. It cemented the cause.
About a half hour before lights out, I send the children down to put on pajamas. I usually start telling them about fifteen minutes before hand that it’s about time to put on our jammies. When I tell them it’s time, Olivia and Calvin comply reasonably well. Everett ignores me completely.
While the bigger (downstairs) kids are getting their jammies on, I take Roo into his room for his night routine. Bummy change and jammies and a face/hand wash. A book or three (our favorites: Hurry Hurry, Goodnight Moon, My Grandma and I, and One, Two, Three!). Then a prayer while he sits on my lap. He is still in the repeat-a-prayer stage, but it is so cute. And when that is done, it’s kisses and bed. I lay him in the crib and while I tuck him in, I say:
“Do you want me to sing you a song”
And Roo always says “No! No song!”
And I say “Okay” and start walking away.
And then he says “Wait! Wait!”
And I turn around and he says “Song.”
And I say “You want me to sing you a song?”
And he says “Yes”
(It’s this funny game we play)
And then I sing him “I Am A Child Of God” as I turn out the light, and stand in the doorway.
And it’s so funny because when we had our primary program two months ago, the children sang “I Am A Child Of God” and Roo just had a fit! He started yelling at the primary children on the stand “No! My song! No!” He was not happy to hear someone else enjoying “his song.”
Once Roo is down, I head downstairs to get the other three in bed. By now Olivia and Calvin are in their jammies with their teeth brushed, and Everett usually is half naked and playing in the sink. I help him finish getting ready for bed, then we kneel in the hallway between the kids bedrooms and say our prayers. Each child takes their turn.
Then the kids go pile into their beds, with their lights out, and I sit in the hallway between bedrooms and read to them (today it is The BFG). We have been reading chapter books for a few years now. Every once in a while I have pangs of guilt that I don’t read more picture stories to Everett. I need to do better at that.
After reading I go in and kiss my lovelies goodnight. Olivia is usually cuddled up and content with a kiss and hug. Calvin usually wants to talk to me and make me stay as long as possible (Wait, mom! . . . . Um . . . . . um . . . . no, wait . . . . um . . . .) And Everett is usually sound asleep, fingers in his mouth, blankie pulled up over his face.
Where is Wyatt in all this? It depends on the night, but usually he’s there. He helps get kids corralled for jammies and good nights. But then he leaves, and I do the reading. He used to do the reading too, sometimes, but it has really fallen to me in the past year. It’s just the routine we’ve gotten into.
But tonight I had to go do an RS service project right at the kids bedtime. I got Roo to bed and went down to help the others with prayers and jammies, but then told them I would be leaving. Wyatt was down there, so I suggested he could read tonight.
And then Olivia started to whine/cry and say “No! . . . I hate it when other people read, they don’t do it like you! I only like it when you read!”
Which of course, made me feel like a million bucks. Usually the kids do their best to keep you humble, never giving you the upper hand, but that sweet comment made my night.