Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bed Time Routines

We have had an almost militaristic standard bedtime routine since Bean was about 6 months, and yesterday it dawned on me that the time for those very structured bedtime routines was passed. It was so weird to me to look at my two and realize that yet another milestone has passed, I don't miss it, but it is gone.

A bedtime routine was one of those things that initially I wasn't really into, but to keep my sanity I initiated and kept very structured for the last nine years. It isn't like the routine hasn't changed and altered, but it was always loosely the same routine. Our routine when they were little was massage, get on jammies, brush teeth, read a short book, and sing a few songs. The massages usually dropped off around two and as they got older they jammied and brushed on their own and the books got longer, but really it was the same routine. For two kids that seemed to need more sleep than average, they both still sleep about 10 hours minimum a night and really just in the last year stopped doing 12 hour nights, this routine was critical.  For Bean the bedtime routine let her have that snuggle time and transition that she seemed to need.  For Chicken, the routine was almost a trigger that it was time to mellow out and get into sleep mode.  Bean still needs about another thirty minutes or so after the routine to fall asleep, while Chicken rolls over and is out in minutes.  These pieces though are all part of that routine.

There is still a routine, it has just changed and doesn't really include mom and dad anymore.  In the last few months we have been busier in the evening hours and so long stories started to fall by the wayside. We would still read on occasion at night, but mostly it was to catch one or both up on their class reading. Singing songs hasn't been something asked for in weeks, there are other things to distract and transition the kids.

What do we do now?

The kids get ready for bed like always; brush teeth, get on jammies, get water.  Then they settle themselves into bed, preparing their rooms the way they like. No longer are mom and dad required to shut closet doors or turn on the night lights. It isn't that those things don't still need to happen, it is just the kids do it now. Then the kids settle in for a little screen time, the only screen time on week nights.  Mostly Bean messes around to find a pandora channel she likes, or plays chess. Chicken will play a game or flip through some picture fact thing he finds. After screen time we check on them, once and the night is done.

Writing that down surprises me. For so long this routine that has gotten them comfortable and sleepy has been the cornerstone of our nights and now it isn't.  I am sure there will still be nights when extra tuck ins are needed or someone needs a little attention, but never again will we sing to soothe troubled foreheads or read Knuffle Bunny.

Embrace where they are going, celebrate where they have been, and appreciate the moments past.

Happy Holidays

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