Margaret asks: “What is your favorite bedtime routine?” I thought I might as well answer her here on my own blog first because my answer is so long and second because I’d like to capture this moment in time in this my ongoing chronicle that is the only record my children will have of their childhood (other than my faulty memory).
Margaret is decrying her lack of routine and trying to make it longer and more set in stone. Meanwhile, here I am trying to figure out how to get our bedtime routine shorter. (I’m sure it will eventually collapse into a single routine for both Ben and the girls. Right at about the time the new baby arrives and forces us to find a whole new routine.)
It begins just after dinner. Or sometimes before I’m really finished eating my dinner. (After all I spend much of my dinner helping Ben and Sophie to eat, fetching more milk, cleaning up spills, etc.) Ben gets cranky and it’s better not to wait until he gets overtired.
I change his diaper and put his pjs on and brush his teeth and then we sit down and read a pile of board books. (He screams when he doesn’t want the book I choose. When we are done with each book (even if we haven’t actually finished it, he says: “Ah done”. Then I say a very brief prayer with him. God bless you and guardian angels watch over you and we go around the house and say Goodnight and God bless to everyone and he gets hugs and kisses. Then I tuck him into his bed and hopefully he goes to sleep. I usually have to make putting him into his crib a little game, pretending to drop him, playing peek-a-boo with his blanket, etc.
Then, once Ben is down, it’s time for the girls to get their pjs on and brush their teeth. Then usually a little time playing with Daddy. We say a longer family prayers: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be followed by a list of petitions, usually recited by Dom, to which the girls and I answer Lord, hear our prayer. Then hugs and kisses and then Dom goes to clean up the dinner dishes. I read them one or two books then I sneak them into their bedroom (hopefully not waking up Ben), tucking Sophie in while Bella arranges her own blankets to her satisfaction. Then I sit in my rocker and sing two songs: “The Butterfly Song”, which is a made-up lullaby that is slightly different every night, followed by Amazing Grace (usually four or five verses). And then I usually sit quietly in the dark for a minute and recite a prayer to myself, asking God to bless them and give me strength and grace to be a good mother. And then I sneak out saying a last, “Good night. I love you. God bless you and guardian angels watch over you,” to the children, who may or may not be asleep at that point.
Baths happen on Saturday nights for the girls. As needed for Ben.