A main goal of this blog and twitter feed is to capture some of the routines and banality of our daily lives to someday answer our kids’ “what was I like as a child?” or “what did I like?” questions. One thing that falls into this category is our night time ritual with Sophia. We don’t follow this strictly, but it is a pretty fair representation. This is pretty much Sophia’s routine at 2 (25 1/2 months).
Sometime between 7:15pm and 9:00pm, we try to start the “bedtime routine”. (OK, so that wide variety is not good, but at least it is honest.)
Bathe Sophia. Generally, she gets a bath after Alexander because she likes to “help” with his bath. (“Help” in this context means, sit on stool by bath and poor water on him.)
Brush Sophia’s teeth. Right now, we use a soft finger tooth brush. She is getting better about actually using her toothbrush as more than a mechanism to get water and tasty Elmo toothpaste into her mouth.
Get lotion and PJs. Sophia has some mild excema that flares up if we don’t moisturize her skin. We’ve used Aveeno, Aquafor, and hydrocortizone. Probably more stuff, too, but that’s all I can think of.
Read some books. Lots of them, actually. This can last anywhere from 5 to 90 minutes, but is one of the most rewarding of all experiences. We let her select the “next book” so she will remain engaged, even as she fades. We can tell that she is absorbing all of the content. What amazes me is when she starts reciting entire passages (if not books!) back to us.
Here is a sampling of current favorite literally selections: (Alas, the Amazon Affiliates program is not available in NC, so I won’t get any credit if buy any of these. 🙁 )
- Cuentos populares españoles – (Sophia alternately refers to this as the “special book” or the “spanish book”. Michele described it as “special” the first time Sophia asked her to read it. Sophia now only asks Daddy Dave to read it.
- Winnie the Pooh, Nature’s True Colors
- Curious George Collection (Thank you, Mimi)
- Goodnight Elmo
- Silent Night (Thank you, abuela)
- Curious George Good Night Book (Thank you, Mimi)
- Nursery Rhyme Collection. This one has been popular for a long time.
- Good Morning, Good Night. (Thanks, Turner Family!)
- How Do I Love You (Thank you, Marcela)
- All the Ways I Love You, a book with a recording of Sophia and Alexander’s Mimi reading the book (Thank you, Mimi)
- Love you forever (Thank you, Marcela)
- The Going to Bed Book (Thank you, Layna)
This next part is what motivated me to write this post. Saying “good night” to the room. Not really sure how this started, but I *thinkit was an idea from another blog. Daddy picks up Sophia and walks her around the room to individually say “good night” to different things in her room. With very little variation, and in this order, here is what we say good night to:
- “The Painting” or “Girl on the swing” – A friend gave us a lovely print that perfectly matches her room colors. As you guessed, it’s the silhouette of a young girl swinging on a tree swing. (Thank you, Maryjo for the gift!)
- The Clock – Sophia used to be consumed with a desire to grab the hands of the clock. Problem is that the she would break the clock. A few weeks ago, I counted off the numbers on the face of the clock, to encourage her both to count and associate the numeral with the number. Now she wants to count them off. But I think it is pretty much a delaying tactic because she always gets to 5 and restarts. Clever girl.
- The Door – The closet door to be precise. Ever since she learned “One, two buckle my shoe. Three, four knock at the door”, there has been a fair amount of knocking.
- The Butterflies (part 1) – Sophia’s room has a bit of a butterfly theme. We got some butterflies from Pottery Barn. (See the original post to see these.
- Los libros (“books”) – Sophia’s night time books are next to her silla. We bid them good night as we go by. Sometimes she will try to each down to read some more. A delaying tactic.
- La silla (“chair”) – Sophia has her own “toddler-size” chair. This is where she sits most of the time that we read to her for bed time. She lovesthe chair.
- The curtains -The only time she ever really wants to say good night to those now is to open then and look outside. A delaying tactic.
- The Ladybug Piggy Bank – This lady bug has a pair of metal coil antennae with spongy balls glued to the tips. Sophia just loves to smack at the antennae and flick them. Amusingly, one of the sponge tips fell off after about 2 smacks. It took Daddy around 20 months to get some glue to re-attach. (Seriously.) The night I did, Sophia said, “Daddy fixed it.” Which was interesting because she did not see me do it, and I did not point it out. (Thank you, Turners for the gift.)
- The lamp – Sophia has never really said good bye to the lamp. We usually skip it now.
- The Butterflies (part 2) – Sophia has a butterfly mobile above her crib. We say good night to them. Actually, she just likes to smack them. 🙂 See the original Casa Lennon post to see these. (Thank you, Cousin Flippins for the mobile!)
- The Fan – The ceiling fan has, you guessed it, butterflies. What can we say, everything for girls rooms in 2008 had butterflies on it. Now that Sophia is old enough, she likes to pull the light chain to turn the light on. She invariably smiles when she does that. In the last couple of weeks, she has started turning on the light, looking at me, and saying, “it’s not dark.” Too cute.
- The (whatever I feel like pointing out) mirror – Next we walk to the mirror in her room and say good night to whatever strikes our fancy. Popular choices: Daddy’s glasses, our teeth, the design on Sophia’s PJs, you get the idea.
- One last “Good night Room” – We turn around and say good night to the whole room.
- Sophia now wants to throw the switch that turns off the lamp light. Sometimes she’ll act surprised and exclaim, “It’s dark!”
- Get Ellie and Paco – We store Ellie the elephant and Paco the pachyderm in the top drawer of her chest of drawers. This is where they go “nite-nite”. After we turn off the light, we knock on the drawer door and Sophia calls for her cherished friends. When I hand them over, she gives them a huge embrace. She really likes them.
- Get in Crib – We put her in her crib and ask her if she wants her blankie. She always does. Amazing.
- Sing Songs – Something that Mommy Michele started doing a little while ago was singing her songs when she put her in bed. The 3 songs that are musts, because she always requests them, are “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “ABC”, and “Silent Night”. And normally in that order. Recently she has asked us to sing he such-and-such song. (Dog Song, Boy Song, etc) I told her I did not know how that song went and asked her if she would sing it to me. Invariably, any song she makes up is either to “Frère Jacques” or “Twinkle Twinkle”.
Generally, that routine does the trick. When we first started it, it worked like a charm. There really is something to be said for comforting your young children through routine. Of course, this entire philosophy and approach will end up being completely backwards for Alexander. We’ll need to figure out what works for him.
As you can also tell, we also have very thankful to have such generous friends and family.