Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bedtime Stories

As a mama, I’m a firm believer in the power of a schedule.  I'm not saying that a schedule like ours would work for every child...maybe it won't work for Cohen at all, but for our family, at this point, it works.  I should probably expand on this.  I’m not raising a robot.  It’s not really about doing things at exactly the same time every day... it’s about doing things in the same sequence.  I think routines help my lil’ bean feel safe. Knowing what to expect next helps her make sense of her little world, and therefore, she’s more cooperative.  We have yet to have experience a bedtime struggle.  I think she knows the order of events and has time to prepare herself for bedtime, because she knows it comes after her bath and a story.  She’s awake when we leave the room, but not at all upset that we’re leaving.   I should also add that I think they are even more effective for Addy when she has some control of them (Which pajamas would you like to wear?  Which book should we read tonight?).  Anyway, here’s the routine.  Every night, usually between 7:30 and 8:00, I give her a bath.  She plays with her mermaids and drinks from her tea cups (“Don’t worry, mama.  It’s just pweetend”).

Jason helps get her out of the tub (given my current state) and we take her to her room to get dressed for bed.
Like I mentioned, we let her pick out the book we read each night.  Lately, the book of choice has been one from the compilation of Curious George stories.  We tuck her in to bed and lay next to her, me on her left, Jason on her right, which is why I read the left page, and he reads the right. 
When we’ve finished the story, Jason says his “goodnight” and turns out the light.  I stay in bed with her every night for a while.  Maybe this is more for me than it is for her, either way, it’s one of the times with her that I’ll always cherish.  I stroke her hair and search for the slightest bit of “baby” still left in her features.  I would normally just whisper to her about what we did that night or what we’d be doing the next couple of days.  Sometimes I would get all emotional and tell her about the day she was born or the things I want for her future. 
One night a couple of weeks ago, I started telling her all about being a big sister… “You’re already accomplishing things I haven’t.  You’re going to be the best big sister.  You can teach baby brother how to color with crayons and go down the stairs the safe way and share his toys.  He’s so lucky to get to come be with you, but you will always be my first baby.  You will always be the one who made me a mama.  I love you…”    
She loved it.  Much to my surprise, the next night she rolled over, put her little hand on my face (mimicking what I do to her) and said “Big Sister?”  She wanted to hear it all again.  She has asked every night since.  I usually run through the things she did that day and tell her how she’ll be able to teach them to Cohen.  It melts me every time to see the proud grin on her face when she hears about each thing he'll get to learn from her.  She likes to hear it so much that a few mornings ago, when I went to get her out of bed, the very first thing she said to me was “Big Sister, again?”
I'm realizing that while she may not completely understand how her life is going to change, she's going to be just fine.  She's going to be great really...and besides, a see-saw doesn't quite work the way it should without a lil' friend on the other end....

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  Love.

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