Bedtime at our house seems kind of like a train wreck every night. An incredibly sweet, cuddly, noisy train wreck, if that makes sense at all. I woke up thinking about it this morning, so I thought I would walk you through an average bedtime at Casa de Dodd.
At around 6 pm, we eat dinner - well, Isabel eats dinner and Drew and I tag team watching her to make sure she doesn't toss her peas on the ground and smear spaghetti o's in her hair (she did that last night, btw. I apparently fell asleep on the job). After cleaning her up and stepping on a few lost peas, we do one of two activities - every other night it's bath time. That's an adventure all in itself, and another blog for another day. Otherwise, we generally turn on Nick Jr., which she will watch for about 30 second intervals in between walking from the living room, through the kitchen, picking up a pot or a cutting board, carrying it to the hallway or dining room, dumping it, heading to the living room to play with her toys or in her "new car", climbing on something she's not supposed to climb on (yesterday it was the step ladder I forgot to put away, sometimes it's her baby rocking chair, last week it was the Christmas tree box), and then heading back to the den to sit in her pink elephant chair and start the whole process over again.
After she does this 10-20 times (or the clock ticks one second past 7pm), she is sufficiently exhausted and starts to walk like a wobbly little drunk baby - that's the main cue that she's about to lose it if we don't start the next step of the bedtime routine. I think she'd play all night long if we'd let her, which makes the transition to the next step kind of a fight on most occasions. The next step is diaper change and jammies. Lately we have been doing this part of the routine in the den as to "trick her", but she's too smart and has figured it out. Usually I can get her clothes off and her diaper off before she manages to wiggle free and try to escape. Fortunately, I have the advantage of size and strength in this equation, but sometimes she does manage to get free.
So, after the chase, she finally gets her diaper on and her jammies on and then we all breathe a sigh of relief because this is the signal to her sweet little brain to start settling down (perhaps why she fights it so much). Next she gets her milk. I know there are moms out there that will judge because she still gets it in a bottle at bedtime, but I do not care. She is happy, it makes bedtime easier and I don't think she will be 16 and still be needing a bottle at bedtime because I let her have it now. So, if you are of the opinion that a baby should turn one, give up the bottle and never look back, I respectfully ask that you keep your opinions to yourself. *steps down off soap box*
This is my favorite time of the day.
When she is done, she hands the bottle to me. I say "thank you" and then we go find daddy for "Nite nite" kisses. She responds to this routine in one of two ways - either she flatly refuses to give anyone kisses, or she wants to give her daddy about a thousand kisses. Obviously you can tell which one we like the best :)
After kisses for daddy, we head to her bedroom. First thing she wants is her paci and teddy bear. Then she lays her head on my shoulder and we say prayers. Well, I say prayers and she snuggles, but I like to think that we're instilling an importance of prayer for our little one by saying our silly prayers every night. Our prayers go something like this: "Dear God, Thank you for this day and for getting to (insert activity, ie: go to the playground, buy food at the grocery store, go to school, play at Nana's, etc). Thank you so much for Isabel, for Mommy and Daddy and Baby Olivia, for Nana and Granddad, Grammie and Grampa, Auntie Em and Uncle Steven, Miss Lillie and Daniel and all our friends and family. Please help us to sleep so good and sleep all night long and have sweet sweet dreams and wake up happy and healthy in the morning. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen" Sometimes she will watch me as I do this, and I like that because she seems interested in what I am saying and seems to understand, at least understand who the people are that we are talking about.
Then it's kisses, goodnights, and I close the door and breathe a sigh - of relief that she's in bed, of sadness that another day has passed and my baby is growing up, of happiness that she is growing and healthy...
I know that this might seem like a crazy thing to do every night, especially if you don't have children, but her vibrancy and sweetness make the crazy all worth it.