Friday, 19 August 2011

The evolution of the bedtime routine

When Colin was little, bedtime always included three books, then one song while tucked in bed with the light off. When Colin was a little older (maybe 2?) he started asking if he could trade his song for a fourth book. I often stuck my heels in (hey, I'm a music person) but James and any family filling in always gave in.

Then, when Caleb was old enough to understand books, our routine changed to one story from the children's bible, one book each, and one song. After a while at that, the boys started to ask if they could trade their song (again!) for a made up story by James. With James' vivid imagination and talent for story-telling, he loved honouring this request.

As James' stories got more and more involved, featuring favourite characters and often the boys themselves, the boys completely jettisoned books. I still read books before nap time, and if I was doing bedtime for the older boys I always read. (My improv story telling skills are not quite up to James' level.) Plus, the boys now have quite high standards for stories, and have been known to give a two thumbs down review to family members who unwittingly tried and failed.

My bedtime job has always been the "baby" who had their own room. This often meant looking at a few picture books, then cuddling/nursing with the lights off, while I sang through three or four songs.

Now that Benjamin and Caleb are sharing a room, bedtime is done altogether in their room, all three boys at once. Books and songs have gone by the wayside, in favour of one bible story and a long, detailed story by James. (Also included is a preview for tomorrow night's episode with the characters, excitingly titled "on the next exciting episode...!") The boys sit beside James, completely enthralled. Benjamin usually just wanders around the room. But once the routine is finished and we have a family prayer, I wander in to offer to Benjamin to nurse. He always jumps up into my lap on my rocking chair and settles in. He looks up at me with those big, beautiful eyes and says "Nurse!" followed immediately by "Song?"

Benjamin always loves to hear songs while he nurses, be it nap time or bed time. And it melts my heart every time. There is music in that boy's soul, that's for sure.