October 19th, 2010

The Evolution of the Bedtime Routine

Karrie McAllister

I swear, when my first kid was born, it used to irritate the heck out of me when my husband dressed her in mismatching pajamas.  “Pink stripes and pink stripes!” I’d yell, in total disbelief that he’d actually not color coordinated her entire evening attire.

“She’s just going to sleep,” was his response.

Yeah, right.  Going to sleep was just one part of it.  There was an entire evening planned around this kid.  From bath to powder, snacks and stories, rocking and nursing, all capped off with one special lullaby that would surely be doubly awesome if her PJ’s matched.

It took time and effort, but it was rewarding in that thank-goodness-the-baby-is-asleep sort of way.  Because let’s face it, as cute as they are when they’re awake, they don’t ask for cartoons when they’re asleep.

But time went on, and sure enough came baby #2 who completely threw off the routine.  With multiple children to bathe and clothe, snuggle and snack, rock and read, things started slipping.  The first thing to go was the frequent bath.  I began spacing out their cleanings more and more, not to mention cutting back on the number of books read and the quality of snack.  What was once warm milk and low-sugar treats was now fluorescent yogurt with a handful of cereal in it.  I’d purposely pick books that were short and the only rocking happening was me, rocking slowly out of the room so that no one would wake up.

By the time those two kids were old enough to dress themselves and other such standard things, baby #3 came along. And now, some 2 ½ years later, as I type this she is literally pinching my nose.  It’s way past her bed time, she smells like maple syrup, her hair looks like a Bozo the Clown wig, and her belly button is green from a naked coloring session that happened when I wasn’t paying attention.  (note: this situation is all 100% true.  I wish I was making it up.)

Gone are the drawn out calming routines of the past.  These days they’ve been replaced with survival techniques, because with multiple busy children and busy parents, you can only do so much.

The good news is that they’ll survive, despite it all.  Snack?  Go find something.  Bath?  When you start to smell.  Bedtime?  When you’re tired.  Books?  As many as mommy can read before she falls asleep, because there’s  a pretty good chance she will be the first one to zonk out.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)