Mother’s Day Diaries: What Makes Bedtime Special
Mother's Day is always a time of reflection for me. A time to think about how my children have grown in the last year, those wonderful moments I wouldn't trade - how grateful I am to be a mother, and how much I appreciate my own mother. In that spirit, last year I shared a list of gift ideas I think every mom needs. This year, I want to highlight one of the most impactful parts of the daily routine that we parents love - or on some days, love to hate: bedtime.
Bedtime is our time to clock out and call it a day; but before I'm relieved of my mommy duties for the day, my tiny bosses usually have a thing - or 10 - to say about it before they succumb to the "sleepies."
Creating A Sleep Training Routine For Baby and You
I've found that maintaining a routine is key when it comes to sleep training babies and winning the bedtime battle during the toddler stage. A bedtime routine can help improve both your childrens' and your own sleep health so everyone wakes up on the right side of the bed. It's also the sweetest time of the day when some of my fondest memories with my children are made.
Creating Sleep Rituals & Routines
At the Goodman household, our evening ritual kicks off with a warm bath, which has a soothing effect on my youngest, Remy. A warm bath (or hot shower for the adults) can help you fall asleep, because it artificially raises the body temperature for a short period of time so that when you step out, you experience a rapid drop in temperature, which actually prepares your body for sleep. Bath or no bath, with her second birthday coming up, Remy is still in that sweet transitional stage between baby and toddler where she is content to go with the flow. When she knows it's time to go to sleep, she says "night, night" everyone (stuffed animals included) and curls up with her giraffe pillow, favorite blanky and baby doll. By the time I get the mobile going and turn on her sound machine, she's halfway to dreamland.
My oldest Ruxin is another story. At 4-years-old, Ruxin drives the hardest bargain of anyone I know. The negotiating begins as soon as he hears the bath running, and doesn't stop without a back-and-forth battle of "just one more game," "just five more minutes," or the classic "I'm hungry" or "I'm thirsty" excuses. Once we've established that no one is starving or dying of thirst overnight, we slowly gravitate towards his astronaut-themed bedroom, lured by the novelty of the glow-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling. After we crawl beneath the covers to fulfill the minimum bedtime story requirement (at least three books), his imagination comes to life the second his head hits the pillow. I try not to laugh when he claims that he doesn't know how to sleep or when he launches into a tediously detailed story about the monsters lurking in his closet.
Lately, I've been waking up to find him wedged between my husband and me in the middle of the night, long after I've carefully extricated myself from his sleeping body and tip-toed back to my own bed. On one such occasion not too long ago, I woke up to find him in our bed stark naked with our covers pulled tight over his head. He explained to us that the covers protect him from monsters who can smell him when he's not wearing his PJ's. I didn't bother to ask him why then, he would take his pajamas off in the first place?
Sleep Training Aside, Bedtime is the Best Part of the Day
However frustrating or even comical it may be when my little ones try to derail the routine with elaborate stories or physical protests, bedtime is the sweetest time. There never seem to be enough hours in the day, and I can find myself rushing through bedtime so I can finish that email, catch up on TV or just go to bed myself. Just when I find myself getting frustrated, they never fail to do something so completely cute and innocent - it freezes time and reminds me that these moments matter, and they won't last forever. When all is said and done - once we've scoured the room for monsters, made sure our tummies are full and turned on the sound machine - this is the part of the day when I can push my chores and to-dos aside and savor a few sweet moments with my favorite people before. It's the best way to end the day.