Monday, October 26, 2009

Rhythmically Speaking

I have been receiving quite a few e-mails about rhythm lately so I thought I would share where we currently are at.
Slowly, very slowly, things are coming together in our new home. Baking day is back, to every one's delight, as well as some other weekly rhythms. Our daily rhythm is still a bit of a struggle with unpacking and finding things amongst piles of boxes, but our night time rhythm is truly golden. It has always been our one thing we can count on. I truly enjoy our time together as a family at night.

Here's a little glimpse into our night life, but, honestly, it starts in the late afternoon. Around 3:30 is when the girls and I start making supper and singing our dinnertime songs. Then we set the table and light our candle.

Our current dinner candle set up (tea lights in the Jack-o-lanterns)

K helps me set the table by getting her dishes that we keep in a cabinet within her reach. She puts them away after they are washed, as well. She loves being able to help, that's why it is so important to us to have these things accessible to her.

K's cabinet with her plates and silverware

We eat our dinner at 5:00, clean up and then have some quiet play time.

Toy set up in the living room (we haven't painted our walls yet or unboxed everything)

But the real signal for the girls that it is time for bed is when I sing the 'brush your teeth' song:

Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush them everyday ohhhhhh
Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Before you go out to play

Brush them even longer now
Brush in little circles now

Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush them everyday
- Mary Thienes Schunemann

No matter where they are at in the house they come running into the bathroom to brush their teeth. I just can not express how valuable singing is in our house. Sometimes it's the only thing that gets us through the day!

My monkey girl

We then pick out our bed time story and get into our PJs. We end our night by cuddling in bed together and reading our story. Then the 'moon is Round' verse is recited and it's lights out.

That's what works for our family. Our girls thrive on consistency. If we were to skip any of our steps chaos would ensue. Believe me, we learned the hard way with them!

What is your night time rhythm (for you and/or the little ones)? How did you find it?



Joy said...

I loved reading this post Nicole (and especially seeing that adorable first picture!) Our night rhythm varies some depending on which kids are here (since we only have custody of my stepsons half-time). When all 4 kids are here, we eat dinner at 6 pm, then play outside, weather permitting, or inside until 7 pm. From 7-7:20 is bathtime/brush teeth time, and by 7:30 mommy is reading a chapter book to all. When Finn gets wiggly or loud, daddy takes him upstairs to sing in the rocking chair for 5 minutes before laying him down. The older kids are in bed by 7:45-8pm right after reading. When just Finn and Elizabeth are here, we eat dinner closer to 5:30, then playtime, same bath/brush teeth time, but daddy reads to Finn and sings like always, and Elizabeth and I read in bed together. The flow seems to work well, and they know what to expect based on the day, even Finn. Singing is very important here too. We sing and listen to music quite often. :)

Marina said...

I love this! Thank you for sharing your rhythm with us! We've just really gotten into our new evening rhythm with my husband working longer hours and I find that singing has been a great way to keep them focused as involved as well!

I can't comment without oohing and ahhing over your toy set up... beautiful (as usual)!

I love that amidst all the chaos of moving and settling in, you've created a lovely routine for your girls...

xoxo, M

Anonymous said...

I love the photos of the little feet on tip toe on the stool and the other of the little feet climbing into the sink... Thank you for sharing your rhythm with us. Funny, I was just thinking about ours the other day and how much we all rely on it and when it is off, we are all off... so important!

sarah said...

This is lovely. My dd is ten and I still do many of the same things, eg dinner at 5pm, although I no longer sing to her when she cleans her teeth. But I used to. We sang for everything. I totally agree that it made life easier.

Bluebirdbaby said...

Thank you so much for sharing the teeth brushing song. Teeth brushing is a hard spot in our home and this will make it smoother. I've been looking for one!
What are your table setting songs? That is another tough spot for us!

I just stumbled across your blog. It reminds me a lot of our life and it's nice to see someone else living so rhythmically :)

Simple Mama said... LOVE with your play area. Adorable! Does your song have a tune? I need to find something that makes The Little a bit more inclined to want to brush his teeth. Sometimes it's a go, other times it's like trying to pull my eyelashes out during teeth brushing time.

I received your email :) Sent a reply back with an updated email address. Thanks!

Blogger said...

Our rhythm starts at dinner time too! We prepare our meal as a family. I made an independence apron for each of my girls and they have access to their own child size kitchen utensils. I think this increases their self esteem by letting them know that their contributions are a valued and important part of our family life. We eat dinner by candle light. It sets the tone of the day winding down and takes one more bit of technology out of our day. Dessert is homemade bread with honey and warm milk. I've found perfect for soothing toward bedtime and adding just the right amount of carbs to get tiny tummies through the night. Our candle follows us to a warm bath with lavender oil winding things down further. We sing for brushing but use the ABC's. Two rounds is about two minutes for just the right amount of brushing time. (Before when we didn't do this the girls got their second wind because they liked brushing their teeth so much!) Bedtime stories, a verse and blowing out of our candle signals bedtime at 6:30. Then mommy plays the kinder harp to lull the babes to sleep. Works like a charm two minutes or less every time! Kinder harps though terribly expensive are worth their weight in gold! I've never seen anything work so well in all my years of preschool teaching!

healing hillary said...

i need a rhythm coach (you know like a life coach...but for daily rhythm). we are out of kilter over here. i am thinking it might be the shorter daylight. so thanks for sharing yours. i am experimenting hoping to find that golden nighttime rhythm for us.

love the photos. i'm with marina on the toy set up! how was the conference?


boatbaby said...

We completely and totally lack a daily rhythm here. Our rhythms are more on the larger scale -- seasonal and weekly sometimes. We are a fly by the seat of our pants, but it works for us right now. Spontaneous is just our way. As for bedtime, it used to be nurse to sleep until my boy self weaned this summer around his 5th birthday. So bedtime is still finding it's groove. Usually after stories and all he talks to sleep (eye roll) literally talks and talks and talks until he passes out. I am trying to work on something a little more peaceful.

Mama Rose said...

Thank you so much Nicole for posting this!! My little one's are 2 1/2 yrs. and 10 months old. Our toddler has a bedtime of 7 p.m. We try to stick to this bedtime as much as possible. However, I've been thinking there should be more. I've been thinking about it for the past few days lately that I'd like to have more of a bedtime ritual with him. Baby girl's bedtime still varies. Daddy shifts at work switch every few months so it really messes with our household rhythm. It's something we're still trying to figure out without having it affect the kids, because everytime Daddys schedule changes, our household tends to not be so UNpleasant for at least the first week, especially with our little guy (the toddler).

*erin* said...

Thank you for sharing your night time rhythm & I enjoyed reading other families rhythms. Ours varies a little since daddy is home some nights and not others. Also our summer and winter rhythms are quite different! Lately we play outside from 4-5, cook dinner, eat at 5:30 by candle light and say the same blessing, clean up , shower/bath, 'night-night snack' (wheat bread, butter, honey, and almond milk), vitamins, brush teeth and 2 stories in bed (we co-sleep). When daddy is home he usually reads some books while they brush their teeth. Night times usually go very smooth:)

Anonymous said...

Awesome toy collection! Would you please tell us where you bought the beautiful turkey?


renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

This was lovely to read, thank you for sharing. My girls are 5 and 9 and we still do an early bedtime. Daddy reads the bedtime story while while I do the dinner dishes, then they get 20 minutes of quiet time to settle into bed and look at a book, sometimes big sister reads to the little one. Then I come down to turn off the light and say our goodnight poem. Just this evening I was realizing that I have said this poem with them every single night for more than 6 years now!

And oh yes, we sing quite a bit over here too. I really love Mary Thienes Schunemann's songbooks. After many years of singing the songs with my girls we now sometimes play one of the actual cd's. The girls love it!

Melody said...

Mary Thienes Schunemann was (is) such and inspiration, isn't she? Some days I still get teary thinking about how much her music has been a part of our lives and how she's no longer around to sing to her own little girls.

We had and have a great flow for bedtime for the little people, but at the moment I'm having trouble creating a peaceful bedtime for the bigger kids! They share a room and it's hard to get them to stay peaceful and not fool around even after 'lights out'.

After dinner our little ones brush teeth and use the potty, then head up to bed where both Mommy and Daddy get them dressed for bed and tucked in. I read to ds while dd nurses. If she ends up being restless or disruptive then DH takes her downstairs, where more often then not she falls asleep with him, but lately she's been going to sleep easily while I read. The only problem is that usually interferes with my ability to cuddle ds, which I think he is missing. So, it's story, then lights out, followed by 3 lullabies and my reciting "Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod" and then hand holding or cuddling until he goes to sleep. I really must replace the strings on my harp, so I can go back to using that as well!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your rhythm with us. Would you mind if I linked to your blog this week and I can talk about our bedtime rhythm?

leaningapplemama said...

do you have a tune for your brushing teeth song. we have been just beginning with songs for transition times and it truly is amazing how much easier it is (especially clean up!!). but i have been trying to figure something out for bedtime...(a song that is). we have teeth brushing and pjs then into bed for papa-read stories (which i must admit is my favorite) and then lights out. very simple but has been working great for us. would love to add a song into the mix though...great post!

FrontierDreams said...

Thank you so much to all of you for sharing your night time routines with us all. It was so wonderful reading them all!

I don't know how I could describe the tune to the teeth brushing song but the book and CD I got it from is found here: The book is called 'This is the Way We Wash A Day'. I believe Nova Natural carries it, too. Mary had such a beautiful voice and a wonderful way of creating songs.

Bluebirdbaby - Our table setting song if from the same book.
'Let's set the table so we can eat
Let's set the table all nice and neat
The placemats go in each place
with a napkin for each one
The fork goes here, the knife goes there, the spoon goes here and is promise of good things to come.
The glasses are filled, the plates are ready. So we serve our food and quietly sit. Then we light our candle and sing our thanks and love.'
We had to edit the last line in the song becuase my husband didn't want it to sound religious. I like it better the original way, but we have to keep everyone happy ;) (It was originally and we sing our thanks to God).

Joyce - We got the turkey from my friend's store before it closed. I believe it is made by Kinderkram, though.

I hope I answered everyone. Thank you all again for sharing! I love reading what we all do <3

Donna said...

Thank you for your lovely post. I love reading about your family life.
Our little rhythm at night is dinner at 5. We light a candle first while singing "fire fairies come to us, and the fire fairies come, bringing golden light from the sun". Then we say a verse
Earth who gives to us this food, sun who makes it ripe and good, dear earth, dear sun, by you we live, our loving thanks to you we give.
Bath is at 6 and then we sing the "dusty gnome song"
I met a little dusty gnome
He said it's time to clean our home
Swish, swish, clean our home.
I sing this while my little one and I put her toys away.
Into to bed at 6.45. I always sing "all the pretty little horses" to her.
I have two teenage sons and I love that they still sing the "dusty gnome song too!
I am blessed to of worked in a waldorf kindergarden for a few years - so I appreciate how a beautiful rhythm is so essential to my family.

Sheila said...

Our routine is more casual, and I wish we were starting earlier, but with daylight savings coming up we will be!
We have dinner between 5:30 and 6:30, then it's usually straight into a bath, followed by stories and bedtime.

jackie@lilolu said...

Very cute. I like the brush your teeth song.

taisa said...

Thank you for this lovely post. We have been getting back into our rhythm again here, but bedtime could still use some work, so this is inspiring. I love your little cupboard, my oldest would love this, but I think I will have to wait until my baby grows out of the empty-and-throw stage!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited finding your lovely blog! We sing a lot too-even a tooth brushing song. Someone said we should make a CD. Ha! :) Our bedtime routine is similar. We read, then turn off the lights and sing and pray. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Jennifer said...

I just found your blog and am loving it. I think it's great that you have such a rhythm, and all that singing, it's great.

jerry said...

we really adore your place, if you don't mind, we appreciate you can share on our website (it's all for free) we trying to share everyone's living idea, and help more people to improve their living space. we appreciate any support from you. and sorry if we made any uncomfortableness to you, have a good day.

Anonymous said...

curious about how 'the moon is round' verse goes?

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