Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rhythm In Our Home : Bedtime Rhythm

Thank you so much for your kindness and wisdom on yesterday's post. I hope I didn't come across like I was throwing a pity party. I didn't mean to, if I did. I am so grateful for my family and the life we have together. I love taking care of and serving my family, and wouldn't want it any other way. But um, the cake eating thing...yeah I need to get that under control pronto!
It made me sad to see that I am not alone in 'family forgetfulness'. I wish I could celebrate all of your birthdays for you, too - you all deserve so much!
Mama Forestdweller brought up an excellent point :
"Also, it seems that celebrating holidays, birthdays, festivals is a social event - it's something we learn to do by being included- we need to be shown, it seems...and some people (husbands, ahem!) have to learn a lot later in life, which is unfortunate. This makes me realize how important it is that you have been modeling seasonal and birthday celebrations with your children all along".
I didn't really think of that but it makes so much sense! It reminds me of how important it is to include all my children in our preparations for holidays and whatnot, even Baby L. Thank you!

I have been a bit hesitant to post our nighttime rhythm as it has been changing quite a bit these past few months. I thought we had it back down a couple of weeks ago and then it changed again. You see, how our nighttime rhythm goes really depends on C. I mentioned before that C is still nursing and she has been nursing to sleep at night. That meant that K had to be with Baby L for about 5 - 10 minutes (safely on our king sized bed) while I got C down (Kevin isn't home from work until way past their bedtime), then I would tuck K in and get Baby L to sleep. But little miss C has changed it up a bit to fit her needs better. I think this new rhythm is working well for us, too, so I guess she knows what we all need!
You can find an overview of our old nighttime rhythm (from two years ago) here.

I will go ahead and lay all the cards on the table by telling you that our children have an early bedtime. I was surprised to find that bedtimes are a controversial subject, although I really don't see why this is. Anyways, the girls are tucked in bed by 6:30, and Baby L is usually asleep by 7:30/8:00. While I strongly believe that our children need this early bedtime (as I need them to have it so I have time to wind down and prepare for the next day), I am not saying this is for everyone. It's just what works for us. We have found that if the girls don't go to bed around that time they are cranky and out of sorts the next day.

After our dinner and dishes are done I sing this song as I hold Baby L and walk towards the bathroom:

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 : This Is the Way We Wash a Day

Both of my girls will come and follow me with their special stools their cousins made for them. We then all brush our teeth together, since children learn by imitation this helps them to brush their teeth properly. Then the girls clean their faces and hands (which are always dirty from dinner) and we walk to their bedroom. There they get on their nightgowns and put their slippers in their homes for the night, while I nurse Baby L and get him changed and into his sleepy sack.

We then light our bedtime candle, sit on their bed and sing our two angel songs. It's such a special moment for me. For a long time I sang those songs while they would sit and listen but now both of them join in.

After our songs are done we do our moon is round verse. I do this to them individually. It helps to calm them down and relax them.

The moon is round, (I softly circle their face with my fingertip)
The moon is round, (same as above)
It has two eyes, (I gently touch their eyelids with my fingertip)
But knows, (I run my fingertip from their eyes down their nose)
No sound (I circle their lips with my fingertip)

After this, depending on how the day went and the girls' moods, I will either tell a story or read from a book. The past few nights we have been reading a couple of pages at a time of Little House in the Big Woods. While I am reading, K holds Baby L and I nurse C.

After the story is through, we all say our good nights and give hugs and kisses. K was noticing her purple blackberry fingers as she was hugging Baby L goodnight in the picture above.

By now a kitty or two has joined us and will stay with the girls in their room until later in the evening when I come back upstairs to go to bed myself .

I turn on their night light (which was made by my friend Fiona and is actually supposed to be my baby mooning nightlight, but I am sharing it, for now...), turn off their lights and with Baby L in my arms, I blow them kisses as I walk out the door. With this new rhythm they do stay up a bit and play in bed together but usually not for too long.

When I come up to let the kitties out of their room I love to see how the girls fell asleep. Most nights they are cuddled close, sleeping in all kinds of funny positions.

I hope I didn't 'say' too much this time around. Nighttime is one of those rhythms that are hard to put into words and cram into a single post.
Oh and please remember - this is just our family rhythm and what works for us at the moment. This isn't meant to be hard and fast rules on how rhythm should go in every one or any one's homes. I just thought to share it because I receive quite a few e-mails asking about our home rhythm, and I also just wanted it documented for me to remember when they are older and on to another rhythm.

Thank you, again, for joining me in the rhythm fun! Here is the linky list. If you have a (new or old) link you would like to share about your family rhythm, please enter it below so that we all may see. Then please link back here in your post. I look forward to seeing your inspiration!
Thanks friends!

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