(written sometime during summer 2012...before I was ready to publish and commit to this blogging thing)
I just want to remind myself that tonight my heart was full of gratitude as I experienced a [rare....almost unheard of] bedtime.
Our bedtimes are generally miserable....have been for quite some time.
We are typically very proactive parents. When we recognize a problem we are quick to put our heads together and brainstorm, search, ask for advice, implement and execute a plan then tweak until it works. But in the bedtime department our efforts have seemed pointless. Positive results from all our experimenting are few and short-lived. I have wondered why we continue to fail in this area. It makes me sad to feel frustrated every night as we end the day.
Typical bedtime involves:
asking kids to do the list of things they do every night and yet can't seem to do on their own...asking again...losing a kid somewhere...fighting over senseless things because they are tired...whining...my patience running thin...finding a kid that's suppose to be brushing teeth out on the trampoline...firmly reminding them what they should be doing...wishing we were just curled up reading together...someone inevitably gets hurt...more whining...someone refuses to go potty...I know we'll be up at midnight taking her potty...another fight...losing a kid again...this time she's reading a book two flights down in the basement...tired of running up and down the stairs carrying a baby that has to be held...wondering why one kid still hasn't brushed her teeth...asking...waiting...tired...
...and by the time they manage to lay their little heads on their pillows, I am at a breaking point. Frustration rules. Not cuddles and love like I dream of. Regrets.
So in an effort to continue to try to fix our little problem we spent many hours last week moving everyone's bedrooms around. We have 2 small bedrooms for the kids. There are only so many options. But we found a way to stop using the top bunk which will allow me to be closer, lay in bed, scratch backs and cuddle easier with one of my girls.
Just in case it never happens again, let me outline my dreamy bedtime tonight. I have seriously dreamed about this for a long time!
-Everyone completed their evening responsibilities with support from mom but minimal nagging (cleaning up a small area of the house--their zone, plus normal bedtime drill)
-Everyone climbed in their bed without protests and early enough to read for a while.
-At one point the older 3 were all reading books on their own in silence while I read books to Audrey on the floor. I was stunned!!! (This is usually the time that they are fighting for attention and I don't have enough to go around)
-Ryan took Audrey (it's always easier with 2 of us!)
-I spend the next 45 blissful minutes having one on one time with each child. They talked my ear off and I loved every minute. I sang them their favorite lullaby "Baby Mine" and smiled when each girl smiled and helped me insert her name in the last line. I scratched backs, rubbed necks, rubbed feet and gave hugs and kisses.
-I soaked up and enjoyed every second of it.
-I walked away. 2 little hops out of bed but right back. No fighting. No frustration. Everyone fell peacefully asleep. Bliss.
Tomorrow night probably won't go like this but for now I'll live on a hope that it is possible and we'll keep striving to enjoy our last minutes of each day together.