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Bedtime Rituals

March 23, 2009

When the clock gets close to eight thirty, one of my favorite times of day approaches.  It’s time to goodbye to another day, while looking forward to what God has in store for us tomorrow.  Ah, bedtime.  I love it for so many reasons. 

Because the running around has settled, and all is quiet in my house.  Because shortly after our routine, I will have some treasured time with my husband.  Because thoughts and dreams that might not be shared in the bright light of day are shared freely when only the moon is lighting the room.  

 Mostly, because it’s one more time that I get to connect with my little girls. And when they’re in bed, under the blankets with only their little clean scrubbed faces popping out, they are both still just that…little girls. 

We have two bedrooms besides ours in our home, and each girl used to have their own.  A year ago, they decided to combine bedrooms so one room could be used exclusively for playing and sleepovers.  I was in full support of the move, as I believe that rooming together will teach them respect for others and bring them closer as sisters. 

I suppose it partly has to do something with the fact that I always wanted a sister to whisper late into the night with when growing up.  I settled for my stuffed animals, though and turned out reasonably okay.

When the girls combined bedrooms, at first I combined their nighttime prayers and songs as well.  After a couple weeks, though I went back to tucking them in separately and chatting for a while with each alone.  I found I missed the one on one time, and I know the girls did, too. 

Our nighttime routine is pretty specific, and has grown and grown as years go by.  It seems once I do something two nights in a row, I am destined to do it forever.  I like to joke that by the time Coco starts high school, I may have to start tucking them in an hour before bedtime.

On most nights, we’ll read a passage of scripture and a chapter in our current novel.  For this, we all snuggle together on one bed.   I switch beds each night and the girls make a big fuss over making me comfortable by offering me their best pillow.  Then, the lights go off and I sing and pray with each girl individually.  This is also a good time for back rubs and chats.  If someone is feeling scared, we’ll think up a great scenario for them to think about after I leave the room.

It took a few weeks, but Soleil (5) has learned to listen quietly when I sing and pray with her big sister, instead of singing loudly along with us.  I thought it was pretty cute, but it didn’t please Coco much.  Now, once in a while we’ll just hear her little soft voice saying, “Yes, Lord” while praying. 

Somewhere along the line we started keeping track of who got the last hug and kiss…so each night I make a big deal out of giving the lucky girl her last hug and kiss.  As I leave the room, I say “Goodnight baby elephants,” and they answer “Goodnight mommy elephant.”   Or if we’re feeling silly, Baby Elephanto…said with an accent of course.

Every once in a while, if I am sick or have a horrible headache, I will tell the girls they need to put me to bed.  They will come in my room and sing and pray, and leave saying, “Goodnight mommy elephant!”

They’ll be great tucker-inners one day.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. mamala permalink
    March 24, 2009 12:41 pm

    You’ve made me cry.
    Even if I hadn’t experienced this first hand on my own sleepovers with your children–I would cry–as it is just so lovely to behold your intense love for each other.
    Even when they do sleep with g’ma–we never get it quite right. They sweetly tolerate my offkey rendition of Twinkle Twinkle, let me pray my pithy prayers, eventually sighing a big sigh as they think about their Mommy–and how she isn’t there.
    You have laid a foundation of trust, acceptance, creativity, joy, and and and and and . . .
    I do not know any family more blessed than yours.

  2. turtlemomma permalink
    March 24, 2009 3:45 pm

    thank you for sharing. this was sweet.
    We say prayers together and each kid gets tucked into their own bed and sometimes with a song my mom used to sing to me or the night night song.

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