I always used to dread the bedtime routine.
It’s one of those things that we seemingly screwed up long ago. I hear countless stories from other parents about how their kids are able to go to sleep by themselves at a reasonable hour. Mine, on the other hand, need someone there to fall asleep with them well past what one would consider a reasonable time. I’d always been jealous of those parents who could tuck their kids in, give them a kiss goodnight, and leave to go do grownup things.
Then things started to change with my six-year-old.
He’s the kind of kid that, when he wakes up in the morning, the first words out of his mouth are, “What are we going to do today?” He’s pretty much nonstop from the moment he wakes up to the moment we start to read at bedtime. It takes a while to get him to that point, but when it finally happens, it’s my favorite part of the day. He’s just starting to read on his own but still wants me to read to him. I’m happy to oblige, because we are way beyond those Goodnight Moon and Corduroy books. We’ve moved on to The Adventures of Captain Underpants. The books are silly, but he loves them and will lay still while I read. Sometimes I read until he falls asleep.
But I don’t always want to do that.
The best thing about the bedtime routine is after the book is closed and the lights are off. I used to want to make a quick escape, but now he’s started to do something that makes me want to stay. He grabs my arm really tightly, not wanting me to leave. He’s never really been one to show outward signs of affection towards anyone, so I know this is his little way of saying he loves me. He falls asleep pretty quickly, and his grasp on me loosens. I don’t always leave right away. Sometimes I take it in a little longer, because I know these moments won’t last forever.
Are you one of those parents that dreads the bedtime routine, or do you soak in very minute?