Our Bedtime Ballet
We call it a day early at our house. We have a nighttime routine, and when it’s choreographed, it’s a gracefully performed ballet.
As evening approaches, I begin to set the scene.
Lights are dimmed. Pajamas become costumes and fuzzy socks our ballet slippers. Dinner is intermission and bedtime the grand finale.
If you swing by our home at 5 pm be prepared to have dinner with us. Some might consider it a late lunch, but it works for us.
Also, the kids will already be in their pajamas, so this means bath time is early too. I tried to “let loose” and do later baths, but my youngest will inevitably poop every dang time after eating.
So, no more late baths = no more poopy waters and bleached tubs.
By 6 pm, I’m definitely not messing around; we are 100% in for the night.
After dinner, we chill, brush teeth, read stories, and have family time on the couch. My youngest falls asleep around 6:30; she likes her own bed, in her own room, with the sound of rain lulling her to sleep from her sound machine.
Yes, she calls the shot; yes, I’m okay with it. My oldest wakes up at the crack of dawn, so bedtime is around 8 o’clock for her. This routine works beautifully for my kids and bedtime is seamless.
Every night we perform the same dance and as the curtains close we hold hands and take a bow. It’s a group effort and we nailed it. If you missed tonight’s showing, don’t worry; same time, same place tomorrow, for the next 10 years.
Of course, there are occasions when our schedule needs to slide to the right a few hours, and honestly, I dread it.
My sweet little ballerinas become tiny pirates gone rogue. Nobody remembers the routine, everyone hates costumes, bath time is torture, and the peaceful music becomes mutinous war calls.
My calm stage becomes a pirate ship, and I’m negotiating with Sassy Von Tantrum and Sticky McSnacky. I refuse to be weak. I won’t raise a white flag, but if you look closely, I’m blinking SOS.
I try to avoid this at all costs. My kids are young, but they won’t always be.
They thrive on schedules and routines, and as the coordinating captain of this munchkin ship, I will do everything in my power to align the stars and planets to make them happen.
My oldest can’t fall asleep until we’ve had our family time together, but one day, she’ll fall asleep on her own without it. My youngest starts rubbing her eyes and sucking her thumb around 5 pm, but one day, she’ll make it to 8 pm.
Just not right now.
The season we’re in is Early-Everything, and that’s okay with me.
It doesn’t bother me at all when we’re home before sunset. I know what works for my kids and I know what doesn’t. I choose to make the best decisions for them, even if that means saying, “No, I wish we could, but that’s too late for us.”
A night out where someone else makes dinner sounds amazing.
I’m sure the kids would have fun and play for a little while, but then we still need to get home. There are still bodies to bathe, teeth to brush, pajamas to find, and late-night snacks to be had.
And between those snacks and those pajamas and those bathed, I’m trying to get ready as well through a cacophony of toddler screams and the calls of “mommy, mommy, mommy” from outside my bathroom door.
And honestly, I just don’t have it in me.
I foresee a late night, and I’m already anticipatorily tired.