Thursday, December 10, 2009


My kids went to bed at 7:30 up until last summer, then we got lax about it.  Summer's so laid-back and it wasn't a big deal if they slept in the next day, so why not let them stay up until 8?  Or 8:15?  Or even sometimes 8:30?  It's not like we usually had to be somewhere right away in the morning.  It just didn't seem like a big deal, and it really wasn't a problem.

I often had Bradley students ask "Your kids are already getting ready for bed?" when Jason would bring them upstairs at 6:30 or 6:45.  Yep.  It takes them for-freaking-ever to get ready for bed, especially if it's bath night.  Bath night usually consists of:

1. Bath for 20 minutes or so, depending on the level of splashing and the amount of whining done about washing hair and bodies.

2. Lotion--Kamu year-round (twice a day in the winter), Patrick in the winter.

3. Hair oil and combing--Kamu, only if his hair has been washed

4. Detangler and brushing (and once, braiding)--Patrick, every bath night.  Ignore the pathetic braids.  I have no girls and therefore am completely out of practice.

5. Jammies--this can take a while, since the kids like to run around nekkid.

6. Brushing teeth--conversely, we have to insist that this take longer than the kids would otherwise do, though they don't mind brushing.  When they rush through, I often take over brushing for them.  They get to choose the language in which I count to ten (English, Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew, and working on Amharic) and I count at a reasonable rate to get them brushed properly.

7. Story/stories--depending on what time it is, the general level of cooperation in the bedtime routine, and the length of the story chosen.  Normally each kid gets to pick one book (or chapter of a book, in Patrick's case).

8. Tucking into bed--Kamu likes to be "wrapped like a hotdog" in blankets, and both kids need their special toys

Kamu has his monkey.  He named it "Judge" the other day, and it seems to be sticking. 

(Side note: the monkey was named "No-no" when it was Patrick's, because Patrick thought that's what monkey's said...after all, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed" was his favorite book.) 

(OK, another side note: last night, I asked him if he is excited about his birthday party.  He said "Yes.  Monkey come Kamu birthday?"  I said sure he could come.  Kamu held him up so they were face-to-face and said "You come my birthday?"  I thought it was so cute how he invited his special pal himself!)

Patrick has Shamoops.  Shamoops has been Patrick's special pal for years.  Shamoops is a master hide-and-seeker, and has been "lost" in the house several times.

We live in fear of ever losing either of these animals.

OK, done with the pictorials.  Back to the bedtime routine.

9. Prayers--we say Shema every night, and then ask G-d to watch over the soldiers and bring them home safely.

10. Song(s)--again, depending on time.  The kids like to have me sing to them, either Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Kamu's current favorite), Little Horses (always Shamoops's favorite), Do Re Mi (Patrick's favorite), and a variety of others.

11. Monster poem--we made this up and it must be said three times for full effectiveness.  It goes:

Monsters, monsters go away
You are not welcome here
This is Patrick's bedroom
And Melkamu's bedroom
And you are not allowed.

It's free-form.

12. And finally, lights out.  Actually, they're often out before prayers and songs, but otherwise this is when they finally go out.

When we started back at school, we half-heartedly went back to 7:30 bedtimes once in a while, but mostly they went to bed around 8.  Patrick is always exhausted in the mornings, grumpy, argumentative, moody.  It's a fight to get him out of bed, dressed, and fed before school.  Kamu is a ball of happy energy who eagerly bounces out of bed around 6 a.m. normally, which is endearing but a little hard to take for those of us who are not morning people.  Since Patrick has been saying he's too tired in school lately, we decided to move bedtime back to 7:30 for real.

Last night, the kids were in bed with lights out and were threatened with dire consequences if they got out of bed for anything other than the bathroom.  They were both sound asleep by 7:45, and Patrick actually woke up on his own when our alarm went off this morning.  He wasn't grumpy.  He paid attention.  He said he had a good day at school.  His attitude was awesome all day that he was home, and I'm guessing it was better at school also.  Needless to say, he was in bed at 7:30 tonight also and neither kid made a peep after that.

I'm a big fan of reading kids' cues and behaving accordingly.  This is one we missed for months, but hopefully we're on the right track now.


Jess said...

I am impressed with your routine!! We are so, so, so lax around here. I mean bedtime is normally 10...ish. But sometimes 9:30. Sometimes 11. Yes, you read right. My 2 yo's go to bed really late. But hey, we go to bed really late. Get up late. Etc.

This is not a problem now, but I live in fear (FEAR!!!) of getting them on earlier bedtimes when school is lurking around the corner in a few years.

Seestor said...

You put my nephew in goddamn PIGTAILS??? And yet whenever I suggest he get a weave for fullness and body, I'M the crazy one.

That's it. No more hairstyling tips for you. You guys are on your freaking own.