Bedtime Routines and Rituals

I struggle with single parenting.  Often I don’t feel I know the answers to how or when or why or how much – when it comes to being a single mom. 

My latest battle is bedtime routines.  I hate figuring out a new system on my own.  I want Shawn’s expertise.  Not that we were experts in parenting.  Maybe it would be better said to say I want his guesses to put alongside my own in hopes that out of our two contributions one will actually work.  I feel defeated as if my ideas have been cut in half and I don’t completely trust myself to forge an experimental path by myself. 

Tonight I tried a new technique in my combat.  Instead of competing with two toddlers against one mother, I concentrated on one child at a time working diligently to find their individual windows of weariness where they would possibly concede and surrender to sleep.  It worked.  Jordan was first.  After stories and brushing teeth, his little mind calmly found rest before it was his sister’s turn.  Maddi had the privilege of going to bed second due to a longer afternoon nap.  It was during her nighttime procedure that ritual emerged. 

Kneeling by her bed with Maddi tucked snuggly inside, we read two stories followed by our prayers.  It was at this point that little Maddi halted the process.  “Mom.  Mom.  Wait.  Wait.  I pray, too, Mom.”  Before I knew what she was doing she plopped herself out of bed to kneel next to me with her chubby fingers folded and wild head of hair bowed.  She recited the prayers with me and repeated as we asked God to bless family, friends and relatives only correcting me once when I prayed for Grandma and Grandpa.  “No Grandpa, Mom.  Papa.  Say Papa, Mom – no grandpa.”  This instruction being prompted by the fact that she calls Grandpa, “Papa,” and insists I follow her lead. 

After this we said goodnight. 

Out of our most routine habits a rich and loving tradition can be found.

Even in struggles there can once in a while be a very good night. 

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