Routines

Dear Marshall,

I miss your old nighttime routine. It was complicated, but it was also kind of fun. Here’s how it went.

First, bedtime must be announced. We find that it goes better if you know that bedtime is coming soon. It’s not good to just spring it on you.

Next, the teeth must be brushed and the hippopotamus washed. The hippo is a little plastic bath toy that came with a set of bath products. It’s your favorite toy right now. You bring it to bed with you, but before he goes to bed, he must be washed in the sink.

Then we have to change your diaper and put you in your jam-jammies. You can’t decide between your monkey jammies and your car jammies. If I try to go all-monkey, you scream, “Car!” And if I try to go all-car, you scream, “Gockey!” So I’ve been putting you in your gockey top and your car bottoms.

Then come the books. I always give you a number of books that I’m willing to read for you before bed. You always ignore it. You put all of your books in a stack, hemming and hawing over the order, behaving as if you fully expect me to read them all.

After reading one or two books more than planned, I announce that it’s time to get into bed, and I turn out the light. I learned this from your dad. There is no clearer sign of intent than turning off the light. Sometimes you still throw a fit, but most of the time you crawl into bed.

Then it’s time to say, “Night-night!” I have to kiss not only you, but also the hippo, and sometimes also the stuffed bear. And usually once isn’t enough. I have to kiss everyone repeatedly. Sometimes I even make the bear and the hippo kiss. That makes you giggle. How I love to get those giggles out of you!

That’s how it used to go. Lately, you haven’t insisted on washing the hippo, and you wear whichever jammies I put on you. The trick is to get you to stop moving long enough to change your diaper and put your jammies on! You run around and around. Sometimes you hand me the bells and insist I sing “Jingle Bells” so you can do your “dance.” You use that and the books as your primary stalling tactics, but you have also learned that time-honored tactic practiced by millions of children before you: the glass of water. If your father and I are both there to put you to sleep, we joke about how you’re such a staller. Well, bedtime wouldn’t be quite so much fun if you didn’t drag it out, one way or another.

Love,

Mom

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