Some people, gurus, etc would probably frown on our bedtime routine.
I have a 6-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl, and a 6-month-old. My husband and I lay with the two older kids every night until they fall asleep. We always have. I even rocked them to sleep like babies.
Sure, an ideal night would be tucking into bed, reading a story, kissing good night, and walking out of the room. But for whatever reason, we haven’t gotten there. And honestly, I am ok with that.
My son started kindergarten this year, and I am seeing his independence develop right before my eyes. He wants to start to do everything on his own. He says “because I am in kindergarten now.”
He gets up and dresses himself without me asking 100 times, he brushes his teeth (flosses and mouth wash, who is this kid?) combs his hair, and makes his way to the den fully ready to go. He is beaming with pride as he turns the corner to show me every morning how he is ready to go. It is a total 180 degree turn from our mornings before school last year.
Every day it is something new “no I can do it momma” and it’s not a 2-year-old saying it when you need to watch carefully. It’s my 6 year old and I know he can actually do all these things, so I let him. I am enjoying watching him navigate and figure things out.
A few years ago when we were in the trenches of this bedtime routine, I kept telling myself, they won’t be teenagers wanting me to lay with them at night so I just kept we just kept the same routine. There were several times we tried to push leaving the room but the tears we just couldn’t get past. They used to take forever to fall asleep but now they are out usually within 15 minutes. I now use this time to ask again about their day, who they played with at school, and what they hope to dream about. I love to see the imagination come to life without distractions. It has now become this treasured one-on-one time I didn’t know we both needed.
As I see his morning routine changed this year, I know there come a night when my oldest says, “I can lay alone momma.” My heart will then break into a million pieces because I know how much he’s grown up. I will know we are at the milestone of me getting a few hours back to myself at night. I will be happy and I will sad. But for now, as I see these nights getting shorter, I will keep our nighttime routine until he doesn’t want me to lay with him anymore. I can imagine his sister will follow suit shortly after him but for now, I will hold on to both of them at night and snuggle as much as I can. Because I secretly love it as much as they do.