Bedtime Routine

So it’s almost 10 o’clock at night here, I’m sitting in my dark living room after I just put my daughter to sleep. Her sleep routine I’m trying to stick to is that we brush our teeth before we go “night night”. I heard it’s good to have a before bed routine and some parents read bedtime stories to their young children, some say prayers, and others may not even have a routine for their toddler but ours is to brush our teeth. I figure it’s a good habit to get into. My boyfriend (her father) said I should start getting her to brush her teeth now, because it is a good habit even though he doesn’t always stick to it – neither do I but I do it more often.

The first time I actually brought her into the bathroom to brush her teeth, I had sat her on the bathroom counter by the sink so it’d be easier to watch her and she wouldn’t be tempted to wonder off. She really likes her toothbrush, probably because it’s very chewable and she is also teething now so… yeah. It’s one of those toothbrushes that are really gummy like with soft bristles (more like small bumps) on both sides and the toothpaste is a non-fluoride one that tastes like something sweet that I can’t remember. Anyway, the first time we brushed our teeth and I was repeating in a sing-song voice “brush brush brush brush brush brush our teeth” but with more pauses between the brush part. It doesn’t sound as tiring as it looks, I think. She was enjoying it. She tried to make the same motions as me and would occasionally just suck and chew on it. Hey, she was trying. But, when it came to put the toothbrush away you could say she was… more than reluctant to do so, so to get her distracted from losing the toothbrush, I held her up and looked at the mirror and pointed to my teeth and said “clean teeth, you have clean teeth”. She smiled, pointed to her teeth. Ever since, that’s how the teeth brushing goes. It still works to distract her from wanting the toothbrush back, thankfully.

Putting her to bed, though, that’s a different story. I say it’s night-night time and turn off the light (sometimes turning on her butterfly that is a night light basically [that her aunt Hannah, my dad’s kid who is now 4 years old, got for her her first christmas]) and turn on her pink dog. So, all the grandparents know the pink dog is nice to have when trying to put her to sleep. She’s had it since her first Christmas. Her uncle Matthew (my dad’s kid, about 8 years old now I think) got it for her. We actually got her the blue dog version for her on her first Christmas too but since the dog was pink and she was a girl…. Yeah, I know. That’s stereotyping genders, but that has been her dog that helps her go to sleep. I’m sure if we used the blue dog (which is now in my mom’s possession because she wanted the dog at her house so she didn’t have to ask for the pink dog) she would go to sleep with it. There’s not much difference between the two besides the different colors and the slight difference in the voice when it talks (but not when it sings). Back to the bedtime routine…

I put her in her bed (which is a pack-n-play) and sit on this orange tiger stool (it has the colors, a tail and the feet are, well, feet of a tiger) next to her and stay there till she falls asleep. Sometimes I’ll pat her butt (like I use to do to her when she was a baby baby) and others I just sit there and watch her. This can take up to an hour. It can be tiring, especially if I am really tired myself. I would like to break her of the habit of having me there until she falls asleep but I’m not sure how. I could just say my good nights and put her in bed, stay a little, then walk out but then she’ll cry and I’ll feel really bad. I have a feeling my boyfriend would be OK with that, because in the end she’ll get use to it but I don’t want to hear her cry for long periods of time because she’s use to me being there. So, yeah, thats the routine of the night. Although sometimes she does fall asleep in the living room with me. I usually just have to gently put her in her bed, make sure she doesn’t wake up, and walk out.

When she gets older, I’m sure the routine will change a bit. Maybe there’ll be story time before then or maybe her dad will want to start praying… I’m not sure, but we’ll see when we get there. I just know I’m doing something partly right for having some kind of routine, even if it isn’t followed a 100% or there isn’t a set time for it. Routines are good, even if it’s not a perfect set one.

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